Wednesday, June 09, 2010

BMC MOVIE OF THE WEEK: CANNIBAL GIRLS

Cannibal Girls movie poster
    Second City TV regulars Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin star in this Canadian horror spoof as a couple on a romantic holiday who settle into a quaint little bed-and-breakfast run by a trio of flesh-eating ladies who fancy them for tomorrow's menu. This is a pretty tame affair considering the subject matter, dishing up rather skimpy portions of both horror and humor. The only source of entertainment -- sadly missing from video prints -- comes from the addition of a warning bell ("When the bell rings, close your eyes if you're squeamish!") to alert urpy filmgoers to upcoming gore scenes. The film is also notable as the directorial debut of Ivan Reitman -- who kept a hand in the horror genre for a few years (producing David Cronenberg's They Came from Within and Rabid) before breaking out with high-concept comedy hits in the 1980's, then returning again to horror satire (albeit with a Hollywood mega-budget) for Ghostbusters. – All Movie Guide
    46% liked it

    R, 1 hr. 23 min.

    Director: Ivan Reitman

    June 6, 2010: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Year C)

    Despite the names involved, Cannibal Girls is mostly remembered as the film which proved once and for all that Canada could produce cheap drive-in schlock just as well as the next country. The only difference with Canuxploitation is that along with the occasional spurt of stage blood and brief gratuitous nudity, you also get scene after scene of Martin and Levy (the latter sporting a glorious 70s white boy afro) spouting dialogue which the credits assure us “was developed by the cast from an original story.” (Some call it Improv, we call it making crap up while the camera is rolling.)

    Truthfully, most people find Cannibal Girls a bit dull (3.7/10 on Imdb), but for those with an affinity for the meandering pace of early 70s cinema, this one’s a decent enough time killer. In fact, once you realize the whole town is in cahoots with the cannibalistic cult, the film actually develops a kind of cut rate Lovecraftian vibe. (If H. P. had been a rural Canadian redneck raised on back bacon, that is.) And if all else fails, you can always fast forward to any scene featuring Ronald Ulrich as the maniacal cape-wearing cult leader and Bunker as the deformed henchman… Bunker, as they tend to liven things up.

    Maybe the problem is that the movie’s premise, a community which achieves eternal life through the consumption of body and blood, just doesn’t resonate with people anymore. Not even in church. In a 2008 survey conducted by Georgetown University, it was found that only 57% of American Catholics believe in the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, which means they reject what the Catechism, quoting St Ignatius of Antioch, describes as “the medicine of immortality.”

    The catch is that 91% of those who attend mass at least once a week do still believe in the real presence, so it falls on them (us) to bring that “medicine” to the rest of the world. “More than just statically receiving the incarnate Logos” Pope Benedict XVI explained in Deus Caritas Est, “we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving… The Eucharistic mystery thus gives rise to a service of charity towards neighbor, which "consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, affecting even my feelings.”

    So as we study this week’s readings for the Feast of Corpus Christi, let’s reflect on living the Eucharist outside the walls of the church building and join in with the Cannibal Girls as they recite their favorite chant, “Within me, and without me, I honor the blood which gives me life.” Just don’t, you know, cook and eat anyone afterwards.

    4 comments:

    Wildrow12 said...

    Ah, Cannibal Girls. Such a disappointment for me in my youth: there I was snickering with friends hoping to see blood and nudity...only to be sorely disappointed by the limited amounts of both!

    But you make an interesting point:
    Many Christians do seem to have dismissed the the very tangible sacredness and presence of the Eucharist.

    But what do you expect in a society where we told that we are all unlikable and we might as well be self-interested jerks to everyone? For many, such a society would lower one's self-esteem to the point that you wonder why God would bother with us (forgetting entirely the point of him humbling himself in human form to share in our sorrow).

    *sigh*

    By the by, as much as this is an example of Canada's finest, it is my humble view that it is nothing compared to the greatest Canadian action movie ever made:

    The Final Sacrifice starring Bruce Mitchell as the manliest mullet man in all the frigid north, ZAP ROSDOWER.

    EegahInc said...

    Ah, but I only claimed Cannibal Girls was one of the first, not the best. You're right, it is nothing compared to The Final Sacrifice which I once dared to watch without the MST commentary. Once.

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