42nd Street Cinema

The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978)

The first film in Sergio Martino's "Adventure Trilogy" and a considerably classy entry into the ferocious cannibal/jungle adventure sub-genre. Once deemed a Video Nasty in the UK, though in all honesty it's tame compared to other cannibal flicks that were banned.

The Mountain of the Cannibal God/La montagna del dio cannibale was co-written by Sergio Martino and Cesare Frugoni, who would later go on to co-write Deodato's Cut and Run (1985) with Dardano Sacchetti.

Starring: Ursula Andress, Stacy Keach, Claudio Cassinelli, Antonio Marsina, Franco Fantasia, Lanfranco Spinola, Carlo Longhi and Luigina Rocchi.

The Mountain of the Cannibal God sees one Susan Stevenson (Andress) attempting to locate her missing anthropologist husband Henry, who suddenly vanished in the jungles of New Guinea. With the help of her brother Arthur (Marsina) and Professor Edward Foster (Keach), who believes that Susan's husband might have headed for the sacred mountain of Ra Ra Me. The trio fly to the island of Roka, where Ra Ra Me is situated. Upon arriving on the island they encounter another intrepid jungle explorer named Manolo (Cassinelli), who joins them in their quest for Henry.

It is then revealed that each character has their own private reasons for coming to the island. Susan and Arthur's true intentions become fully revealed: that they have secretly being trying to locate a valuable uranium deposits. Foster then reveals that he was held captive by a tribe of cannibals, known as the Puka, and that he has returned to wipe them out. Eventually the troupe make it to the top of Ra Ra Me and are captured by the Pukas. They're taken to a cave settlement where find they find the grizzly remains of Susan's husband, complete with a Geiger counter firmly embedded in his chest. It is now a question of survival and who will escape from the mountain of the cannibal God alive.

Martino's offering is often slow, boring and very disappointing. The production values are much higher compared to other films in the sub-genre and perhaps that's why I'm not so fond of this. Yet, while Martino's direction is more than capable, it lacks the rawness of Deodato's Last Cannibal World/Ultimo mondo cannibale (1977).

The film holds host to a bountiful of stunning locations and set pieces. The gruesome effects by Paolo Ricci are enough to satisfy most gorehounds, the beautiful allure of Andress is wholly welcomed and then...of course comes the pointless animal mutilations. It's definitely one for the completist of cult Italian cinema, if you're just getting into it there's more interesting cannibal capers you could be seeking out.


DVD Infatuation said...

Nice review! I just picked this movie up on DVD (I'm trying to make my way through Martino's films), and am looking forward to seeing it.

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