Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper (1980)
By: J.R. McNamara on February 23, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Shiriek Show (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.66:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0 Mono, Italian DD 2.0 Mono. English Subtitles. 90 minutes
The Movie
Director: Joe D'Amato
Starring: Tisa Farrow, Vanessa Steiger, Zora Kerova, George Eastman
Screenplay: Joe D'Amato, George Eastman Music: Marcello Giombini
Country: Italy
AKA: Antropophagus; Anthropophagous: The Beast; The Grim Reaper; Antropofago
Joe D'Amato has been called many things: hack, pornographer, opportunist… but one cannot ever deny his astonishing output of films (and aliases). He was an amazing genre jumper: making everything from extreme gore films to hardcore porn, although he is probably best known by fans of the horror and exploitation fields, and fans of the delightful Laura Gemser (Black Emmanuelle).

This film, Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper aka Anthropophagus: The Beast aka The Grim Reaper etc was labelled a video nasty by the BBFC in the early eighties, and has a history of notoriety that no amount of paid publicity could ever garner, and has been cleaned up and released in a delicious 2 disc set by Shriek Show.

Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper tells of a group of tourists, Julie (Tisa Farrow), Andy (Saverio Vallone), the VERY pregnant Maggie (Vanessa Steiger" - better known as Serena Grandi), Danny (Mark Bodin), Carol (Zora Kerova) and Arnold (Bob Larson), who stop their boat on a small island to drop one of their party off, and to take a look around. They find the island deserted though, the streets of the small town empty, as if everyone just disappeared. They split up to try and figure out what is going on, and two of the party pursue a woman they see walking the streets (Rubina Rey), but to no avail. Eventually, as you would expect in a horror movie, the party becomes trapped on the island, and something starts to hunt them. Something with a craving for human flesh….

While this movie may not deserve the respect of cinema fans and may not necessarily deserve a decent DVD release… gee, it is really nice to see it get one. If you are collecting films of the 'cannibal' genre, Anthropophagus deserves to be in the collection, alongside obviously, Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Apocalypse, but it is doubtful if it will ever get a local release, so make sure you grab this Region 1, 2 disc set.
This transfer is an anamorphic widescreen 1.66:1, and while it is slightly grainy at times and has a touch of telecine wobble it is probably the best this film has ever looked. Throw away your 29th generation betamax bootleg horror fans; this is a gem in comparison.
The audio is available in Italian or in English and is presented in mighty Dolby Digital Mono. The sound is hollow at times, and stifled at others, which can occasionally make some of the dialogue hard to hear.
Extra Features
This two disc set has some great special features.

Disc 1 has a selection of various trailers for Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper (9 minutes 45 seconds), and under just some of its aliases: Antropophagus, The Savage Island, Anthropophagus the Beast and The Grim Reaper. Disc 1 also has trailers for other Shriek Show films: Frankenstein's Bloody Terror (2 minutes 12 seconds), The Being (1 minute 38 seconds), Just Before Dawn (2 minutes 4 seconds) and Shadow: Dead Riot (2 minutes 35 seconds).

Disc 2 has a great selection of extras.

Totally Uncut 2 (1 hour 7 minutes) which is a continuation of a documentary about D'Amato that started in Totally Uncut, which can be found on the Shriek Show DVD release of Images in a Convent. This is presented in Italian with English subtitles, but there isn't a menu option for English, so you shall finally get to use that little 'Subtitle' button on your DVD remote control. Not a bad little doco, but at times it feels like you have walked in on a conversation halfway, mainly due to its 'Part 2' status. The counter though is that this doco has a lot of footage from other D'Amato films, and most of them feature boobies.

Spilling Their Guts (11 minutes 36 seconds) is a selection of highlights from an interview with George Eastman and Zora Kerova. They talk about their experiences in filmmaking, with Eastman mainly talking about D'Amato while Kerova talks about her experiences in reference to her work with Lucio Fulci.

Alternate U.S. Theatrical Opening features 2 American titles sequences: one for this film titled 'The Grim Reaper' (1 minute 8 seconds, which feels more like the opening sequence of an episode of The A Team, and the second one for 'The Savage Island' (1 minute 43 seconds), which is basically the same title sequence as the film presented on this DVD, but in English.

The Photo Gallery is a slide show of promotional material that runs for 1 minute and 42 seconds.

There are also trailers on this disc for Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone (2 minutes 16 seconds), Rojo Sangre (1 minute 44 seconds), Choking Hazard (55 seconds) and Hiruku the Goblin (1 minute 41 seconds). Have a look around this Trailers menu, as there may be an Easter Egg that features trailers of other D'Amato films… if you get my drift.
The Verdict
Shriek Shows release of Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper is an excellent presentation of an 'Un-holy Grail' of the video nasty era. Really, this disc is a must have for fans of D'Amato as it is rare that a film of his gets released with THIS much respect!!
Movie Score
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