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Il Paese del Sesso Selvaggio

Deep River Savages
Man from Deep River / Mondo Cannibale

Italy 1972
produced by
Ovidio G. Assonitis for Roas, Medusa Produzione
directed by Umberto Lenzi
starring Ivan Rassimov, Me Me Lai, Pratisak Singhara, Sullalewan Suxantat, Ong Ard, Prapas Chindang, Pipop Pupinyo, Tuan Tevan, Chit, Choi, Song Suanhad, Pairach Thaipradt
written by Francesco Barilli, Massimo D'Avak, music by Daniele Patucchi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Accompanied by his guide Chuan (Prapas Chindang), Brit Bradley (Ivan Rassimov) has gone for an underwater photographing trips on one of the many jungle rivers in Thailand ... until one day, he finds his guide murdered by a primitive spear, and he himself is soon captured by a savage tribe, who first think him a fish (because of his diving suit and flippers) and hang him in the sun to dry - where Bradley soon catches the eye of the chief's daughter Maraya (Me Me Lai).

After the savages notice that Bradley is quite human they let him work with them - as their slave - but still treat him like an animal, since they have never seen a white man before, and he doesn't speak their language - and he doesn't even fall for the charms of lovely Maraya (that fool).

Bradley even makes an attempt to escape, but fails miserably and is brutally tortured - it's only thanks to Maraya that he isn't killed right away. Again, Bradley is treated as a mere animal ... until he saves a boy from dying from dyphteria using primitive improvised surgical tools. Suddenly Bradley becomes a respected member of the tribe, and is eventually to marry Maraya, the chief's daughter ... only the tribe's witch doctor is (understantdably) furious and vows revenge. When Maraya gets pregnant, the witch doctor sees his time for revenge come, and he administers her a slow poison at some native ritual. Soon, Maraya growns weaker and weaker, and her eyelight fails. Bradley, who really loves her, grows so worried that he even wants to bring her back to civilisation to have her treated, but the tribe stops his attempt to make a getaway cold. Ah yeah, somewhere around this time, Bradley also witnesses a tribe of cannibals feeding on one of his tribe. Brutally, Bradley's tribe strikes back, with Bradley, mad with worries about his wife, being among the fiercest fighters.

Eventually, a battle about the tribe's village destroys most of the same and costs many tribesmen including the scheming witch doctor, their lives, but somehow Bradley can save Maraya, who delivers her baby ... and dies. Bradley is furious, but he knows the tribe is his people now, and he helps them build up their village again, and he hides when another helicopter flies by that could get him away from this all ...

By and large, Deep River Savages is considered as the film that initiated the (Italian) cannibal genre, even if the cannibal scenes are extremely limited here to only a handful of minutes (very explicite minutes though, mind you). More than later, full-blown cannibal movies, Deep River Savages is a traditional if violent jungle adventure, and it's reminiscent in plot (not style) of that sociological Western A Man Called Horse from only a few years back.

The result is a film that crosses the line between serious storytelling and trash moviemaking from both sides, but it's beautifully (if a bit indifferently, considering the story) photographed, it profits greatly from having been shot on site in the jungles of Thailand, and it is the film that gave the cannibal genre it's dream couple, the delectable Me Me Lai and (the less delectable) Ivan Rassimov ...

It's one of director Umberto Lenzi's better films, anyways.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD