Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cannibal Campout (1988)

Now I'm the first to agree that some bad movies are very entertaining to watch - this is not one of them. This is just plain awful, one of the ten worst movies I've ever seen, which is saying something.

It was shot somewhere in New Jersey, which we learn in the movie's first scene, when the Jerseyest girl in the world puts on a bright pink headband and leg warmers to go jogging before she abruptly gets murdered. From there tt's basically a Texas Chainsaw Massacre ripoff - four college kids get in a van for a road trip and run afoul of a family of murderous flesh-eaters. All well and good, except that then the movie fails to do anything - it's not scary, it's not funny, it's not dramatic. It's kind of gory, but so what. This movie's contribution to horror iconography, Jet Helmet Man, falls flat.
Also, the movie is insanely cheap. Now I'm not one to hold a movie's tiny budget against it, if something interesting is going on, but this is just a bunch of New Jersey kids running through the woods - they didn't even get a real house to chase each other around in, just a State Park and the occasional abandoned shack. And it's shot, apparently, on VHS. So there comes a point, in one of the rape scenes, where the cinematic illusion is so thin that it's like watching a sociopath's home movies. This means that suddenly the movie takes on a scarier subtext, but not one that the filmmakers were intending. Watching an ugly kid from New Jersey play-act his Leatherface fantasies is dispiriting, at best.

I can't believe I wrote even this much about it.


cjKennedy said...

I couldn't help but look this thing up. Apparently this is the most successful movie the guy ever did, at least according to his website that looks like it was last updated before the millenium.

Out of curiousity, where did you hear about it or what drew you to it?

Jeff McMahon said...

It was $2 in the used bin at Cinefile.

cjKennedy said...

How can you NOT buy a movie called Cannibal Campout for 2 bucks?