Structured as a seven-day series of escalating atrocities (hence the original Spanish-language title, which translates as "The Murderer's Week"), this bloody, politically inflected drama is not at all what the exploitative English-language title suggests. Slaughterhouse worker Marcos (Vincente Parra) and his wealthy girlfriend, Paula (Emma Cohen), get into a dispute with an abusive cab driver and in the ensuing scuffle, Marcos beats the man badly. The next day at Marcos' house a shack in the middle of a construction site ringed with new, high-rise apartment buildings he and Paula learn from a news item in the paper that the taxi driver is dead, and Paula insists they call the police. Marcos refuses: He's poor and from the lower classes he knows the police won't believe his version of events, something a rich girl wouldn't understand. As the argument grows more heated, Marcos explodes and kills Paula. Taking stock of the situation, Marcos decides to hide the body in his bedroom and go about his business. But people won't leave him alone: Everyone keeps asking where Paula is, and the next day his brother Steve barges in and finds the corpse. Marcos kills him as well. On Thursday, Steve's persistent girlfriend falls victim to Marcos's desperate rage, and her father comes around the following day, with predictably bloody results. Even the local dogs are at his door. Having bought out the local store's stock of air fresheners, Marcos eventually hits on a better plan to deal with the bodies: He begins taking them to work, piecemeal, and throwing them into the chopped-meat grinder. (Title notwithstanding, Marcos never eats any of his victims' bodies; the one time he thinks he may have inadvertently consumed meat mixed with corpse flesh, it makes him physically ill.) Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Marcos, Nestor (Eusebio Poncela), a wealthy young man who lives in one of the luxury apartment buildings is spying on him with binoculars. Has he seen the carnage in Marcos' house and if so, what does he plan to do about it? Though the US title suggests a zombie gut-cruncher and the marketing campaign was designed to make Eloy de la Iglesia's film look like a LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) knock-off, THE CANNIBAL MAN is both a study of an apparently ordinary person spiraling into madness and a slyly satirical evocation of life in Spain under the oppressive Franco regime. Meat metaphors abound, from the way both Paula and Nestor regard Marcos as a slab of beefcake to the obvious but potent image of society's discards with the exception of Paula, who's slumming, everyone Marcos kills is as poor and disenfranchised as he is being ground up and fed to their unsuspecting peers.
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- Released: 1971
- Review: Structured as a seven-day series of escalating atrocities (hence the original Spanish-language title, which translates as "The Murderer's Week"), this bloody, politically inflected drama is not at all what the exploitative English-language title suggests.… (more)