BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Feb 1st, 2000 •

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Troma Video

Before there was SOUTH PARK, Trey Parker and Matt Stone made CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL while still struggling film students. The plot revolves around Alfred Packer, the only person ever to be convicted of cannibalism in the United States, whose last name provides typical SOUTH PARK low-brow humor in conjunction with the word “fudge.” On trial for cannibalism, Packer recounts the story of his journey from Utah to the Colorado territories from his prison cell. Leading a group of Mormon miners through the wild west in search of gold, things begin to go awry when Packer and his men run into a group of evil trappers who steal his favorite horse, Leann. Things only get worse as Packer and his men get lost in the Colorado Rockies, running out of food, and having to take a page out of the Donner party cookbook in order to survive.

The picaresque journey through the wild west gives Trey Parker and Matt Stone plenty of ammunition for their take on the state of race in American society. Many of the jokes are hit or miss, most of them missing. Not nearly as incendiary as SOUTH PARK, these one-note jokes about sex just do not stand up on their own.

The underlying theme to the whole movie comments about racial stereotypes in the old west as well as today. When first confronting the evil trappers, the miners are denigrated as “diggers.” When lost in the Rocky mountains, Packer and his men come across a band of Native Americans, all played by Japanese martial artists carrying samurai swords instead of tomahawks. It is part BLAZING SADDLES and part ROCKY HORROR SHOW, minus the sex, and the good music. Recent outings for Matt Stone and Trey Parker find them much more direct about their feelings on the absurdities of modern America, and much more hysterical.

The song parodies fail to be catchy or funny, usually hinging on bestiality or extreme violence. Numbers like “ When I Was On Top Of You” are easily forgettable.
The DVD extras are plentiful, including behind-the-scenes footage and an introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, who has as much personality as a piece of tofu, strutting around Times Square looking for hookers. The only interesting part was his take on the elitist attitude of film festivals such as Sundance, of which he has never been a part for the past twenty-five years. Also available is a short film by Matt and Trey, a public service announcement read by Lemmy, appealing for the ethical treatment of hermaphrodites.

Truly the most interesting part of the film, for film buffs, has to be the appearance of the late Stan Brakhage, who recently passed away after a battle with cancer. Not a very fitting tribute to this monumental figure in avant-garde cinema. Skip this and go directly to the SOUTH PARK movie.

Juan Schwartz
Toddy Walters
Ian Hardin
Jason McHugh
Matt Stone
Jon Hegel
Dian Bachar
Robert Muratore

Written and Directed by Trey Parker.
Produced by Alexandra Kelly, Ian Hardin, Jason McHugh, Matt Stone, Trey Parker
Director of Photography Robert Muratore and Chris Graves
Original Score Trey Parker and Rich Sanders

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