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Eaten Alive! The Rise and Fall of the Italian Cannibal Film (2015)

A documentary on the short-lived craze of Italian cannibal films in the '70s and '80s,


Calum Waddell


Calum Waddell


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Credited cast:
Antonio Climati Antonio Climati
Luigi Cozzi
Joe Dante
Ruggero Deodato
Frank Henenlotter
Robert Kerman
Mikel Koven Mikel Koven
Me Me Lai
Umberto Lenzi
Terry Levene Terry Levene
Jeff Lieberman
Giovanni Lombardo Radice
John Martin Jr.
Sergio Martino
Kim Newman


A documentary on the short-lived craze of Italian cannibal films in the '70s and '80s,

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Release Date:

12 May 2015 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


This documentary can be found on the Grindhouse Releasing of the 3-disc edition blu-ray of Cannibal Ferox as well as in the UK from 88 Films on the blu-ray for Zombie Holocaust. See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining and informative documentary on a much maligned sub genre of horror
24 November 2015 | by Corpus_VileSee all my reviews

Ah, those crazy Italian Cannibal films.

Where men were men, women were mistreated, natives were racially stereotyped and animals were terrified and quite frankly doomed. Throw in some fun times dubbing and plenty of gratuitous nudity, grue and sleaze and you have yourself a fun night. Unless you don't like Cannibal films and rather than... erm, not watch them, what better way to highlight your dislike of a sub genre, by making a documentary about it focusing on (and taking at face value) all the politically incorrect aspects of it, by getting some talking head critics to read to much into things and highlight how for all of their knowledge and wisdom, they just plain don't get Italian exploitation or indeed any exploitation? Or at least that's the impression I got from this nonetheless quite entertaining and informative documentary. One critic opines that violence against women' and misogyny is "par for the course" in horror films (such as The Innkeepers and The Thing) and of course the animal cruelty aspect is visited yet again, although one can understand this at least and the exploitation of natives are also finger wagged at. Thing is, we're all aware of this and recognise that exploitation cinema can be at times genuinely exploitative and not in a good way at all, yet we still watch such films, meaning we've made peace with it to a degree and recognise that these films were films of their time so to hear somebody yet again pontificating about how horribly politically incorrect those rotten Italians could be 40 years ago is a tad grating at this stage.

Yet... it's still a freaking documentary about Cannibal flicks and when it comes to delivering the goods interview wise, it totally delivers, with amusing interviews with both Ruggero Deodato and the apparently notoriously difficult to secure an interview with Umberto Lenzi having them both strongly claiming it was one and not the other who pioneered the sub genre, with Deodato suggesting that Lenzi simply ripped off a Man Called Horse. We also have contributions from Luigi Cozzi, Sergio Martino, (who still insists the snake accidentally ate the monkey when filming Mountain of the Cannibal God), Roger Kermann (who REALLY dislikes Cannibal Holocaust) and Giovanni Lombardo Radice, who's remarkably restrained when it comes to sticking the boot into Lenzi, considering their dislike of each other, as well as a charming Me Me Lai, who gives some very amusing anecdotes and comes across as a lovely person.

So, as Cannibal gut crunching documentaries go, (and it's not like we're spoiled for choice here either) it's overall a way entertaining offering from director Calum Waddel, even if the hand wringing condemnation kinda annoyed me.

But overall I quite liked it and give it a 7.5/10 and it's recommended viewing for any horror or exploitation fan.

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