I remember accidentally seeing a few minutes of this back in the video era when it was on VHS under the title MANHUNTER, not it’s only AKA, by the way. While its distinctly Jess Franco sleaze (I dunno, Joe D’Amato I could see treading similar territory) had a heady, disturbing impact on me as a teen, it’s less so now after all these years of watching extreme foreign cinema. DEVIL HUNTER is an uneven yanking back and forth amongst tedious, terrible, trippy and trashy. It’s definitely a Franco film, previous caveat on file. And that Franco touch ensures this is no typical cinematic experience. Though this mucks around considerably in junglesploitation, “Cannibal Ferox” or “Cannibal Holocaust” this is not. I’m not calling it better or worse. I’m calling DEVIL HUNTER different. A mild adjective for Franco’s work, indeed. The tribe here, because every junglesploitation movie has the weird native – and frequently cannibalistic – tribe, is not the film’s man-munching factor (make that people-eating since “man-munching” makes this sound like porn or something, though it’s got a majorly sleazy sex element – it’s Franco, after all).THAT distinction goes to the blood-shot and bug-eyed manbeast to whom the natives offer up appeasement in the form of maiden sacrifices. Any horniness on the part of the manbeast isn’t entirely clear, but his cannibalistic taste certainly is – “cannibalistic” assuming a human component to the monster-oculared jungleman, an assumption I find fair. In addition to being accessories to cannibalism (rather than the direct eaters of human flesh themselves), the tribe also carries out a ceremony involving a hot nekkid witch doctoress, some dancing and a wicked totem pole topped with a caricatured and distorted depiction of Big Eyes. He’s become some kind of feared godlike creature to keep happy. Into this wonky Francoland scenario enters kidnappers, their sexy victim – whose nipple-meets-knife encounter is a minor gem of trash cinema scenes – and the dudes after the kidnappers. Needless to say, all these factors clash in a sleazurreal mess of mad movie inspiration that could (almost) only have come from the fever dream afflicted muse of Jess Franco.
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