|Reviews & Columns|
TV on DVD
Reviews by Studio
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
The M.O.D. Squad
DVD Talk Forum
DVD Price Search|
Customer Service #'s
Slave of the Cannibal God (Special Edition) AKA Mountain of the Cannibal God / La montagna del dio cannibale
Sergio Martino's 1978 film Slave Of The Cannibal God (also known as Mountain Of The Cannibal God) introduces us to Susan Stevenson (Ursula Andress), a woman whose husband has gone missing during an expedition that he lead into the jungles of New Guinea. She's gone to the police for help, but they've been no use so she visits the British Embassy and asks for their help in finding out what happened to him. The advice she's given is to collaborate with her brother, Arthur Weisser (Antonio Marsina), and get in touch with an ethnologist named Edward Foster (Stacey Keach). She does exactly this, and soon enough the three of them have arrived on the outskirts of the jungle where Foster connects with a team of natives to help them make their way through the thick of it.
Trouble finds them quickly when Susan is threatened by a large poisonous spider which is promptly stabbed with a machete. The natives take this as a bad omen and sacrifice a lizard to make amends, which upsets Arthur who attacks them. A few of the natives leave after this occurs, and with their team now much smaller than it was, Foster continues to lead them deeper into the jungle, suspicious that Susan's husband was actually searching for the fabled mountain of Ra-Ra-Min, which is the home to a tribe of cannibals known as the Puka. When Susan is attacked by natives in the jungle, she's saved by Manolo (Claudio Cassinelli), who joins their team, but things get worse before they get better. When Arthur sleeps with a native girl at the village where they take solace one night, it opens up a big can of worms not just with the locals, but with the strange, masked natives who have been skulking about nearby…
Not quite the gut-muncher that more notorious Italian cannibal films like Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox are, this one nevertheless still packs a bit of a punch. There's quite a bit of very real animal violence on display here, most of it animals eating one another rather than humans slaughtering them, but we get a bit of that too. Sensitive viewers could certainly be put off by this footage, and for good reason, as it is quite graphic and unsettling. In addition to that, there's also some moderate to strong gore set pieces here involving the human characters, and then the not insignificant matter of a graphic masturbation scene and the now infamous scene of a man romantically entwined with a rather large hog.
However, when you take those more sensational elements out of the film, this picture plays more like a jungle adventure than a horror film. This one doesn't contain long, lingering scenes of natives chowing down on their Caucasian visitors like the Lenzi and Deodato entries noted above do, and it spends a lot more time on the voyage to find the cannibals (and in turn, Susan's husband) than it does with the cannibals themselves. The cinematography does a pretty good job of adding to all of this, as Martino employs plenty of long shots that show off the absolutely massive size and scope of the very real jungle where all of this is taking place. This is quite a good looking movie in that regard, and the excellent score from Guido and Maurizio De Angelis helps add tension and drama to the storyline and adds to the feel of adventure that permeates much of the movie in the first half.
As to the cast, Andress is lovely here, delivering a decent enough performance as the female lead and seemingly quite comfortable with the film's finale that we won't spoil here. Keach does a good job as the surly leader of the expedition and the lone American in the group. He's rough and tough but likeable and charismatic. Antonio Marsina is fine as Susan's brother, we know early on not to trust him and that he's up to something and Marsina does a good job of communicating his characters real motivations with some interesting facial movements. Claudio Cassinelli rounds out the main cast nicely. He too is likeable, seemingly quite noble, and he handles himself well in the action scenes as well as the few quieter moments he gets to enjoy in the picture.
Slave Of The Cannibal God comes to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen, taking up just under 24GBS of space on a 50GB disc and taken from a "2018 scan with hours of restoration done in the US." There's a bit of frame specific damage here and there but otherwise the picture is pretty clean in that regard. Detail generally looks quite good, particularly in close up shots, and the lush colors of the jungle are reproduced rather well on this transfer. Compression artifacts are never a problem and there are no noticeable issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement.
The only audio option on the disc is a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in the film's native English language. There are no alternate language options or subtitles of any kind provided on this release. The audio here is pretty solid, particularly when it comes to the score, which has nice depth and clarity to it. The dialogue is generally quite clean and the track is balanced and free of any defects. Range is a bit limited by the original elements, but that's completely understandable, the movie sounds pretty nice overall.
There are two primary extras on this disc, the first of which is the inclusion of the shorter alternate U.S. cut of the film, transferred in high definition ‘from the original CRI.' This version, which runs 84:36 in length as opposed to the uncut version at 102:31, is also presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, taking up just under 12GBs of space on the disc with English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio and, again, without any subtitles offered. Compression, not surprisingly, doesn't look quite as nice here as it does on the uncut presentation and the colors don't look nearly as good either. It not only omits the bit with the man and the pig but also the scene at the British embassy in addition to a few other minor trims. It isn't the better version of the movie but it's cool to see it included here for posterity's sake.
The other main extra is a fifteen-minute interview with Stacy Keach who talks quite candidly about how much he enjoyed making this movie. He talks about getting along with co-stars Andress and Cassinelli and how Cassinelli actually saved Andress from a ‘white water cobra' using the same technique he'd been taught to utilize in the movie. He talks about how interesting it was to him to shoot a film outside of the United States, how he thought that Martino was a great director and how, yes, this movie is quite a bit more outrageous than most of the other films that he's starred in over the years.
Aside from that, we get a quick intro featuring Keach and ‘Bananaman,' trailers for a few other Code Red releases, menus and chapter selection options. The two Martino interviews that were included on Code Red's Blu-ray release from 2018 have not been carried over to this release, nor has the slipcover that it was packaged with.
Slave Of The Cannibal God doesn't have quite the same ‘impact' as some of the more notorious entries in the Italian cannibal movie cycle, at times feeling more like a jungle adventure film than a cannibal film, but it's pretty entertaining stuff even if the animal violence will, completely understandably, put some viewers off. Code Red has done a nice job bringing this to Blu-ray in both its uncut and trimmed U.S. versions, and the interview with Keach is a nice bonus as well. The presentation is quite good, and this one comes recommended to fans of Italian cult/horror cinema.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.