Friday, October 6, 2017

Hubrisween 2017 :: A is for Adam and Eve vs. the Cannibals (1983)

Today’s scripture lesson is taken from the Book of Cheapjack Italian Exploitation Movies, Chapter Mondo, verse Nudie. Thus and lo, our totally bonkers and slightly blasphemous tale begins at the very beginning. For, In the beginning... God created the heavens and the earth via some scotch-taped together stock-footage stolen from a smoldering dumpster in the alley behind the National Geographic Society. And so, grainy looking earthquakes quake as the earth is cracked open and torn asunder while faded and off-color volcanoes belch fire and lava. Eventually, the stock-footage was exhausted, the world settled down, and God said, eh, close enough. And then the Creator filled this new world with all kinds of flora and fauna courtesy of more pilfered footage: this time, the source most likely some Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom reruns. And yet He still wasn’t satisfied and had one more creative itch left to scratch. A decision He would probably later come to regret. A lot.

And so it was written there came upon the earth what looked like a giant ravioli, which soon ruptured most messily from the inside out as the contents -- under pressure, apparently -- scraped and clawed his way out of this makeshift placenta. And once the gruesome afterbirth washed away, man officially sprung from this ersatz womb and walked the newly minted earth. And then, yea verily, the Almighty doth turned the keys over to Adam (Gregory) and told him not to wreck this beautiful Eden. And for awhile, Adam kept his hands at 10 and 2 as he explored his domain, hiking through jungles, discovering water, laughing at his reflection, watching animals do what animals do, but, in truth, Adam spent most of his days voguing, striking poses, looking slightly confused as he stared off in the distance at nothing in particular.

Perhaps Adam was lonely, sayeth the audience, which would explain why he found himself on the beach one day sculpting himself a sex-doll out of the wet sand. But the Lord said, “None of that, little mister,” and sent a rain shower to wash this pagan idol away. But Adam, either trying to protect his creation or dry-hump it before it dissolved -- hard to tell for sure, flings himself on top of the sculpture. And so, his Creator saw this and took pity on him. And so and so, when the sand washed away, it revealed a woman buried underneath. And not just any woman, but a hot blonde endowed with huuuuuge strategically placed hair implants.

Adam christens his new companion, Eve (Goldman), and the two were happy and content for a (very short) time. See, Eve, unfortunately, isn’t so easily entertained as the dimwitted Adam and soon grows bored with the tedium of paradise. (I mean, How long can a person just sit there and stare confusedly? At nothing?) And so, she soon comes under the influence of a talking snake, who encourages her to eat of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. This, of course, is forbidden; but no matter how many times Adam says not to eat from it, this only makes Eve want to do it more. Soon enough, she gives in to temptation and takes a bite from what turns out to be the Tree of ‘Carnal’ Knowledge as Adam, ever the dimwit, takes a bite, too. And once they’ve both supped, they both get to fornicating something fierce -- officially bringing sin into the world.

And so, the Great Creator deemed that this was bad; very, very bad, and then threw a total three-alarm shit-fit of biblical proportions to punish Adam and Eve for their transgression -- for He is one wrathful S.O.B., who sends more delirious stock-footage of storms, more earthquakes, and more volcanoes as the magical garden is torn asunder in what could be best described as someone using a tactical nuke as a flyswatter. (Hey, the guy wrote the book on the Old Testament after all.) Adam and Eve, meanwhile, were much afraid, and scrambled for any kind of shelter but none could be found. And then, to punctuate His point, the Almighty sent a giant stop-motion-animated boulder (-- from the Book of Spielberg, Chapter Raiders, Verses 5-6 --) to run those two horny ingrates out of Paradise forever...

Well, now, if you’ve ever questioned if the world needed a take on Genesis as told as an Italian exploitation movie, then Adam and Eve vs the Cannibals (1983) is your definitive answer. And that answer is, ‘Duh! This is most certainly true’. And digging into the origin of this thoroughly misguided masterpiece of Wait, What? Are You @#%*ing Kidding Me? sees two different exploitation streams colliding together to make it happen. For on one side you have co-director and co-screenwriter, Luigi Russo, who produced things like The Lusty Wives of Canterbury (1973) and The Ups and Downs of a Super Stud (1979) while his co-director and co-screenwriter, Enzo Doria, came from the world of the gialli with Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971) and Hollywood blockbuster knock-offs like Beyond the Door (1974) and Tentacles (1977).

