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directed by Ivan Reitman
Canada 1973

 

Newlyweds Clifford (Eugene Levy, AMERICAN PIE) and Gloria (Andrea Martin, BLACK CHRISTMAS and its remake) go way off the beaten path for a honeymoon in the snowy Canadian town of Farmhaven. The innkeeper Mrs. Wainwright (May Jarvis) tells them of the legend of the Cannibal Girls who lured men to their isolated farmhouse to kill and eat; then, of course, she recommends that they sample the local cuisine at a gourmet restaurant now residing in the same old farmhouse. The restaurant is run by the top-hatted and cloaked Reverend Alex St. John (Ronald Ulrich) and is staffed by three beautiful women (Randall Carpenter, Bonnie Neilson, and Mira Pawluk) and a hunchbacked henchman (Bunker). Although suitably spooked, the couple are persuaded to stay the night rather than walk home in the dark. After settling in and falling asleep, the couple are startled as the Reverend and the women enter their room and try to hypnotically compel Gloria to kill her husband. Gloria runs screaming into the night only to wake up back in her motel room bed with Clifford. He convinces Gloria that it was all a dream, but Gloria soon finds all of her attempts to leave town blocked. It it all in her head or is the story of the Cannibal Girls all too true? The above scenario would be enough for a slow-paced, effective low budget horror movie but director Ivan Reitman (GHOSTBUSTERS) made the commercial friendly decision during the initial planning (the scripting was quite loose) and then again afterward to "open up" the still quite short 83 minute film to encompass some additional characters for padding and for additional gore. The vignette involving the three cannibal girls luring three men to their home in various ways and then consuming them goes on long enough for the audience to assume it is happening concurrently with the Gloria/Clifford story only for it to be revealed as an extended flashback rendering of the legend told by Mrs. Wainwright (although the fashions in the flashback scene look no different from the rest of the film). Levy and Martin improvise their way comically through the film but Ulrich seems to be playing it straight - if a little theatrical - and other scenes seem to be randomly straight and others blackly comic. The effect is uneven but it still plays like a cool drive-in chiller with an ending that suggests it might be ideally paired with Michael Findlay's SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED (or possibly the uncut version of TERROR AT RED WOLF INN, which seem to be most accessible in its cut version[s]). Had CANNIBAL GIRLS not disappeared from AIP's circulation (other than a rare Canadian VHS which did not include AIP's "warning bell" gimmick), this film, its trailers, and advertising might have been gotten more notice during the recent resurgent interest in the "Grindhouse" phenomenon.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 1973 (USA)

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DVD Review: Nucleus Films - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Nucleus Films

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:19:21 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.39 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (warning bell track)
Subtitles English, English (warning bell track), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Nucleus Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• CANNIBAL GUYS - interview with Ivan Reitman and Daniel Goldberg (16:9; 26:47)
• MEAT EUGENE - interview with Eugene Levy (16:9; 19:40)
• French Credits (4:3; 3:22)
• Still Gallery
• U.S. Trailer (16:9; 2:05)
• U.S. Trailer 2 (16:9; 0:59)
• U.S. TV Spot (16:9; 0:29)
• Radio Spot (0:30)
• Radio Spot (1:00)
• PDF 1: Making of CANNIBAL GIRLS (from Take One magazine)
• PDF 2: AIP Pressbook
• Trailers for VIDEO NASTIES: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE, GHOST STORY, VARIETEASE, TEASERAMA, BLOODBATH AT
• THE HOUSE OF DEATH, and DEATH SHIP

DVD Release Date: 14 February 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Nucleus Films' progressive, anamorphic, dual-layer DVD is sourced from the same HD master as the US release (which I have not seen). This extremely low-budget film is incredibly grainy and has some damage (Nucleus did some digital repair to a frame tear during the first murder) but the colors are bold, as are both English audio tracks (the English subtitles for the "warning bell" track make note of its occurrences).

Ivan Reitman and producer Daniel Goldberg appear in an occasionally sluggish 26 minute documentary (the story of Reitman going to Cannes and trying to seel the film while wating for a print to be sent from Canada and his meeting with the AIP rep are the highlights). The Eugene Levy interview also feels a little longer than needed, but he has a good recall of the making of the movie. The film's French DES FILLES CANNIBALES opening credits sequence is also included as are three US trailers (the shortest might be a TV spot) and two radio spots. Besides a still gallery and trailers for other Nucleus releases, the disc also includes two PDF supplemenents: the AIP pressbook and "Take One" magazine's 6 page article on the making of CANNIBAL GIRLS.

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Nucleus Films

Region 2 - PAL

 

 




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