Friday, August 1, 2014

Mangiati Vivi! (A.K.A. Eaten Alive!) (1980)

Mangiati Vivi! is Umberto Lenzi's second cannibal movie after making Man from Deep River in 1972. He gathered a cast of people experienced in Italian (horror) films. Robert Kerman had experience with Ruggero Deodato's shocker Cannibal Holocaust. Janet Agren had been playing in Italian movies for years and later went on to star in Italian B-movies like City of the Living Dead and The Rat Man. Don't forget about Ivan Rassimov who had a lifetime of experience in Italian movies like Jungle Holocaust, Shock and multiple Emanuelle films. Supporting these stars were for example Me Me Lai and Paola Senatore, names that should ring a bell for veteran Italian movie geeks.

A woman goes deep into the jungle of New Guinea to find her sister who moved there to join a religious cult. The cult is evil but it's not the only thing that's dangerous. The jungle happens to be filled with cannibals looking for a nice lunch. Together with a hired help named Mark they must try to fight their way to safety.

Mangiati Vivi might be less known than Lenzi's Cannibal Ferox (1981), it certainly DOES reach its level of entertainment. Of course writer and director Umberto Lenzi had to come up with an idea again to get some western people deep into the jungle. This time a woman is looking for her sister who joined a cult, think of Jim Jones' Jonestown, who are based deep in the jungle of New Guinea.

Like in so many Italian cannibal movies animal cruelty is featured in the film. This time it's about five scenes of cruelty towards animals. This time most of it (I even believe all of it) is stock-footage from other cannibal movies like Lenzi's Man from Deep River and Mountain of the Cannibal God. Like in all the other movies the violence towards animals is nauseating and completely unnecessary as it adds absolutely NOTHING to the story. My advice, hit the fast-forward button when you see a small alligator being dragged by it's tail by a native and do the same when you see a huge snake and a small squirrell monkey. Those are definitely the sickest ones in this movie. The alligator death even comes close to the turtle's death in Cannibal Holocaust.

The reason this movie still manages to be so entertaining is mainly due to Robert Kerman. Kerman has the perfect appearence for a worn-out Vietnam veteran and does really well in his bad-ass role, it has to be said. The rest of the, interesting, cast consists of female beauties like Janet Agren, Paola Senatore and Me Me Lai. Their acting surprisingly enough is actually reasonably decent. More important though, all three of 'em lose their clothes multiple times!

The movie manages to be quite exciting and the tempo, when in the jungle, is quite good. Every time the movie starts to get a little boring Lenzi throws in a nude or gore-scene and he has our attention again. The gorescenes, that are less brutal than Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox' gore, are mostly 'borrowed from other cannibal movies. Luckily I had not seen any of the cannibal movies that Lenzi borrowed from yet so it all was very new for me. And although the gore never gets really shocking there are still some very entertaining scenes. Think for example about the scene where Senatore and Me Me Lai are literally being cut into pieces and eaten while they're still alive.

Not a bad movie at all from Umberto Lenzi. It's trashy, sure, but it's the good kind of trash. We got cannibals, hot naked women, gore, a great performance by Robert Kerman and Ivan Rassimov in a dress pretending to be Jim Jones. Fuck yeah!

For an interesting Robert Kerman interview by the way, hit the this link.
He talks about his time in adult films, the making of Cannibal Holocaust and his depression that got him into using drugs after he was screwed over by his agent. Very intersting stuff so check it out if you're a Kerman fan like me.

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