The Curator of Schlock #16 by Jeffrey Shuster
Cannibal Apocalypse, AKA Invasion of the Flesh Hunters
I tried to think of a movie to review for Thanksgiving. I know many of you are looking forward to munching down on succulent turkey in a few days, but have ever been tempted to sink you teeth into something more forbidden? You know, like human flesh? 1980s Cannibal Apocalypse starring John Saxon will satisfy your curiosity. Yes, we finally have a John Saxon movie in The Museum of Schlock.
The movie opens with a Vietnam flashback/nightmare where Norman Hopper (John Saxon) is leading a platoon through to take care of the local Vietcong who kidnapped a couple of his buddies. There’s an exploding dog, the platoon sets a bunch of thatched huts on fire, and Harper finds two of his buddies, Charles and Tommy, held prisoner in an underground pit. Hopper is shocked to discover that the two of them are munching on the charred remains of a Vietnamese woman. Then Tommy bites Hopper.
Fast forward to modern times (1980). Hopper is domesticated and happily married. He likes to fly modern airplanes and has to fight off advances from the teenage neighbor girl. He gets a phone call from the very same Charles Bukowski, the same Charles who was munching on the corpse of that Vietnamese woman. Bukowski has just been released from a veteran’s mental hospital and wants to grab a beer with Hopper. Hopper declines because he has a problem with cannibals.
Bukowski decides to spend the afternoon catching a movie at the local cinema. He’s munching on popcorn, but we can tell from that crazed look in his eyes that he’d rather be munching on something else.
He sees a young couple going at it pretty hot n’ heavy a few seats down. When he sees the bare shoulders of the guy’s girlfriend, Bukowski pounces and rips a huge chunk out of her shoulder before punching her boyfriend in the face. Bukowski tears out of there with a mob of angry movie patrons following close behind. Some bikers join in on the chase too and manage to follow him into a closed flea market. Bukowski finds a display of shotguns and locks and loads. He manages to shoot and kill one of the bikers in addition to the store security guard.
The Atlanta Police Department don’t take too kindly to Bukowski’s cannibal and killing rampage and manage to hole him up in the flea market. Hopper hears the news from his wife and gets himself down there. He manages to talk Bukowski into surrendering. They send Bukowski back to the mental hospital, but not before he bites into one of the police officer’s hands. I sure hope this cannibalism thing isn’t contagious.
Later at the mental hospital, a doctor by the name of Helen (we’ll call her Dr. Helen) gets attacked by Charlie and Tommy. Tommy manages to get his chompers around her leg before the orderlies pull the two of them away and sedate them. Meanwhile, at the Hopper residence, Hopper tells his wife that he felt the urge to bite the neighbor girl. Concerned, she has him go down to the mental hospital to get checked out.
The bitten start turning into cannibals. The police officer that got bit starts eating other police officers. Dr. Helen bites the tongue off of another doctor causing him to bleed out all over the floor. She then lets Buwkowski and Tommy loose. Hopper decides to join up with them realizing he’s cannibal after all. And what’s wrong with that? People should be who they are, that’s what I say. If someone wants to take a bite out of another person, who are we to say that’s wrong. If I want to take a bite out of let’s say a Christmas bulb, who are you to say that’s wrong? Not that I’ve ever done such a thing. I was just speaking hypothetically.
Ten Things I Learned From Cannibal Holocaust
- Cannibals are just like you and me except for the whole eating people part.
- If a woman bites your tongue off, it’s not a sign of affection.
- Cops won’t be amused if you sing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” while firing at them.
- Don’t give a cannibal a day pass if you don’t want him to bite the unsuspecting public.
- The Vietnam War was unpleasant.
- Don’t pet dogs with bombs attached to their necks.
- Cannibals don’t eat each other.
- You can kill a cannibal by blowing a hole in his stomach.
- You can kill a cannibal by setting him on fire.
- John Saxon is good in anything.
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47) is an MFA candidate and instructor at the University of Central Florida.