On a yachting trip to Malavi, professor Taylor (Al Cliver) & family
are attacked by cannibals. & while Taylor has to watch his wife
(Pamela Stanford) being eaten up alive, their daughter Lena (Anouchka)
disappears. Taylor himself is taken captive by the cannibals, & hacked
off an arm, but somehow he can disappear to civilisation.
But he has not only lost his arm, his memory is also gone ...
Back in New York, it is only thanks to the loving care of his doctor
Ana (Lina Romay), who soon becomes his new girlfriend, that Taylor's
memory eventually comes back (his arm remains gone, though), & soon
enough the two of them decide to mount an expedition to Malavi, to
retrieve his daughter, if she is at all alive ...
Somehow though they fail to get any experienced men to jon them on
their safari, so they have to fall back on Barbara (Shirley Knight) &
Charles (Oliver Mathot) & their group of adventure-hungry tourists to
accompany them. Need I say it, soon the cannibals attack, & soon they
have massacred the whole group (except for Charles, who dies from a heart
attack) but Taylor & Johnny (Raymond Hardy), whom they take prisoner.
But when the young chieftain of the cannibals wants to execute them
too, the cannibals' white Goddess (Sabrina Siani) intervenes, & in
Taylor, she recognizes her father (yes, the Goddess is Lena grown up). At
night, she even helps Taylor & Johnny to escape, but refuses to come
with them, because she sees herself as one of the tribe ...
Once in a safe distance to the cannibal village, Taylor & Johnny
decide what to do - & come up with the worst possible idea: sneak back
into the village & kidnap Lena/the Goddess ... the cannibals will just
& indeed, while for the first several hundred meters, Taylor, Johnny
& Lena do not stumble into a single cannibal, their escape is cut
short when the cannibals already await them at a river they have to cross.
The chieftain, who's also Lena's hubby, challenges them to a fight for
Lena. Johnny is the first to agree ... & after a short fight, the
chieftain stabs him to death. Then it's Taylor's turn, & despite
having to relie on only one arm, Taylor somehow manages to overcome the
chieftain, & he would even have drowned him, wouldn't Lena have
pleaded for his life, even agreeing to come with Taylor if he lets her
& reluctantly the chieftain lets them go ...
White Cannibal Queen is one of Jess franco's lesser films.
Franco was always good when he was given a subject he could improvise on,
& include surreal & old-fashioned pulp-elements into the mix. The
cannibal genre however is rather rigid & very formulaic, so there's
little room to digress - & actually it seems that Eurociné,
the production company, was looking for a craftsman rather than an artist,
to cash in on the then current cannibal movie trend. With this in mind,
Franco may very well have made the most of this grossly underbudgeted
film: a pulpy tale about a topless jungle girl/goddess (though his later
jungle girl films Diamonds
of the Kilimandjaro and Golden
Temple Amazons are by far funnier), some tongue-in-cheek humour
(the tourist group accompanying Taylor is actually quite a hoot) &
some weird camera work (as would be Franco's trademark), all held together
(well ...) by some weak gore effects and some second-rate B-actors.
I have to admit, despite my better judgement, I somehow enjoyed the