“I love you, I need you, I’ll get you,
I’ll eat you, Hungry like a wolf,
excited as you hit the floor… Antropophagus.”
-Anna & The Psychomen
Antropophagus: The Beast (aka The Grim Reaper) is an 80s Italian horror film by the infamous Joe D’Amato. D’Amato, whose directorial credits include other cult horror films like Beyond the Darkness and Absurd, is often referred to as the “Ed Wood” of Italian cinema due to extremely low budget quality of his work and this was before he churned out films like Erotic Nights of the Living Dead or Porno Holocaust. All all these titles, however, Antropophagus is perhaps the best known for its inclusion on the Video Nasties banned list.
I first heard about Antropophagus, as many new horror fans do, because of its “extreme” depiction of *SPOLIER WARNING* the titular beast extracting a fetus from a woman’s womb and munching down on it towards the end of the film. Sounds pretty intense, right? Apparently the scene was so convincingly “real” that the censors classified it as snuff. The real truth is that a skinned rabbit was used for the effect, which is only a slightly less disturbing thought.
Being the unhibited gorehound that I am, tracking down a copy was (of course) a no-brainer. The story is your typical group of lost misanthropes who find themselves on an island inhabited by [insert monster here]. In this case, “The Beast” is a rather Ringo Starr-esque looking cannibal who’s none to shy about taking a tasty nibble on the unsuspecting tourists… or himself. In a scene that could have been lifted from Francisco Goya himself, The Beast begins to scarf down his own innards (apparently this didn’t bother the censors quite as much).
Aside from a few other scenes of shocking violence the film itself is a wrist-cutting drag. The story unfolds itself at the pace of a slug walking over salt. It’s worth watching once with a friend, if you can find an uncut version, but the thrill of seeing the taboo will quickly give way to games of “bloody beer pong.”