For most film­mak­ers, mak­ing one ripoff of Cannibal Holocaust would be enough to sat­is­fy their crav­ing for cin­e­mat­ic noto­ri­ety. However, Italian trash king­pin Bruno Mattei was not most film­mak­ers. He man­aged to plun­der Cannibal Holocaust twice: the first time with straight­for­ward ripoff-remake Mondo Cannibal, the sec­ond time with In The Land Of The Cannibals, which mix­es and match­es parts of Deodato’s infa­mous clas­sic with oth­er can­ni­bal sources and even bits filched from Hollywood fare like Aliens and Predator!

In The Land Of The Cannibals starts with a guys-on-a-mis­sion plot: Lt. Wilson (Lou Randall) is ordered by the mil­i­tary brass to find out what hap­pened to a jun­gle expe­di­tion that has dis­ap­peared. He heads into the jun­gle with a small group of sol­diers and a knowl­edge­able but very cyn­i­cal guide, Romero (Claudio Morales). They quick­ly dis­cov­er can­ni­bals a-plen­ty and the picked-over remains of the ear­lier expe­di­tion. However, there is one sur­vivor in Sara (Cindy Matic) — and she’s been brain­washed by the can­ni­bals, who now wor­ship ITLOTC-dvdher as a liv­ing fer­til­i­ty totem. Wilson decides to make a res­cue attempt, spark­ing a strange, dime-store mix of shocks and action.

The result­ing film is every bit as daft you’d expect a late-peri­od Mattei opus to be: there’s chintzy video cin­e­matog­ra­phy and edit­ing, canned music, wild­ly mug­ging Filipino extras stand­ing in for sav­ages, cheap action and cheap­er gore. The daft plot spends its first half rip­ping off vir­tu­al­ly every high­light from the first jun­gle expe­di­tion in Cannibal Holocaust and the sec­ond half becomes the can­ni­bal movie equiv­a­lent of all the cheap-o, Rambo-inspired war/action flicks that Italian film­mak­ers made in the sec­ond half of the ‘80s. Predator fans will be amused by a bun­gled attempt at steal­ing that film’s “Ain’t got time to bleed” line.

As with Mondo Cannibale, In The Land Of The Cannibals bypass­es any kind of seri­ous crit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion and goes straight to bad-movie appre­ci­a­tion. It fits into the more watch­able side of the bad movie spec­trum. It’s not as loopy as Mondo Cannibale, trad­ing that film’s unpre­dictable weird­ness for a more straight­for­ward plot (look out for that weird non-end­ing, though). It’s also got a sur­pris­ing­ly decent per­for­mance from Morales, whose com­pe­tent han­dling of a gener­ic char­ac­ter­i­za­tion stands out like gold amid­st the usu­al mix­ture of mug­ging and non-per­for­mances you expect to see in a Mattei flick.

All in all, In The Land Of The Cannibals is only for spe­cial­ized bad-movie tastes but the plot’s odd horror/action approach makes it a unique curios­i­ty for such view­ers. As for the rest of you… you’ve been warned.

DVD Notes: This title was recent­ly released on DVD in the U.S. by the InterVision Picture Corp sub­la­bel of Severin Films. The full-frame trans­fer offers a faith­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the film’s video cin­e­matog­ra­phy and cheap dub­bing in its orig­i­nal ratio. The one extra is a trail­er for the film that is as goofi­ly bizarre as the full-length ver­sion.