Watching THE GREEN INFERNO trailer the other day reminded me. I need to write up THE GREEN INFERNO, because I totally saw that back at FANTASTIC FEST 2013. When the film premiered at Toronto, I reached out to Eli Roth to get it to play at FANTASTIC FEST, but it had become complicated. Open Road had just acquired it and there could be a chance that they’d want to keep it under the radar until it was ready to release the film. Luckily, Open Road loves FANTASTIC FEST and this particular film, so we got to screen it!
I’m friends with Eli Roth. So you may feel like using that ammunition to completely dismiss my opinion. Fine. But I’m also the kind of friend that if I thought that Eli delivered even a hair below his promise on this particular genre, I’d totally punch him in the nuts and bitch him out for letting the Cannibal Genre down. Because, while I am friends with Eli, I have a friend by the name of Jed Strahm (director of KNIFEHUNT & AICN’s Tom Joad) who made sure that not only did I see every Cannibal Film Ever Made… but he also supplied Eli with quite a few hard to finds. And when Jed had called me to say he’d be coming in for a few days of FANTASTIC FEST, I knew I had to get Eli’s Cannibal flick.
Now – I love THE GREEN INFERNO. I love it, because “movies do not get made like this anymore!” Eli and cast and crew went out into the Amazon. Got a tribe that had never been filmed… deep up the Amazon River – and he fucking made a CANNIBAL MOVIE with a tribe that didn’t even have the concept of a fucking ice cube. LOVE IT!
As a result, you get faces not out of Central Casting… but Jungle People!!! And then there’s THE AMAZON… I love this place. I’d kill for Universal to give John Carpenter $135 million to go shoot a CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON movie there. Seriously. Ugh…. Anyway – the film feels like an adventure because it was an adventure.
Now – Like a good Cannibal Movie, this starts in New York. Every character that we meet, I consider to be potential red meat. As a fan of the CANNIBAL GENRE – you need to not become too attached to the characters. It is important, because the more you dislike the character, the louder you cheer when they get eaten. Well, like most of Eli’s movies – we have a young cast trying to get away from it all. All his movies could show on THE TRAVEL CHANNEL that way.
Youthful Vacation stories. Here, the young fools are Environmentally Impaired. You see, if they didn’t care. If they didn’t follow their moral superiority. They’d be like us. Sitting at home, surfing the net… watching some cool flicks… but no. They give a shit. They’re gonna go change things! They’re empowered youth. This isn’t about going to the Amazon to get laid. It’s about stopping the industries from clear-cutting this virgin area of the Peruvian Jungle. Oh to have the spare cash to just pick up and chain oneself to a tree along the Amazon River.
There’s all kinds of “drama” amongst the young adventurous hot menu of characters… The lead actress is Lorenza Izzo… and she is so wonderful on the eyes… she’s also quite good in the film. Her Dad works in the United Nations… and she has an International Phone to call Daddy help if need be. But really – honestly… seriously… I don’t really care about any of that stuff. For me… after a really unfortunate and brutal transportation problem… that’s where the movie becomes exactly the movie I was waiting on. And brother… sister… let me tell ya…
You see, the shit hits the fan. It is bad. Essentially they are in parts unknown. They are no longer doing their good deeds. They have wound up in the worst possible place in the jungle… They’ve arrived at the one tribe along the Amazon DIRECTED BY ELI ROTH. So… they’re fucked. Seriously. It’s going to get real real real real messy.
The audience you will be with will make absolutely fabulous noises during these scenes. Because, these scenes are what you have paid to see – and it is seriously a joy for a fan of Cinematic Cannibalism. It is essentially the same joy you get when a Zombie starts chowing down on WALKING DEAD... the EWWWWWW... "Oh maaaan!" or... you know that "OH SHIT" guy, he'll totally chant that in this film. The film is very saturated and beautiful – in that special kind of way. When the movie is released, there will inevitably be a chunk of critics that just won’t have the stomach for an old fashioned flesh feast of a flick, but these really are sad people. Eli shot this, the way Carl Denham wanted to shoot that movie on Skull Island. He gathered up a sweet innocent cast, took them up the Amazon... then fed them to the indiginous peoples that were looking for some well fed advocates. I mean, they had to eat. They were trespassing. I'm sorry, I root for the cannibals. I think that's the right thing to do. I mean, that's why we watch HANNIBAL right?
I think growing up in the town that created THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE… for that film’s wrap party to crash my Birthday party… I am – incredibly fond of this sub-genre in particular. Something about Cannibal cinema does it for me. I like it, because ZOMBIES are probably never going to happen… But Cannibalism… that shit happens. It’s like Slashers… Slashers happen. Now, Jungle Cannibalism… not so much… But Dahmer… Albert Fish… that Rugby Team in them Andes Mountains… And ya know… there’s a whole helluvalot of missing people… and they never find those bodies… SO – I kind of presume that the missing wind up in Fast Food as “meat”. It’s why fast food meat is so sweet.
OK – so, you may need more of a movie than something so purely culinary. Well, the story is the part of the film you get to discover. Everyone here is doing a fine job. In particular, I just love Daryl Sabara… you know, the SPY KIDS kid… Edgar Rice Burroughs in JOHN CARTER? He’s the sacrificial puppy of a human being. His eyes are drunk with desire for Lorenza Izzo’s Justine, but his lack of confidence dooms him. It is one of those never voiced loves… that as a guy, we know. There’s also some bastards that get it. Some beauties that get it. And as for Lorenza Izzo… well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
In the Jungle Cannibal sub-genre of the Cannibal sub-genre… this is just a unique animal. I love films like CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and CANNIBAL FEROX – but they’ve never came close to being shot as beautifully as this. Not that this is a crazy super budget movie, it isn’t… And both of those films go places that this film doesn’t quite match… And I love this film for that. That Eli wasn't killing giant tortoises for real. That the film was mainly concerned with serving humans… that’s sweet. I know, I care more about the turtles than I do people… except, they’re never really killing people on camera in films – and I’m all for a TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE movie where Leonardo’s Samurai Swords diced up Foot Clan bastards like a late night Ginsu ad!
Now, I know you’re worried… if the film is that hard, and Harry saw this at a very early film festival screening… there’s a chance that the MPAA has gotten their paws upon the film… Ya know, if it were the 90’s… the prime Valenti years… None of Eli’s films would have been released in theaters. They’d all would have had emasculating cuts. However, we live in the times where TV shows like HANNIBAL and WALKING DEAD and AMERICAN HORROR STORY are a channel click away – and MPAA is a very different animal in the post-Valenti years. The cut I saw is the cut you’ll all have a chance to see.
Now, the Jungle Cannibal genre has never really seen distribution in this country… I’ve heard OPEN ROAD is opening this HUGE! I’m wildly curious to see if the U.S.A. has the stomach for a good old fashioned badass blood & guts Jungle Cannibal flick. I watch it – and I know that nobody was really hurt – and the magnificence of going into the Jungle and finding a tribe that had never been photographed and make a movie with them… I tell ya… Right now. I’m dying to see the making of this movie. I hope it is like 2 hours long and makes me flash to Herzog in the Amazon.
If this is successful, we will see more of these. Also – if you want to know all the films that inspired this movie for Eli Roth – in the end credits is an authoritative listing of all the films in this particular genre. So if you’re a novice of the Jungle Cannibalism and Cannibal Genre… Eli has made it exceedingly simple to track them down. Right there in the movie. I loved that particular touch! Somewhere Ruggero Deodato and Umberto Lenzi must be so f’n proud! I know that Tom Joad and I loved the hell out of the film. But then… we’re pretty fucking sick puppies! And so is Eli!