FEBRUARY 27, 2008
One of the first times (possibly THE first; my memory is for shit) I went to the New Beverly was for a screening of Cannibal Holocaust, which if memory serves screened with a Fulci film. This was in like March of 2006, a few months after I moved to LA (and right around the time I finally had some sort of income that would allow me to go to the movies at all). The next month they showed Cannibal Ferox, another one I had never seen. So now, with like 600 movies seen since then, I had a lot of trouble remembering which was which. This is the one that DOESN’T have Giovanni Lombardo Radice, so therefore it’s not as good.
Sadly the crowd was pretty thin (and abnormally quiet – other than mimicking the legendary “Bwyoooooooo!” sound effect from the soundtrack, there was hardly a peep from anyone). And that's a real bummer for this movie in particular, because it’s so goddamn reprehensible, you need a big crowd (preferably a bit drunk) laughing at certain parts in order to enjoy it. Otherwise it’s just sort of an endurance test: can you watch the poor turtle get hacked up without looking away? Or any of the 2 or 3 rapes in the film? How bout the “pregnancy” scene? Etc. In short, it’s far from an enjoyable viewing experience for the most part.
Not that the film is entirely without levity. “He’s just switching reels” is an odd gutbuster, and the little kid running around in the park while our leads discuss the footage is also hilarious. The hauntingly beautiful “love theme” from the film also elicits a few chuckles, but you’re never more than 5 minutes away from another scene that’s just sort of awful.
Granted, the film is loaded with social commentary and the like, so we are supposed to be outraged or repulsed by certain parts of the film (mainly in the final half hour), but there’s little to enjoy alongside of it. Dawn of the Dead (or for a closer example – Diary) certainly have their share of commentary, but the films are still quite fun to watch at the same time. Not the case here – the characters are mostly despicable, the violence is too believable to be “fun”, and the nonstop animal killing is hardly entertainment.
This isn’t to say I dislike the film, in fact I think it’s quite good. But the New Bev is all about having a good time, so having this particular film play to an unusually subdued crowd (which wasn’t the case when I first saw it) had the opposite effect. Bummer.
What say you?