42nd Street Cinema

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977)

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977)Joe D'Amato's most competent and thoroughly enjoyable piece of work I've seen thus far.
Starring: Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Nieves Navarro (credited as Susan Scott) and Donald O’Brien.

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals/Emanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali, also known as Trap Them and Kill Them, successfully takes sexploitation from the confines of the city limits to the savage and lawless jungle.
Clocking in at the very start of the 'Cannibal boom' and its only predecessor being Deodato's Ultimo Mondo Cannibale/Last Cannibal World (1977). A film which compared to this, is very different given the notably darker atmosphere and powerful sense of nihilism running right to the core.
In my opinion Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals is a film that could be split into 2 halves. With the first half serving as a softcore porno and the latter; a gory exploitation adventure movie in the style of Deodato. The prevalent mixing of eroticism and horror displayed here could later serve as the basis for D'Amato's Erotic Nights of the Living Dead (1980) and Porno Holocaust (1981), only more hardcore and even less class.

Beginning in New York City, Emanuelle (Gemser) is an undercover journalist working at a mental asylum, gathering material for a news article pertaining to patient abuse. After one of the nurses is attacked by a patient, Emanuelle becomes inquisitive towards the girl's origin, further learning via a tattoo on the patient's body that she once belonged to a now extinct cannibal tribe. Enlisting the help of expert anthropologist Mark Lester (Tinti) they head off on an exploration into the amazon in search of the 'lost tribe'. Their adventure takes a turn for the worst when they realize that the tribe is still active and lack hospitality.

By no means was D'Amato an artist, though in fairness, a few of his films do hold some artistic merit and he was a fantastic cinematographer. But what he excelled at was creating profit and this lead him into essentially becoming a mass producer of trash cinema. Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals isn't really exempt from this however I found it to be entertaining and sometimes quite sexy. Gemser has the scariest pair of hands and Susan Scott pulls off her role as a sultry cheating wife. The sex scenes are stylishly shot and somewhat classy, which actually surprised me as I wasn't sure if this was another of D'Amato's hardcore affairs. I'd also like to point out how well shot the sacrificial killing scenes are, including a guy who gets cut in half by a rope which must utilize early CG. If you haven't seen this, I personally think you should dig it out and give it a watch.


R. Sterling Gray said...

One of my personal Laura favs! And I have seen ALOT!

Alex B. said...

Wouldn't call this D'Amato's most competent work, far from it.
But neither is it the pits. It's fun but could have been better.
"Death Smiles at Murder" is miles ahead of "Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals" both in terms of ambition and technical execution. Sadly, D'Amato's films seemed to get weaker and more slapdash with each passing decade.

Anonymous said...

i once saw this movie long time ago. but it still lingers on my mind. i wish i could down load the movie 4 free since im in a 3rd worl country.

xl pharmacy said...

is it just me or have you noticed that there were so many cannibal movies in the decades 70-90???? I mean it is amazing but kind of boring that the movie directors made so many movies about cannibals

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