Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 15th, 2015
Theatrical Release Dates: West Germany, December 5th, 1980 (Devil Hunter), France, 1981 (Cannibal Terror)
Director: Jesus Franco (Devil Hunter), Alain Deruelle (Cannibal Terror)
Writers: Julián Esteban, Jesus Franco (Devil Hunter), Julio Pérez Tabernero, H.L. Rostaine (Cannibal Terror)
Cast: Ursula Buchfellner, Al Cliver, Antonio Mayans, Antonio de Cabo, Burt Altman, Gisela Hahn, Muriel Montossé, Werner Pochath, Melo Costa, Aline Mess, Claude Boisson, Tibi Costa, Óscar Cortina, Ana Paula (Devil Hunter), Silvia Solar, Gérard Lemaire, Pamela Stanford, Olivier Mathot, Burt Altman, Stan Hamilton, Antoine Fontaine, Antonio Mayans, Michel Laury, Annabelle (Cannibal Terror)
BluRay released: August 18th, 2015
Approximate running times: 102 minutes (Devil Hunter), 94 minutes (Cannibal Terror)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Films)
Sound: LPCM Stereo English, LPCM Stereo French (Both Films)
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
Devil Hunter: A model is kidnapped and held for ransom on Remote Island, inhabited by cannibals.
Shortly after making Cannibals, Jess Franco would return to the cannibal film genre with Devil Hunter. Visually Devil Hunter is a more polished production than its predecessor Cannibals. Jess Franco more than any other filmmaker has mastered the art of making something out of nothing. The film is not that dialog heavy with the bulk of the story being endless shots of the various characters working their way through the jungle terrain and doing the most mundane things. This is not to say that the story is not engaging. Despite the minimal plot Franco still somehow manages to keeps things lively and entertaining throughout. This is where the film’s cannibal, torture and moments of nudity come into play. Also depending on which audio mix you choose English or French the tone of the film is drastically different. The English dubbed audio mix features some deliriously awful dialog that unintentionally adds humor to the film.
The film’s two leading men Al Cliver and Robert Foster (Antonio Mayans) both appeared in Jess Franco’s Cannibals. Ursula Buchfellner (a Playboy playmate) is cast as Laura Crawford the kidnapped model. Besides The Devil Hunter she would work with Jess Franco on two other films Linda and Sadomanía. Another performance of note is Muriel Montossé who worked with Jess Franco on several films including Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties, Cecilia and The Inconfessable Orgies of Emmanuelle. When it was originally released The Devil Hunter gained some notoriety as video nasty with it was banned in the UK. The cannibal scenes Devil Hunter are pretty tame even when compared to Cannibals. Ultimately Devil Hunter is more of jungle adventure with the moments of cannibalism thrown in as an afterthought.
Cannibal Terror: Three small time crooks kidnap the daughter of a wealthy businessman. When things start to unravel they are forced to go into hiding with the little girl. Unknown to the kidnappers that the secluded hideout they are staying at is located near a tribe of cannibals.
After having suffered through the excruciating painful Zombie Lake which was also made by Eurociné I went into Cannibal Terror with very low expectations. Cannibal Terror fails in every way with its tedious plot that is woefully stretched out, dialog that makes porn dialog sounds Shakespearian and acting that is lifeless and inept.
Cannibal Terror was directed by Alain Deruelle under the alias Allan W. Steeve. Visually Alain Deruelle is unable to create any stylish moments and his overall direction is among the worst that I have seen in a very long time. Think Ed Wood but worse. The only thing that he even does semi well are the scenes involving nudity. The Cannibals are not that prominent in the story and when they eat and disembowel their victims these scenes are the tamest that I have seen for a cannibal film.
Finding something enjoyable in this film is an almost insurmountable feat. Even the usual it is so bad it is good doesn’t apply with this film. The most laughable part of this film is it cannibals who look nothing like jungle tribesmen. Most of them are far to pale and have hair styles that just stand out like a sore thumb. One has to wonder where the hell the producers found these actors to plays their cannibals. The only thing that I enjoyed was the films funky score which was Jean-Jacques Lemètre.
Devil Hunter (20.9 GB) and Cannibal Terror (18.3) come on a 50 GB dual layer (45.1 GB) BluRay. Both films are presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Both transfers are in great shape as there is a marked improvement when it comes to image clarity and black levels. Also colors look slightly more vibrant then they had when compared to previous releases and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
Each film comes with two audio options, a LPCM Stereo mix in English and a LPCM stereo mix in French. Both English audio mixes sound clean, clear and balanced throughout. Needless to say both of these films were shot very cheaply and these audio mixes sound great considering their aforementioned limitations. For anyone wanting to listen to the French audio mixes, you better be fluent in French since no English subtitles have been provided for these tracks. It should be noted that there is one scene in Devil Hunter that is only in French and just like Severin’s DVD there are no English subtitles for this scene.
Extras for Devil Hunter include two interviews, the first interview is with Jess Franco (16 minutes 32 seconds, in English with English subtitles) and the second interview is with stunt man / actor Burtrand Altman (10 minutes 56 seconds, in French with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview with Jess Franco include, working with amateurs’ verses professional actors, working with actress Ursula Buchfellner, the cannibal film genre and director Ruggero Deodato.
Topics discussed in the interview with Burtrand Altman include, moving from stunt work to acting, working with producer Daniel and Marius Lesoeur and he also reminisces about onset moments that occurred while he was making Cannibal Terror.
Extras for Cannibal Terror include an English language trailer for the film (3 minutes 27 seconds), a deleted scene that features some topless dancing (1 minute 26 seconds) and an interview with director Alain Deruelle (20 minutes 48 seconds, in French with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview with Alain Deruelle include, how he got into filmmaking, how Lesoeur’s came up with his alias Allan W. Steeve, his thoughts on Jess Franco, how Cannibal Terror and Devil Hunter was shoot at the same time and used many of the same sets, he also discusses how limited the resources were while making Cannibal Terror, the Video Nasty status of Cannibal Terror and he reflects on his how much cinema has changed since he has made his last film.
Also in the extra section for Cannibal Terror is an Easter egg which is an interview with Jess Franco (6 minutes 5 seconds, in English no subtitles).
Topics discussed in this interview with Jess Franco Include, that his only involvement in the making of Zombie Lake and / or Cannibal Terror was that he wrote the screenplay for Zombie Lake and Alain Deruelle.
Overall Severin Films gives two Z grade film’s solid HD upgrades, highly recommended.
Note: Screenshots 1,2,3,6 & 7 are taken from Devil Hunter, while screenshots 4 & 5 are taken from Cannibal Terror.