Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Grim Reaper aka Anthropophagus

"The Grim Reaper" aka "Anthropophagus" aka "Zombie 7: Grim Reaper" (1980, Joe D'Amato, Shriekshow Entertainment, Hollywood DVD, Edward L. Montoro) is a low budget video nasty. This is the edited, edited, barely gory version. If you can get your hands on the full version well done! Keep it! It could be worth some money as it's damn near non-existent, and is highly collectible for fans of the genre.

You know when a movie goes by so many different titles it's either a good 'un or a 'dear god, what the hell did I just watch?' one. Well, this one's both!

The highly prudish British government in the 80s banned this film for its vulgarity. Which is why this edited version exists. And sadly, it does little justice to the full and freaky version!

And now we have "The Human Centipede" and "Saw" movies, which make this little Italian gorefest look like a kiddies cartoon! But ho hum, sick breeds sick, they say, and maybe it's little gems of terrible horror like this that are the reason such dire atrocities are even in existence (can you tell I think both of the aforementioned movies are complete bollocks? No?! Well, they're complete bollocks!). The scene which caused so much havoc in the UK, where the killer eats a foetus, has been edited out of this version.

The opening of this movie gets the obligatory semi-nudity out of the way; a couple get to a cast-over and cloudy beach, strip and the girl cavorts around in the water while the guy listens to some terrible 80s music with his fairly old and uninterested dog. The excitement begins when the dog begins 'barking' and (wait for it!) stands up and wanders about two feet before sitting back down again! This signifies that he knows something's amiss!

The horror begins, and the underwater filming is fairly impressive given the meagre budget this movie evidently had! Boyfriend takes his sweet time noticing his girl's in trouble, too. What an oaf!

We then start on our actual plot. Some young tourists are travelling around the Greek islands when they are asked by another young woman if she can tag a lift on their boat to one of the islands where she has some friends waiting and a job set up looking after a young English girl.

They happily oblige in their naive 80s way.

When they get to the island it's almost deserted! And to their dismay, they find a very dead body. They also find one survivor, the English girl that the older girl was coming to look after. And, just for fun, the English girl is blind and so can only tell them that 'the man' who killed everyone on the island is very scary and smells of blood.

When the group's pregnant friend goes missing, you'd think they'd look for her, but presuming she's on the, now sailing out to sea, boat they arrived on they turn in for the night! Great friends.

But when the 'man' arrives to take more victims, it soon turns into a quest for survival.

The props in this movie are hilarious! I especially enjoyed the oh-so-the-opposite-of-convincing severed head in the bucket! But some of the more impressive effects are done with some skinned animals, which are, of course, of questionable morality nowadays, but are damned gruesome.

A fun little jump and slash with some random back story and side characters. Even with the gore halved, it's not too boring, but it is a little slow to get started. It's just a bit wooden, terribly dated and kind of nuts!

The dubbing is kind of distracting, personally I'm a bigger fan of subtitles, but you get used to it.

Despite the wooden acting, the even more wooden voice acting of whoever dubbed over the film, and some props that looked more amateur than some of my own attempts, the film manages to be entertaining even in its heavily censored form. I'm glad I got it for 50p, though!

There are some normal horror hooks to watch for; tarot cards, ominous statements "no future", heavy breathing killer, blind, orphaned girl, pregnant lady and cleavers to name a few!

This film was the first horror film that wasn't pornography by the director D'Amato, and a year after this film was made he decided to remake it as a porno under a different title (stick to what you know, eh?).

He also make a kind-of sequel to the non-porn version called "Absurd". So there you go! Everything you ever needed to know about this crazy flick. Probably.

[Picture: Shriekshow Entertainment]