1977 - 90m.
I don't know why I have such an unhealthy love of exploitation movies set in the jungle. I think it is partially because I grew up on Tarzan movies and maybe I get some strange kick out of seeing my innocent childhood memories of Sunday afternoons turn all smutty. In all seriousness, I think that it is just that the jungle is rarely boring and cannibals and wild animals can always provide for some gory entertainment. Whatever the case may be, this is one of the more outrageous entries into the genre as you can imagine with Italian sleaze-king Joe D'Amato at the helm. Not only are there snakes, quicksand, cannibals, and alligators, but there is also wall to wall nudity and gore. This combination makes for a gloriously over-the-top example of a grindhouse flick in the prime time for the genre and it is also one of D'Amato's most entertaining films.
Laura Gemser reprises her role as Emanuelle which she had already played a number of times and would go on to play again. In this picture, Emanuelle is undercover in a mental asylum where she is witness to a crazed woman (Dirce Funari) biting the breast off of a nurse and eating it. After masturbating the girl, Emanuelle takes some pictures of her and discovers a unique tattoo "above the pubic region". Further investigation leads Emanuelle to the Amazon where she embarks on a trip down the river with the help of a professor (Gemser's real-life husband Gabriele Tinti), a missionary's daughter (Monica Zanchi), a nun (Anna Maria Clementi), and two guides. They soon find themselves in a remote area of the Amazon where they search for the lost tribe and come across a hunter (Donald O'Brien), his wife (Nieves Navarro), and their servant. Soon the cannibals are onto the outsiders and much gore ensues as the group is slowly picked off one by one and disemboweled so that the cannibals can eat well. It is not until most of them are killed that Emanuelle devises an idea that will hopefully result in their escape and survival.
As I mentioned before, this movie is packed with female nudity and Gemser fans will not be disappointed by the amount of time she appears onscreen in the buff. I think every female character spent more time naked than clothed except for the nun (although she did manage to get naked too). There are a number of sex scenes, masturbation scenes, and bathing scenes to satisfy sleaze fans but there is more to the movie than just the flesh. Unlike some of D'Amato's other flicks, this one is quite entertaining in its campiness and the pace is much faster than I would have expected. I will admit that there were times when I felt that the group was just walking around in circles in the jungle but there were enough other things happening to keep the film from getting boring. One thing that I found quite entertaining was some bizarre intercutting employed by the editor such as Emanuelle and Isabelle washing each other in the river being intercut with a chimpanzee on the shore pulling out a cigarette and smoking it. Another strange use of this style was an awkward montage with Emanuelle and Lester's lovemaking from the night before being intercut with their cab ride to the airport.
Overall, this is a gloriously silly entry into the cannibal subgenre that reminded me of Cannibal Ferox but with more emphasis on the nudity than the gore. Sure, there were some moments of extreme violence in this flick but they didn't have the same grim quality of Ferox or Cannibal Holocaust as the tone of the film was not nearly as nasty as those other flicks. In fact, Massacre in Dinosaur Valley came to mind more than anything as both films shy away from animal violence and the gore is more cartoonish than realistic. I never had that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I have had with some other cannibal chowdown scenes. Some other highlights include the cheesy opening song playing over some beautiful helicopter shots of 70's New York, a sex scene on the side of the water overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge, poorly inserted stock footage of alligators, smoking on an airplane, terrible dubbing, jungle booby traps a la First Blood, a character being cut in half in a scene that could have showcased some juicy make-up effects if it had been done properly, and Donald O'Brien's performance that made me think of what Chuck Connors would have ended up like if he lived in the Amazon and become really scrawny. Italian genre fans will remember O'Brien as Dr. Butcher in Zombi Holocaust and as the main villain in the amazing spaghetti western Keoma. In fact, nearly every one of the key players has been in a number of other "classic" Italian exploitation flicks so fans will feel right at home. (Josh Pasnak, 11/14/07)
Directed By: Joe D'Amato.
Written By: Joe D'Amato.
Starring: Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Nieves Navarro, Donald O'Brien.
aka: Trap Them And Kill Them.