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Apocalisse Domani

Cannibal Apocalypse
Apocalypse Domani / Cannibals in the Streets / Cannibal Massacre / Asphalt Kannibalen / Invasion of the Fleshhunters / Savage Apocalypse / Savage Slaughterers

Italy/Spain 1980
produced by
Edmondo Amati, Maurizio Amati, Sandro Amati for New Fida, Josè Frade Producciones
directed by Anthony M. Dawson (= Antonio Margheriti)
starring John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Giovanni Lombardo Radice (as John Morghen), Cinzia De Carolis (as Cindy Hamilton), Tony King, Wallace Wilkinson, Ramiro Oliveros (as Ray Williams), May Heatherly, Jere Beery, Joan Riordan, John Gereson, Ronnie Sanders, Vic Perkins, Lonnie R.Smith, Don Ruffin, Benjamin Rogers, William H.Gribble, George Nikas
written by Dardano Sacchetti, Anthony M. Dawson (= Antonio Margheriti), music by Alexander Blonksteiner

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Flix.com

Vietnam: Captain Norman Hopper (John Saxon) has just freed two of his friendss, Charlie (Gioanni Lombardo Radice) and Tommy (Tony King), from a Vietcong prisoner camp, but he had to realize his friends have become cannibals ... and what's worse, Charlie even bites him ...

Years later, back in the USA: Charlie and Tommy have been treated in a mental institution for their cannibalistic tendencies, and Charlie is considered healed enough that he is allowed his first day out on his own. The first thing he does is call his Caotain, Norman, to meet up for a beer - but Norman seems a tad reserved, and tells Charlie no, which pretty much sets Charlie up. A short time later though, Norman, a happily married man, makes a pass on Mary (Cinzia De Carolis), the neighbours' teenage girl, but instead of seducing her, he bites her in the leg ... which she quite enjoys.

In the meantime, Charlie, in town, has started biting people, later he is hunted down by the police and bikers alike and seeks refuge in a department store - where guns are sold. As he is a trained elite soldier, it is an easy task for him to hold the position.

When Norman hears about his friend, he goes over to the department store to help the police capture Charlie without any further bloodletting, and he even succeeds in persuading Charluie to give himself up and return to the mental istitution - but during his arrest, Charlie bites a cop ... quite harmless, it seems, but soon enough, the cop shows signs of cannibalism himself ...

Back at the mental institution, Charlie and Tommy make an attempt to break out, but it only ends in them being tied to their beds ... but not before one of them bites Doc Helen (May Heatherly) and infects her with cannibalism as well.

Norman, who is of course infected as well, he just seems to be better in suppressing his cannibalistic urges, stops by the very same institution Tommy and Charlie are held to have a medical check-up ... which is exactly the time Doc Helen bites down her colleagues and helps Tommy and Charlie to escape, and soon enough, Norman joins the bunch.

The quartet makes good their escape with some wild plans to return to Vietnam, but soon they are cornered in the sewers, where the police kills Charlie, Tommy and Doc Helen. Only norman, the most capable of the group, manages to escape. He returns home, clouded in his mind, and puts on his uniform, then he threatens his wife Jane (Elizabeth Turner). When Doc Mendez (Ramiro Oliveros) of the mental institution, a close friend of  Jane, stops by though, she falls into his arms ... and is promptly bitten by him, because by now he is infected too. Norman's mind might be clouded, but he still knows he loves his wife, and he shoots Mendez. And when his wife, aware of what is going to happen to her,begs him to shoot her as well, he does so, then he takes his own life.

For the police captain (Wallace Wilkinson) the case is closed ... but it seems everybody has forgotten neighbours' Mary, who has since bitten her bossy aunt (Joan Riordan) to death ...

 

Most of the times, Apocalisse Domani is labelled as just another Italian cannibal shocker, which were going strong in the late 1970's/early 80's. And even though the film is about cannibals, the labelling is essentially wrong as the film doesn't feature cannibalism as a sociological phenomenon of some savage tribes in a far-off jungle but rather a result of warpolitics of the civilized world gone horribly wrong, which allows the film to portray its perpetrators as victims as well as as villains - somehow resembling Ted Kotcheff's First Blood, a film that didn't come out until two years later.

Unfortunately this might sound much better than it is, the finished film never lives quite up to its promise and often gives way to sensationalist images rather than interesting ideas.

However, the film is still worth a look despite its shortcomings, it does treat its subject with some intelligence despite the expected gore scenes (which are not as strong as often suggested), and John Saxon gives one of the best performances of his career.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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