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Cult Vault #13: Jake West on Cannibal Girls

British horror director Jake West chooses low-budget gem Cannibal Girls

Taken from the April 2010 issue of Dazed & Confused:

Britain’s one-man splatter-auteur, Jake West, commands a cult following thanks to Evil Aliens (2005) and Doghouse (2009), although his most recent work, a full-length documentary on the censorship debacle of the early 1980s, can be found on the new three-disc DVD release Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide – an in-depth look at the era that gave us The Driller Killer, SS Experiment Camp and a hell of a lot of moral panic. 


“I love Cannibal Girls: a 1973 low-budget Canadian horror/comedy gem which is the true epitome of something a little eccentric, a little ‘different’ and definitely underappreciated. It was directed by Ivan Reitman, the director of Ghostbusters, and it’s the story of a trio of lovely ladies in a small town that make a habit of being maneaters… literally. Their exploits have become the fodder of local legend in this tiny hamlet and, despite the supposed fictional status of their deeds, tend to spell doom for any passing rube. This brings us to our central characters: Gloria and Cliff.  They are a young, amorous couple looking for a quiet spot to spend their first weekend away together.  Will they become entrees on the menu of this blood feast? It’s a black comedy unlike anything you will see in cinemas today, and is a much slower burn than today’s comedies, but for the right audience it’s a cracker. Back then they also had this wonderful gimmick – when it played in theatres a ‘warning bell’ would sound every time there was a gory scene. The posters even screamed ‘The Picture With The WARNING BELL! When it rings – close your eyes if you’re squeamish!’ I love all that stuff which harks back to a period of exploitation showmanship that, alas, is long gone in today’s sterile corporate multiplexes.”