Thursday, May 10, 2012
The Man from the Deep River (1972)
I'm not an expert (or a fan) on cannibal films but everyone says that The Man from
Deep River was the start of the Italian cannibal trend,
and it could be true. Made during the early seventies and setting the
standards, stereotypes and scenes for more or less every cannibal flick made
until the eighties. Shot in Thailand by director Umberto Lenzi and starring a
very blonde and hunky Ivan Rassimov plus a smaller army of Thai actors, among
them Pipop Pupinyo - who always played brutal henchmen in most Thai movies from
the seventies I've seen.
John Bradley (Ivan Rassimov) plays a photographer who goes to
SAS plane Frode Viking, just a detail). He lands in Thailand , checks around town, watches some
thaiboxing and gets himself into a fight in a bar - kills a man (played by an
actor I recognize so well!) and escapes to the countryside. After his guide is
killed he's taken prisoner by a tribe and after some gruesome tests he's take
in as a true member. Of course the beautiful and very nude Me Me Lai falls for
him and he for her and the only thing who can destroy their life now is a
village of angry cannibals nearby! Bangkok
Yeah, its a lot in this movie we all seen and heard in later movies. From the stunningly beautiful soundtrack to torture and animal cruelty. Except that always unnecessary inclusion of killing real animals The Man from Deep River is a surprisingly serious movie, taking most of it's inspiration from A Man Called Horse. Rassimov is a good and complex hero, making better use of the script than a lesser actor would do. Or maybe I just should see his motivations through his eyes: Me Me Lai is naked all the time wants him, so it's a nice place to stay. But I prefer to read him more like a man who takes the chance to change his life to something more free and natural.
This is easily Lenzi's best foray into the nasty business of cannibal movies. It's less exploitative and more focused on a classic adventure tale than on a gore-soaked horror movie - and that's fine with me because the cannibal genre always needed a bit of seriousness to be able to entertain me. It's not without gore and blood, a chopped of hand - some nibbling on human flesh, a stab or two - but unfortunately most of the gruesome stuff is spent on killing animals.
means a lot of Thai actors in supporting parts. The only one I recognize is the
man that's killed in the beginning - I'm sure I've seen him in some of Kom
Akadej's movies or bad guys opposite Sombat Metanee - and the second one is of
course the above mentioned Pipop Pupinyo. I've taken some screenshot and posted them on my other blog, The Mee Noi Thai Movie Review, to try to identify the other
cast. The credits seem to use their real names: Prasitsak Singhara, Sulallewan
Suxantat, Ong Ard, Prapas Chindang, Tuan Tevan, Song Suanhud and Pairach
The Swedish cannibal box including this, Jungle Holocaust and
looks very good and recommended for European fans.