I don’t know what the hell I expected when I volunteered to review a film entitled “Cannibal Corpse Killers” – fun for the entire family?
The movie, now available on DVD and digital platforms, seemed like it could be good, dumb fun judging by the title alone. Maybe it’s a movie made by somebody with an axe to grind against grindcore band Cannibal Corpse? Lord knows it was messed up when their lead guitarist Pat O’Brien was arrested down in Tampa, Fla. with 50 shotguns, 10 semi-automatic rifles, two Uzis, 20 handguns, two flamethrowers, thousands of rounds of ammo, three skulls and a partridge in a pear tree. I’ve been listening to the band’s music to set a mood while writing this review – their ditty “I Cum Blood” is lovely. Mostly “Cannibal Corpse Killers” is a bad, dumb slog undeserving of its title.
The monsters in “Cannibal Corpse Killers” would likely be more at home in Italy with Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci as opposed to Pittsburgh with George A. Romero. They aren’t brought about by a virus or contagion, but rather through demonic possession at the hands of The Magistrate (Ron Jason, who kinda looks like a combination of an aged Jake “The Snake” Roberts and that My Pillow asshole).
The Magistrate’s selfish actions have brought about an apocalypse reminiscent of “The Road Warrior” or “The Book of Eli.” There is a quartet of survivors looking to exterminate these demonic cannibals and bring justice to The Magistrate. They are Pike (Dennis Haggard, who kinda reads like a Wish version of Timothy Olyphant), Ruby (Theresa Holly), Scar (Katherine Norland, rocking a look that’s Roxette meets “Final Fantasy”), Boots (Nate Philo) and newcomer/loner Slim (Chris Shumway, whose look is reminiscent of Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton in the goofy Civil War flashbacks on “True Blood.”).
I don’t want to rip something apart that obviously had limited means. I know filmmaking requires a ton of effort on lots of different people’s parts, but in some respects it’s a stretch to call “Cannibal Corpse Killers” a movie. I debated with my wife while watching it what was worse – the performances or the writing? I’d side with the latter. It took three people to dream this shit up (director Joaquin Montalvan, Eunice Font (awesome name!) and S.E. Feinberg) and yet it seems like it was written by the kid from your English Comp class who got the hall pass in order to hit the head and huff glue. There are continuity errors out the yin-yang. Characters randomly disappear and reappear with seemingly no explanation. The dialogue is often overtly flowery to the point of obnoxiousness bordering on stupidity. Why say in 20 words what you can say in two? There is bizarre voiceover that pops up periodically that seems like it was cribbed from a “The Dukes of Hazzard” episode, but Shumway is no Waylon Jennings.
The movie isn’t altogether bad. I did dig the design of a dude who showed up late in the picture – his goggles and crossbow were rad. A character did drop the word “vittles,” which warmed the heart of this often-hungry hillbilly. There were infrequent instances where there was some cool gore, but budgetary constraints likely put the kibosh on numerous money shots. (Speaking of money shots, there’s a cannibal who looks exactly like Ron Jeremy.) Lastly, for a flick called “Cannibal Corpse Killers,” these folks most assuredly sucked at slaying monsters. Maybe they should’ve borrowed some of O’Brien’s arsenal?