The 10 Best Cannibal Movies
With Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters hitting screens now, we thought we’d take a look at our favorite non-witch people-munching flicks.
With Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters hitting screens today, we thought we’d take a look at our favorite non-witch people-munching flicks.
10. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
It inspired multiple sequels…then inspired a remake that inspired multiple sequels as well. Despite this, the original is unique in that it feels genuinely crazy, like you’re not just watching a family with a fondness for human flesh and power tools, but that they actually made the movie themselves. The film is alleged to have genuinely criminal origins – with some funding
/movie fans who also financed the porn classic
– all of which just adds to its weird mystique. Watch the trailer and remember just how gloriously scuzzy the ’70s were.
9. Cannibal! The Musical (1993)
Long before Broadway’s
The Book of Mormon
showed they could make a rousing musical featuring actual human beings doing really nasty things. Extremely loosely based on the actual experiences of the accused cannibal Alfred “Alferd” Packer, the debut film from the future creators of
tells the tale of a group of prospectors who get lost and must resort to desperate measures to stay alive. In this scene, we sense one member of the group may have descended into extremely hummable madness, as he’s just a
too excited about snowman building.
8. Hannibal (2001)
The Silence of the Lambs
won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Actor.
was nominated for MTV’s Best Kiss Award (it lost.) Yes, this installment of the Hannibal Lecter saga is often more campy than creepy, but if you have a sequence where Sir Anthony Hopkins feeds Ray Liotta his own brain, who needs Oscars? Watch the notorious meal with dubbed dialogue that turns the scene into moral instruction for America’s young people (you’re welcome, young people).
7. Ravenous (1999)
You can tell a lot about a movie by its cast. So when you see Guy Pearce, you go, “Oh,
. Probably an intense, violent thriller.” Then when Robert Carlyle appears, you think, “He was great in
. Yep, it’s gonna be dark, but maybe a little weird, too.” And then Jeffrey Jones shows up and you muse, “Wait, is that the principal from
” And then David Arquette makes an appearance… All you really need to know is that it’s a period piece with some parallels to the Donner Party and folks will be eaten.
6. We’re Going to Eat You (1980)
Hong Kong’s Tsui Hark is one of Asia’s most celebrated directors, having been cranking out films for three decades and counting. While he’s best known for Jet Li flicks like
Once Upon a Time in China
, don’t think he just does kung fu flicks: Indeed, this magnificently-titled effort seems to include every film genre imaginable, as a secret agent chases a thief to a village that turns out to be inhabited by cannibals while still making time to find love and, yes, engage in martial arts. The trailer is spectacularly hacky (not because it’s poorly made, but because someone gets hacked apart).
5. Parents (1989)
This movie answered the question no one ever, ever asked: What would it have been like if
Leave It to Beaver
‘s Ward and June Cleaver desperately wanted the Beaver to eat human flesh? Randy Quaid plays the man-eating dad, reminding us there was a time when he put all the crazy into his onscreen performances, instead of saving it for his personal life.
4. The Day (2011)
This film about a quintet’s quest to survive in a hopeless world (ably portrayed by Ottawa, Canada) marks Dominic Monaghan’s first road trip since
The Lord of the Rings
. Will they encounter cannibals? You bet they will, in a film that reminds us eating someone’s leg is disturbing, but forcing someone to consume a bit of their own leg is more so. It should be noted this movie was distributed by WWE Studios, but not made by them, which is why our heroes aren’t rescued by Triple H and Hornswoggle. Finally, kudos to the trailer for remembering that, even in the bleakest of times, attractive women always take showers.
3. Alive (1993)
Every trailer should open with a clip of John Malkovich talking directly to the camera. Because while this affecting tale of a Uruguayan rugby team who crashed in the Andes is more conventional than most on the list – it’s based fairly closely on a true story; it features a triumph of the human spirit by the survivors; Ethan Hawke’s in it – the moment a chain-smoking Malkovich starts muttering about meeting God on the mountain, the only response is, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it will not be sane.”
2. Delicatessen (1991)
Only the French could create a movie about people being hacked up and served to each other in a post-apocalyptic world and make it
. Here, a butcher feeds human flesh to a building’s desperate tenants. See him hunt down the day’s special!
1. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
In the ’70s and ’80s, Italians could not get enough cannibalism – a whole genre was spawned, most of which featured some variation of the word in the title. This one boasts a found footage structure later used by
The Blair Witch Project
, plus a few things
lacks, notably actual animals being killed on film, a fake (but still disturbing) castration, and a scene where the white folk visiting South American natives burn down the natives’ homes and find it so erotic they have to do it right then and there. The trailer is NSFW…yet narrated by a man with an incredibly soothing voice, with the result that you can witness crimes against all that is decent, and mellow out simultaneously.