aka THE GRIM REAPER
(Italy - 1980; US release 1981)
Directed by Joe D'Amato (Aristide Massaccesi). Written by Luigi Montefiori. Cast: Tisa Farrow, Saverio Vallone, Zora Kerova, George Eastman (Luigi Montefiori), Vanessa Steiger (Serena Grandi), Margaret Donnelly (Margaret Mazzantini), Mark Bodin, Bob Larson, Rubina Rey, Simone Baker, Mark Logan. (R, 82 mins/Unrated, 91 mins)
One of the most legendary of all the Italian gore classics of the early '80s, though if you rented this at the video store back in the day, you probably wondered why. A banned "video nasty" in the UK, ANTHROPOPHAGUS was released in the US in the fall of 1981 by Film Ventures as the 82-minute THE GRIM REAPER, shorn of nearly ten minutes from its uncensored version. THE GRIM REAPER was missing almost all of the gore, including the two outrageously foul moments that were responsible for its notoriety. Directed by Italian exploitation journeyman Aristide Massaccesi under his most frequently-used of many pseudonyms ("Joe D'Amato"), ANTHROPOPHAGUS follows Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE as the second Italian gore film in a row for American actress Tisa Farrow (Mia's younger sister) where her character ends up dragging people to a deserted island to their certain death. A group of friends on a Greek vacation end up giving a boat ride to Julie (Farrow, dubbed by Carolyn De Fonseca), who has some friends who live in a villa on a nearby island. Tarot enthusiast Carol (Zora Kerova) gets a bad feeling and of course, she's right. The villa is seemingly abandoned until they find lone survivor Rita (Margaret Mazzantini, who went on to become a renowned writer in Italy), a young blind woman who says a stranger has been prowling the island and reeks of blood. That stranger is Klaus Wortmann (George Eastman, who scripted under his real name Luigi Montefiori), a scarred, monstrous maniac with an insatiable taste for human flesh who starts picking off the travelers one by one.
aka MONSTER HUNTER
aka ROSSO SANGUE
(Italy - 1981; US release 1986)
Directed by Peter Newton (Aristide Massaccesi). Written by John Cart (Luigi Montefiori). Cast: George Eastman (Luigi Montefiori), Edmund Purdom, Annie Belle, Charles Borromel, Katya Berger, Kasimir Berger, Hanja Kochansky, Ian Danby, Ted Rusoff, Cindy Leadbetter, Martin Sorrentino, James Sampson, Michele Soavi, Goffredo Unger. (Unrated, 94 mins)
Conceived as a sequel to ANTHROPOPHAGUS, ABSURD ended up being an Italian ripoff of John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN with some elements of HALLOWEEN II thrown in for good measure. It's got the core duo of Massaccesi and Montefiori, with the latter again starring as a killer, though this time he looks like George Eastman rather than the heavily-made up monstrosity of ANTHROPOPHAGUS. Eastman is Mikos Stenopolis, a homicidal maniac being pursued through a suburban American town by a renegade Greek priest (Edmund Purdom) who's running church-sanctioned biochemical experiments for which Stenopolis is the chief guinea pig. He's taken to a local hospital after he accidentally impales himself on a spiked gate, but it's discovered too late that the priest's experiments have turned Stenopolis into an unstoppable killing machine whose body is able to regenerate dead cells. Stenopolis escapes from the hospital and after the initial killing spree, makes his way to the home of Bennett family, killing babysitter Peggy (Cindy Leadbetter) and leaving visiting nurse Emily (Annie Belle) to protect the children: irritating young brat Willy (Kasimir Berger) and incapacitated Katya (Katya Berger), who's recovering from a spine operation. All the while, the priest and rumpled detective Engelman (Charles Borromel) scour the town trying to find the escaped Stenopolis.