If there's one thing I love, it's a horror film that takes its time in getting into your brain. One that uses plot and imagery to slowly take you deeper and deeper into its arms until it doesn't want to let go. These types of films are more effective in my book. Sure, we all love gore and jump scares, but what about those films that use tension, mood, and atmosphere to create a sense of doom and despair?
I've known about Cannibal Man for a while now, seeing that it was on the DPP list of Video Nasties back in the eighties. Anchor Bay had first released this and then several years later, Blue Underground re-released it with alternate art. A few months ago, I'd seen the BU version at my local Rasputin's but for some reason, I didn't pick it up. I went back the next week to see if it was still there, but alas, someone had swiped it for their own collection. I then found it again - but this time it was lodged in the "Cult" movie section and I was so excited to see that it was AB's first release that I'd come across. Without thinking, I purchased it (for a modest $7.95) and I took it home so that my cousin and I could finally sit through this one.
The story opens with the inner sanctum of a slaughter house, complete with cow carcasses and blood galore. With this, I wasn't sure as to what to expect. We are then introduced to Marcos (the beautiful Vicente Parra), an employee of said slaughter house and the life he lives in 70's Spain, complete with his humble home out in the middle of a deserted area of the city. One night as he and his girlfriend are out on the town, he becomes involved in a scuffle with the taxi driver they are taking home. He accidentally kills the taxi driver and what transposes from there is one of the most amazing downward spirals I've ever seen captured on film. His girlfriend knows of the murder...will she turn him into the police? Instead of taking a chance, he kills her. When she is presumed missing, someone comes to look for her. To hide her murder, her kills the person coming to look for her. And so on...and so on....and one by one, he takes their remains and disposes of them in the slaughter house's incinerator to erase any trace of them. But who is the man who is watching him from far away? What does he know? And will he tell Marcos that he's been witnessing every murder taking place?
This is a great piece of film making. The photography is superb and direction by Eloy de la Iglesia is absolutely remarkable. The Spanish title translated as "The Week of the Assassin" is more true to the film's overall plot, as Marcos kills for seven days in a row. There is absolutely no cannibalism in the film (which was probably why it was placed on the video nasties list to begin with), which though misleading, it redeems itself with a strong storyline. We watch as Marcos kills again and again and the more he kills, the more he begins to lose touch with reality and the life he's used to leading. He slowly begins to fade away, the murders haunting him day after day until he finally reaches his breaking point. His house soon becomes a den of secrets, each one eating away at him more and more. The ending is both sad and disturbing, as Marcos decides to give in to his madness and turn himself in.
If you're looking for gore, there is not much of it here. If you're expecting cannibalism, you might as well stay clear of this one. But if you love a strong storyline and beautiful photography, then I do recommend this. I was expecting something completely different when I put this into the DVD player for the first time, but I was taken away but a great story, some good gore scenes, some great photography, and some really handsome men. I know that this review is short, but seek this one out. The AB version is already out of print so the BU version will be your best bet. Don't be fooled by BU's cover art though as it can be misleading to what the story is all about and was clearly used solely to attract. They don't make them like this anymore.