EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS (1977) reviews and overview

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‘In the flesh… her most erotic adventures yet!’

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals is a 1977 Italian horror feature film, directed by Joe D’Amato (Aristide Massacessi). The film is part of a loose series of Black Emanuelle films that emerged in the second half of the 1970s, mostly starring Laura Gemser and directed by D’Amato. It was released in the United States as Trap Them and Kill Them.

On May 8, 2018, the film was issued by Severin Films on Blu-ray scanned from original vault elements. Extras and features include:

The World of Nico Fidenco: An Interview With Composer Nico Fidenco
A Nun Among The Cannibals: An Interview With Actress Annamaria Clementi
O’Brien MD: An Interview With Actor Donal O’Brien
From Switzerland To Mato Grosso: An Interview With Actress Monika Zanchi
I Am Your Black Queen: Laura Gemser Archive Audio Interview
Theatrical Trailer
Choice of reversible sleeve artwork


Following the global success of Emmanuelle in 1974, many film producers around the world climbed on the randy roving reporter bandwagon. Possibly because the Emmanuelle producers had the world’s worst lawyers, or possibly because copyright was rather more lax at the time, many of these films managed to use the Emmanuelle name by simply changing the spelling – in the case of Black Emanuelle and its sequels, this involved dropping one ‘M’.

While the original Black Emanuelle, made in 1975, was simply a saucy travelogue very much in the tradition of the original film, but with Laura Gemser – actually Eurasian rather than black, but that seemed close enough for the 1970s audiences – in the title role.

Interestingly, the same year she made Black Emanuelle, she also appeared in Emmanuelle 2. This version of the character was a photojournalist, who found herself getting into all manner of naughty adventures.

Under the guidance of D’Amato – who took over the series after Black Emanuelle 2 – the films rapidly became more and more outlandish and shocking. By 1977 – a year in which no less than four entries in the series were released, Emanuelle was investigating snuff movie rings in Emanuelle in America, violence against women in Emanuelle Around the World and even became a nun in Sister Emanuelle!

These films pushed the limits of good taste. It was no surprise, therefore, that D’Amato would combine the series with the growingly popular jungle savages sub-genre spawned by Man from Deep River and Last Cannibal World.

In Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Emanuelle, while working undercover at a hospital, stumbles upon a girl who seems to have been raised by a tribe of cannibals in the Amazon (this discovery is made shockingly when a nurse is attacked).

She decides to make an expedition to the jungle to find the tribe, taking a professor (played by Gemser’s real-life husband and regular co-star Gabriele Tinti) and Susan Scott along, among others. After much romping with both men and women, Emanuelle and her party are captured by the natives…


It’s hard to see who this was aimed at. The film has plenty of saucy shenanigans, but it’s likely that the audience lured by the Emanuelle name would be repulsed by the graphic bloodletting (which included some very poor optically created dismemberment), while horror fans would have assumed the film to simply be smut.

However, the film has since gained a cult following and is now seen as one of the highlights of the Black Emanuelle series.

The main theme of the soundtrack, by Nico Fidenco (who recycled it for Zombie Holocaust), was released as a seven-inch single.

David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA


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Other reviews:

” …so preposterous as to be almost enjoyable.” Badder felt that D’Amato didn’t understand his film was unintentionally funny, stating that this idea is “dispelled by [D’Amato’s] typically) frenetic direction and the solemn tone maintained throughout.” David Badder, BFI Monthly Film Bulletin, 1977

“Too gory for softcore fans and too dull for gorehounds, this is basically a film with no target audience whatsoever.” Cavett Binion, AllMovie

“A very good, though flawed, exploitation picture […] The acting is poor, but this may also be down to genuinely atrocious dubbing. In saying that, there’s a lot to like here, and fans of D’Amato or Italian exploitation, in general, should enjoy what Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals has to offer…” Digital Retribution

“The acting is fairly good, something rarely seen in these types of films, Laura Gemser is stunning on screen and steals the show, even when her clothes aren’t off. Gabriel Tinti adds intelligence to his role, and I was convinced he knew what he was talking about. There isn’t much blood in the picture, but the two disembowelments that do take place should satisfy most.” Horror Talk

” …highlights include the cheesy opening song playing over some beautiful helicopter shots of 70s New York […] poorly inserted stock footage of alligators, smoking on an airplane, terrible dubbing, jungle booby traps a la First Blood, a character being cut in half in a scene…” The Video Graveyard

Cast and characters:

Laura Gemser … Emanuelle
Gabriele Tinti … Professor Mark Lester
Nieves Navarro [as Susan Scott] … Maggie Mackenzie
Donald O’Brien … Donald McKenzie
Percy Hogan … Salvadore
Mónica Zanchi [as Monica Zanchi] … Isabelle Wilkes
Annamaria Clementi [as Anne Maria Clementi] … Sister Angela
Geoffrey Copleston … Wilkes

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