CANNIBAL GIRLS (1972) Reviews and overview

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‘These girls do exactly what you think they do!’

Cannibal Girls is a 1972 Canadian black comedy horror film directed by Czechoslovakian-born Ivan Reitman (producer of Shivers, Rabid, director of Ghostbusters, 1984) from a screenplay by Robert Sandman. It was released 1973 by American International Pictures (AIP) and is also known as Sisters of Blood.

The Scary Pictures Productions movie stars Eugene Levy (Splash!, American Pie franchise), Andrea Martin, Ronald Ulrich, Alan Gordon, Allan Price, Earl Pomerantz, plus Randall Carpenter, Bonnie Neilson and Mira Pawluk as ‘the cannibal girls’).

The story has the feel of an urban legend and was made as a spoof of traditional horror films. The film is known for the ‘warning bell’ gimmick, which rang in theatres to warn the more squeamish members of the audience of impending gory scenes.

A couple are relaxing in a snowy idyll near a small fictional town called Farnhamville. Suddenly, an axe wielding female assailant kills the boyfriend, rips the girlfriend’s shirt open, and puts a dab of blood between her female victim’s breasts.

Clifford Sturges (Eugene Levy), and Gloria Wellaby (Andrea Martin) are having trouble with their location. Their car manages to last until they reach the small and secluded town called Farnhamville, where it breaks down. At the same time, they come across another traveller who is looking for his missing sister (the female victim in the beginning sequence). Stranded, Clifford and Gloria check into a small motel owned by an old lady named Mrs Wainwright.

While inside, the old lady treats the couple to an urban legend, the ‘Cannibal Girls’. It is about three beautiful but psychotic women named Anthea, Clarissa, and Leona, who lured men with their seductive charm to their home only to feast on them while alive. And by eating their victims and drinking their blood, the girls maintained their youthfulness and immortality…

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‘The Cannibal Girls themselves may be nothing more than former adult movie stars with silly sexually suggestive lines but there is something creepy about the way they lure young men to bed, tie them to bed posts and (in one particularly nasty scene) proceed to devour them in an orgy of cringe-worthy possibilities.’

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Cannibal Girls is a good strip of meat mildly marinated by a team that had good things to come in the future. Fans of AIP and late night creature features such as the Count Yorga movies will find this of interest, but others may find the quirkiness and clash of styles problematic. A good meal is to be had here although some of the ingredients don’t quite gel properly.” Cool Ass Cinema

‘Despite some obvious problems, Cannibal Girls remains a true slice of vintage Canadian B-cinema that holds up better than many of the more restrained horror efforts that preceded it. Harkening a new age of unabashed exploitation in Candaian cult filmmaking, it’s a landmark effort that remains essential viewing for Canuxploitation fans…’

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Cast and characters:
Eugene Levy … Clifford Sturges
Andrea Martin … Gloria Wellaby
Ronald Ulrich … Reverand Alex St. John
Randall Carpenter … Anthea
Bonnie Neilson … Clarissa
Mira Pawluk … Leona
Bob McHeady … Sheriff
Alan Gordon … Rick, Third Victim
Allan Price … Felix, Second Victim
Earl Pomerantz … Earl, First Victim
May Jarvis … Mrs Wainwright
Gino Marrocco … Mouse
Rick Maguire … Gas Station Attendent
Bunker … Self
Fishka Rais [Kingfish] … Butcher
Marion Swadron … Mrs Wilson
Ray Lawlor … Doctor
Neil Lundy … Brother
Joan Fox … Cop’s Wife
David Clement … Henchman
Julie Thilpot … Girl on Beach
Doug Ganton … Boy on Beach
Lyn Logan … Girl in Car

Technical details:
1 hour 24 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85 : 1

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