And together, these two, along with five more credited screenwriters -- FIVE!, including Gisella Longo, who gave us Franco Nero punching sharks in the face in the totally gonzo, The Shark Hunter (1979), and Jaime Comas Gil, who penned A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and Danger! Death Ray (1967), concocted the plot of Adamo ed Eva, la prima storia d'amore, which translates as Adam and Eve, the First Love Story. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, Waitaminute? What does a love story derived from the Book of Genesis have to do with cannibals? And where are those cannibals anyway? Well, we’re getting to that as this brain-dead mash-up of The Blue Lagoon (1981), Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983), and Quest for Fire (1981) is just getting warmed up as Man and Woman’s fall from Grace is just the opening act.

And to kick off the second, What if I told you the couple wind up fighting a pterodactyl? Because they sure do. And they also eat it, and then Eve turns the skin into a gravity-defying top. And then, well, we kinda skip ahead a bit to Exodus as the couple wander the desert and several rock quarries as Adam tries to lead them back to the sea for … reasons. And as they wander and bicker, the couple is ambushed by a group of primitives -- but don’t get your hopes up, for these are not the cannibals we seek. But these throwbacks (-- wait, throwbacks to what? --) do truss Adam and Eve up on a couple of poles and haul them back to their caves like captured game. But from what I can translate visually over what happens next, what with all the crotch-grabbing and feel-cupping, they don’t want to eat these two strangers but crossbreed with them. (No. I am not making that up.) But, a handy tiger who was also apparently displaced by the great cataclysm, and who turns out to be an old friend of Adam from his pre-Eve days, chases all the primitives off, allowing Adam and Eve to continue their aimless walkabout.

But after crossing a few more rock quarries, the couple kind of comes to loggerheads when Eve calls a halt, climbs a tree, and refuses to journey any further in service of this fool’s quest, feeling Adam’s still unexplained notion to find the sea is both hopeless and pointless. And so, with a shrug, Adam, ever the escalating cretin, just presses on without her to explore more rocks and sand and then stand around looking confused again. Eve, meanwhile, is captured by another caveman, who is a little further up the evolutionary scale than the last tribe encountered. (Have these guys stumbled into Caprona by chance?) These still aren’t the cannibals we’re searching for, so calm down. But, as her captor becomes twitterpated with her -- let's call him, Kevin (Alcázar), and she with him, he stakes a definite claim to the woman, taking her to a happening make-out spot down by the waterfall, and the two get to bonking. But then suddenly, those cannibals finally show up!

And these cannibals take the form of ape-like troglodytes decked out in some spectacularly re-purposed bathroom rugs and fright wigs. Here, Kevin’s people seem to retreat into the trees. Those unlucky enough to get caught in the open are either chewed-up on the spot or trussed up and hauled off to snack on later. And while these tree-people eventually mount a spirited counter-attack against these cannibals, both Kevin and Eve are captured. Luckily for them, Adam overheard the sounds of battle and manages to distract the cannibals long enough for Kevin to break his bonds and successfully rescue all of them. And, no, this is not about to become Adam and Eve and Kevin, a Naughty, Naughty Love Story. *sheesh*

No-no! Instead, this movie then kicks it's already laughably high rock-stupid quotient up a few more notches with thee most unfortunate looking bear attack in cinema history. And when this ratty bear-prop gets the drop on Eve (-- don’t ask), Adam springs to her defense but proves about as useful as you’d expect, leaving it to Kevin to save their hash, again, as he dispatches the bear after … well, I’d hate to actually call that display a ‘fight’. Regardless, the bear suit is dead and Kevin moves to claim his prize: Eve. But for some reason, Eve decides to dump him and stay with the party that brung ‘em -- I mean, her. But an angered Kevin fights for her and cleans Adam’s yet to be invented clock. But as he moves in for the kill, Eve begs him not to kill Adam. Seeing who she truly loves, Kevin spares Adam, gives Eve one last look, who won’t return it, and then disappears into the trees, never to be heard from again.

