Even as a supposed horror parody—it really doesn't feel like a parody so much as a low-grade horror that's just aware of its ridiculousness—Cannibal Girls is probably a film that's best viewed in a group. During its original run, theatres would ring a bell to warn of gore or sexiness, which would imply that the filmmakers were aware of the necessity of a truly group experience to appreciating it on even an ironic level.
On your lonesome, there is nothing here quite ridiculous enough to actually excite much of anything. Perhaps part of that is due to the fact that standards of gore and sex have just become a bit more extreme in the past 40 years, but even for a '70s film that bills itself as shocking, this is pretty tame, nothing much beyond stage blood and some corporally disgusting dining scenes. Romero's zombie films have more impressive guts-eating, though, and moreso what endures here—and would be perfect for group-mocking—are the supporting performances, which range from guy-off-the-street-level stilted improvisation scenes to some knowingly campy turns, both of which have considerably more charm when there's someone around to hear your one-liners.
The story, such as there is, follows recognizable faces Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin—in full-on baffling '70s style: Levy is particularly ridiculous, looking like Jim Croce going disco—on a weekend retreat to a creepy small town. The clerk at their motel tells them a local legend about three cannibal girls who lived in an old farmhouse, and the lack of anything better to do has them heading out to the restaurant that now occupies the spot, where they discover that the legend hasn't yet died.
There are some more convoluted details involving a town-wide cult, but truthfully one of the problems of Cannibal Girls is that it gets bogged down in a fairly nonsensical and unnecessary plot, taking precious time away from the business of eating people after showing your tits. And that really is the only appeal here: again, even for a supposed parody, there's little in the way of mood or even humour here, and instead of any creeping sense of dread or even puncturing of B-movie tropes, we're just kind of left around, waiting for that bell to ring. It's got a cheap and stilted quality that will make it plenty easy to mock—or make a drinking game out of—but it lacks in even the cheap thrills of proper B-horror, which leads to a whole lot of slogging.
Sat, Apr 17 (9 pm)
Sun, Apr 18, Mon, Apr 19 (7 & 9 pm)
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Written by Reitman, Daniel Goldberg, Robin Sandler
Starring Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin
Metro Cinema (9828 101A Ave)