Saturday, July 5, 2014

Apocalypse Domani (A.K.A. Cannibal Apocalypse) (1980)

Apocalypse Domani is a film made by Antonio Margheriti, who is a pretty big name when it comes to 70's/80's Italian horror flicks. In 1980 he decided to make a cannibal movie. But unlike guys like Ruggero Deodato or Umberto Lenzi, Margheriti decided to make his cannibal film in a large city instead of the jungle. 

Two Vietnam veterans are freed out of the hands of the Vietcong. When they return to civilization they discover that their experiences as prisoners of war have led to a insatiable urge for human flesh.

So instead of the jungle we get the city. Sure it's original but that doesn't necessarily make it a good move. I always liked the jungle vibe in a cannibal movie and sadly there is none in Cannibal Apocalypse. The first part of the movie is actually pretty boring. Uninteresting dialogue and unimposing shoot-outs is pretty much what we get. Luckily John Saxon and Giovanni Lombardo Radice (why choose a alias like John Morghen when your real name is Giovanni Lombardo Radice!?) are two very entertaining actors who know what it takes to rightly fill in a character in a b-movie. Especially Lombardo Radice is in form as a mad, flesh eating, Vietnam vet.

Cannibal Apocalypse finally gets more fun when Saxon joins the club of cannibals, which is after about 50 minutes. From that moment on the action starts getting more entertaining, although it still isn't great. Another thing is that Tony King starts getting more screentime and does very well. He's really great to watch as another completely lunatic, cannibalistic vietnam veteran, who also seems to have the tourette syndrome. 

Even though we're not in the jungle the animal cruelty hasn't completely disappeared. It IS minimalized but it's still there. This time it comes in the form of a two second shot of two rats who are set on fire by a flamethrower while still alive. The shot is about as useless as it sounds and adds absolutely nothing to the film.

Overall Cannibal Apocalypse certainly did not turn out to be what I hoped it would be. It has nice acting from b-movie heroes like John Saxon and Giovanni Lombardo Radice and some decent gore effects but that's about it. An opportunity missed in my opinion.

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