The credits tell me this movie is from 1980. I don’t know what would have made me feel the year was earlier, but I was surprised at the year. I could tell even from the credits that this was going to be a movie granted a larger budget than most of our offerings so far, so that bode well.
We start the movie in
amidst many American helicopters ad soldiers destroying Vietnamese villages oddly by way of blowtorch making sure all underground caves were rid of hiding inhabitants. In one of these caves however are 2 american soldiers, so our first worry is that they will be burnt to death by their comrades, we are quickly shown though that these 2 soldiers are not the run of the mill guys they appear. While we worry about this we go back to battle and a cute alsation dog approaches a soldier with something that couldn’t be anything other than a explosive device around his neck… you would think a soldier would know better than to try to remove it and ask what it is… really!! The dog invariably explodes killing itself and the soldier flying into to the air, the wooden toy dog somersaulting here is worth noting. Another couple of amusing observations were a psychic soldier who is blown off his feet by an explosion, before it actually explodes and a slim Vietnamese lady wearing a very thick and cumbersome burns suit as she runs through the shot on flames and jumps into our 2 soldiers (who we later learn are called Bukowski and Thompson) cave. This is where we discover, not all is well with these guys. After a weird opportunity for a boob shot from this burns victim, they both tuck in and start eating their barbecued meal. Vietnam
Enter our star Norman Hopper who makes to save his subordinates (he is their commander officer) but he is duly bitten on the arm by Thompson. Here we cut to
in bed with his wife having a nightmare. We are left wondering whether or not what we have just witnessed is a dream.. in that he was bitten. A trip downstairs to take some pills and his salivating reaction to a dripping bloody cut of meat in the fridge sort of puts us in mind that it was no nightmare. Norman
Another character which deserves a mention is Dr Mendez who obviously has some history with Normans wife Mary and can’t help but constantly refer to the the fact, including telling her she should have married him when she confides in him about her fears about Norman and his dreams. He pops up periodically to irritate you and be sickeningy sweet towards Mary.
We continue getting ‘hints’ about the fact Norman is a cannibal when his reaction to the teenage next door neighbour who hits on him is to take a bite of her… which she strangely seems to enjoy, odd girl. Next when Bukowski (or Charlie to his friends) is released from the dubiously named ‘Hospital for Nervous Disorders’ he makes a call to Norman and seems to confirm that it is not all in his mind and he was indeed bitten in Vietnam. He hangs up on Charlie and turns down his offer of meeting for a beer.
A bit put out by the rebuffal Charlie takes himself to the cinema and ends up sitting behind the most amorous couple I think any cinema has ever seen. They’re really going for it with scenes that most people keep for a bedroom and in the ladies lustful abandon (where the head is always thrown back with neck full on view) Charlie seizes his moment and bites a big chunk out of her neck, lol. I found this oddly funny! He is of course chased by all the cinema patrons and ends up holed up in a supermarket after having blown away some guy called Carlos who was chasing him(which pisses a lot of people off) and a security guard. The police arrive and we meet Captain McCoy who was my favourite character in this movie. Some of his lines are fantastic… including “He’ll be singing out of his arsehole when I get my hands on him”. I loved him. Reminded me a lot of Leslie Neilson actually… anyways, back to the story… Norman catches wind that Charlie has gone a bit stir crazy and is in the supermarket so he goes down and offers to help the police bring him in.
Long story short, he goes in, Charlie gets arrested eventually and is returned to the hospital where he and Thompson get together to bite a young nurse and infect her. All hell breaks loose from this point… people are bitten and infected, people are eaten (nothing overly messy though), a professor has his tongue bitten out and is bludgeoned to death with one of those nice little crystal stone thingys by his much younger, more attractive girlfriend nurse. She then frees Thompson and Bukowski who have been tied to a bed for their earlier demeanors,
appears as the hero of the half hour and kills someone trying to call for help from the hospital. Norman
In the midst of all this, a point worth noting is that when a victim is being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, just before she dies, she scratches our Dr Mendez on the back of the neck. Hmmm that’s bound to come back at some stage….
We move on to the next part of the story as our 4 cannibals set off from the hospital armed with big guns… (it is here that I wondered why don’t cannibals eat one another?). I felt the movie went downhill from here as the earlier friends of Carlos who was despatched by Bukowski try to seek their revenge and don’t get very far. The police also join in the chase including our lovely Captain McCoy. We end up underground in a sewer system with everyone taking pot shots at one another. The nurse meets her end when she refuses to go into rat infested water (but she’ll bludgeon people to death and eat people???) and gets shot by the police who are trailing them. It sort of stopped being a horror movie about cannibals at this stage and became any boring old police chase movie, although the shots Wakowski takes through the middle which blow a perfect and very large hole straight through him were worth noting
Thompson is seen off next with a flame thrower (would’ve been easier had they done it out in
Vietnam), so trawls on wounded by a stray shot while trying to help Bukowski earlier. He finally manages to exit the sewer by scaling a wall (no mean feat with a shot in your leg). He makes his way home and after a boring supposedly tense search, his wife enters a room in the house to find him fully dressed in his army uniform pointing a gun at her. She obviously runs away and just as we think Norman is possibly going to take his own life with the gun, enter Dr Mendez!!! Ahhh we remember earlier he was scratched on the back of the neck by a victim just before she died. He sinks his knashers into Mary as Norman watches and we end the movie with Norman dying on the floor from blood loss and Mary asking him to kill her with his gun. Norman
We cut back outside, a gunshot is heard and the chief and ambulance pull up outside and collect the bodies with the immortal words “Tell him this fucking nightmare is over”…. We get tinkly creepy music and we see the next door teenage girl (who
bit earlier in the movie) looking out the window watching it all with a bandaged finger. The End! Norman
This movie was ok, but I enjoyed the first half much more than the second half. It changed into something it wasn’t in the last half and there wasn’t enough horror and gore. The movie seemed to forget it was about cannibals and I ended up feeling quite bored. In saying that, it wasn’t too bad and probably I would put it 3rd on my list so far of the movies I’ve watched.
I’m still waiting for something shocking and disturbing please!!!
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