And so, together again, after skinning the, uh, bear, leaving some poor stuntman stripped-naked behind them, and using those pelts for some new clothes, Adam and Eve’s journey continues. And as they journey, the couple ‘reconcile’ in a ‘biblical sense’ because Eve has a notion to have a cub like the other animals. After, Adam, ever the idiot, decides to look for the sea inside a cave but finds a pack of wolves instead. However, Adam managed to pick up a few fighting tricks from Kevin, kills one of the wolves with a club, and runs the rest off. Flush with victory, the couple poke their heads back outside to find a rapid onset ice age has suddenly struck in the whole five minutes it took them to decide the sea was not, repeat, was not, inside the cave. That’s me shrugging right now, too, Boils and Ghouls.

But, yea verily, yon ice age would pass almost as quickly and as pointlessly as it came. And as the last of the melting ice broke away, it reveals the couple had, indeed, finally reached the sea. Divine intervention? Knowing these idiots and their sense of direction? It’s the only rational explanation possible. And while Eve percolates with their first born -- and are we sure it’s his and not Kevin’s?, Adam starts bartering with the tree people, trading fish for veggies and something new called fire. And so, Adam and Eve eked out an existence until Eve is drawn into the water where she finally gives birth to Cain, with Abel coming soon after, I’m sure. But that, my faithful brethren, is another tale for another day. Amen.

A lot of you might recognize actor Mark Gregory and his rockin’ proto-mullet as the same guy who played Trash in the post-apocalyptic tale of a ravaged New York City, 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982), and its sequel, Escape from the Bronx (1983). He also starred as Johnny Hondo in something called War Bus Commando (1989) that just made it into My Must Track that One Down File. This also appears to be the only screen credit for Andrea Goldman, who, funnily enough, acted circles around her co-star. And that’s about it as far as the cast goes as everyone else were just extras buried under a ton of pelts, paint, false teeth, and those aforementioned fright wigs. These make-up effects are fine, meaning terrible, but they fit perfectly into this mess of a milieu.

I dug around some but can’t confirm if Adam and Eve ever got a theatrical release in the States but it looks like it was renamed Adam and Eve vs. the Cannibals for a super-rare home video release by Transworld Entertainment hoping to cash in on the notoriety of the gut-munching Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and Cannibal Ferox (1981). And while there are actual cannibals in this movie, I still feel this is a tad disingenuous because the cannibals are in it for, like, two seconds. 

Still, even though the film kinda boils down to a strange form of marriage counseling, fraught with trials and tribulations, to get Adam and Eve to finally admit they love each other and then live happily ever after, this morality play is then candy-coated with an absurd amount of nonsense, ranging from a go-motion pterosaur attack, to horny cavemen, to the worst/best faux bear attack of ever. And if they taught this version of Genesis in Bible School, I probably would’ve paid more attention. But don’t worry, despite these dramatic liberties Adam and Eve vs. the Cannibals is pretty harmless and not THAT blasphemous. What it is, is gloriously, gloriously stupid. And kinda awesome.

What is Hubrisween? This is Hubrisween. And now, Boils and Ghouls, be sure to follow this linkage to keep track of the whole conglomeration of reviews for Hubrisween right here. Or you can always follow we collective head of knuckle on Letterboxd. That's one down with 25 to go! Up next: The Eyes Have It.

Adam and Eve vs. the Cannibals (1983) Alex Film International :: Arco Film :: Trans World Entertainment / P: Enzo Doria / D: Enzo Doria, Luigi Russo / W: Domenico Rafele, Lidia Ravera, Jaime Comas Gil, Eugenio Benit, Luigi Russo, Enzo Doria / C: Fernando Espiga / E: Gianfranco Amicucci, Luigi Russo / M: Guido De Angelis, Maurizio De Angelis / S: Mark Gregory, Andrea Goldman, Ángel Alcázar, Costantino Rossi, Pierangelo Pozzato

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