5 Stars, But With Mixed Feelings
Jonathan Schaper | London, Ontario Canada | 05/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was tempted to give this collection 1 star for its inclusion of one truly offensive film with no redeeming qualities, but it is still an extremely worthwhile collection for those on a budget for other reasons.The two films which make this collection worthwhile for people on a budget are "I Eat Your Skin" and "The Undertaker and His Pals". Both are fun films, and the picture quality for both films as found in this collection are about as good as they'll ever get.THE UNDERTAKER... is a fun black comedy about two j.d.'s who run a diner who team up with a crooked undertaker in a scheme to cook up business. They murder people, the diner gets some free meat, and the undertaker gets bodies he can bury while charging large reconstructive cosmetics fees to the deceaseds' relatives. Extremely low brow satire, but better than any of the Evil Dead films. H. Gordon Lewis style gore with laughs.I EAT YOUR SKIN is for fans of bad but fun old movies. A scientist is forced to create zombies for a power hungry island landowner. Lots of bad makeup and PRC/Monogram style low-budget horror. No gore in this one despite the title (which was slapped onto the film in the 1970s when it became part of a double bill with I Drink Your Blood), but who needs that for a good time?THE SEVERED ARM (described in detail in another review) was too long for my taste. It has a great set up and ending, but the middle drags. This is quite unfortunate given the film's great potential. I'd love to see The Severed Arm released with some excess fat removed and cleaned up for easier digestion (Sorry. I couldn't avoid the temptation).SLAVE OF THE CANNIBAL GOD has all the elements of your typical 1970s/early 1980s Italian cannibal film: 1) stupid people wander off into the jungle; 2) argue with each other for a boring hour and a half while various animals get killed for real; until 3) they run into a bunch of cannibals who kill most of them off while the audience cheers. Unlike some people, I don't think nature is a happy fun land where animals live together in peace and eat nothing but marshmallows and ice cream, nor do I have any illusions over where the meat on my plate comes from, but neither do I find it necessary for a film which is supposed to be entertaining to dwell at such great length on scenes of animals killing each other. Sure, when you are filming in the jungle you are presented with opportunities to capture such things on camera and use it to help establish the setting of the film. This has not coloured my opinion of other similar films. But here, e.g., you have one scene of a monkey being killed very slowly by a snake which goes on forever and in graphic detail to the point of complete tastelessness, and in one truly offensive scene natives cut apart an iguana while keeping it alive as long as possible. This is just plain unnecessary cruelty. Resorting to such immature shock tactics does not serve to salvage this film's poor attempt at a story. This is not daring art making some grand statement; it is just people unable to elicit any reaction but boredom without stooping to the lowest depths.For those who, like me, don't want to own a DVD with scenes of deliberately staged animal cruelty (as distinguished from acts of nature) "The Undertaker and His Pals" is also available solo in a great copy from VCI, and "I Eat Your Skin" is available from Something Weird as a second feature to "The Child" along with some great shorts. The tradeoff is that you'll be paying more and will miss out on "The Severed Arm"."