This year “I Spit on Your Grave” was given a deluxe box set on Blu-Ray and 4K allowing fans a new vision for what is easily one of the most upsetting, polarizing, and controversial films ever made. The Meir Zarchi film that popularized the volatile sub-genre rape-revenge films has spawned dozens of cinematic carbon copies (along with infamous bile from Roger Ebert), and features one of the most notorious castration scenes ever depicted. In commemoration of “I Spit in Your Grave” being released to fans yet again, I thought I’d sound off five of some of the more grotesque movie castrations ever filmed.
Oliver Alfonso’s horror comedy is a movie that will likely be a very polarizing title down the line. For the people that actually bother to check it out on Netflix, “Girls with Balls” is a Z grade movie that walks the line between absolutely obnoxious, and admirably entertaining. I was mixed on “Girls with Balls” as it packed some great meaty horror comedy material, along with some woefully stupid moments and unlikable characters.
At the very least, “Cannibal Holocaust” had something to say about humanity and the cruelty of alleged civilized societies. It also had a lot to say about xenophobia and white privilege. Even “Cannibal Ferox” had something interesting to say. “The Green Inferno” is peak Eli Roth where it has no idea what it wants to say and it bathes itself in disgusting, sadistic, unpleasant, garbage that it never quite rebounds from. Whether it’s stoned cannibals eating a guy, to a prisoner masturbating to calm himself down, “The Green Inferno” is the bottom of the barrel sophomoric nonsense that Eli Roth puts on to film with pride.
A precursor to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Gary Sherman’s European based cannibal thriller is a ghoulish and often eerie bit of horror about a monster lurking within the tubes of London. Set amidst a busy and unsuspecting city, director Gary Sherman makes amazing use of the abandoned tunnels and corridors of London’s underground between Russell Square and Holborn. Sherman concocts a veritable lair for a clan of Victorian cannibals, the last of which is struggling to keep his pregnant wife alive. Sherman is great about setting the tone for his grisly little tale, constantly showing the radical worlds that lurk above and beneath local London subways.
Wes Craven’s survival horror film is a bit rough around the edges in terms of editing and acting, but that’s also why it’s so stark and creepy. It’s a gritty and grimy film much like “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and its tone lends it something of a semi-documentary aesthetic. Everything, right down to the final shot feels so probable and possible of happening in this universe. It’s the destruction of the nuclear family by the ultimate clan of what society would normally deem the antithesis of the traditional family. Not to mention it’s the society cannibalizing one another right down to the very last man. I initially didn’t enjoy “The Hills Have Eyes” when I saw it a decade ago, but watching it again has allowed me to really enjoy what Craven intended and how soaked in dread and violence it is.
Two brothers on the run come afoul of one group after the other until they reach a seemingly abandoned desert village. There they meet a young woman who helps them and meet with a family of crazy cannibals. Written by Chris von Hoffman and Aria Emory, based on a story by von Hoffman who also directed, Drifter is a film about survival in the desert post apocalypse that shows every character but one as bad people. The “bad guys”, the cannibalistic family unit, are truly bad, while the brothers come off as being bad people out of necessity and desperation. Only one character seems mostly good but also a victim of some weird form of Standahl Syndrome. She’s the one who attempts to help the brothers before things really go to shit for them.
A group of students heads to the island cabin one of the girl’s parents just bought. Once there, they party like they used to, drinking and partaking in recreational drugs. Meanwhile, in a medical facility that looks more like a prison, tests are bring run on unwilling participants. Soon it becomes clear that not all is at is seems when the students start attacking each other.
Sid Zanforlin’s short horror comedy is a fantastic bit of gruesome, grue, and slapstick comedy that will definitely strike a nerve with folks that like HG Lewis. I am shocked how much Zanforlin is able to squeeze in to in only seven minutes in length. And considering this is a proof of concept for a potential feature film, I think Zanforlin has enough material for a potentially bonkers splatter horror comedy down the road. Filled with amazing special effects by Justin Tripp, Zanforlin centers his film on two young men traveling to meet their family who stop alongside the road.