Pleased to meat you

Glorifying the ultimate taboo with sleazy glee
|
()

FILM I was a vegetarian for 18 years — more than half my life. But after quite a bit of soul-searching (and one incredibly triumphant taste of bacon), I recently realized that 18 years was plenty long enough. The honest truth is that meat is delicious, and I enjoy the hell out of eating it.

Coincidentally (or not), the Donner Party included several Eddys. I have no proof that I'm related to the ill-fated pioneers, but I feel a certain kinship nonetheless. They were the ultimate carnivores, after all. I'm not alone in my fascination with cannibalism — why else would there be five Hannibal Lecter movies? Soylent Green is made of people; the living dead will eat your brains at any time of dawn, day, or night; and the biggest blockbuster of 2006, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, featured droves of flesh-hungry islanders. For every highbrow take on cannibalism (Tennessee Williams's Suddenly Last Summer; song-of-myself doc Keep the River on Your Right; Japanese war drama Fires on the Plain; art house fave Eating Raoul; plane-crash saga Alive), there are dozens more glorifying the ultimate taboo with sleazy glee. Put on your eatin' dress and consider these tasty standouts.

(1) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Tobe Hooper, 1986). The first Chainsaw is a hands-down horror classic. The sequel, which stars Dennis Hopper and is far more of a comedy, includes a subplot about a chili cook-off: "No secret, it's the meat. Don't skimp on the meat."

(2) The Hills Have Eyes (Wes Craven, 1977). When Wes Craven met Eddie Murphy when they made Vampire in Brooklyn, the first thing Murphy did was quote The Hills Have Eyes: "Baby's fat. You fat ... fat and juicy."

(3–4) Ravenous (Antonia Bird, 1999). The American frontier circa 1847 provides the backdrop for this tale; well worth it just for the cast of twitchy character actors such as Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Davies, and David Arquette. A good double feature with Cannibal! The Musical (Trey Parker, 1996).

(4) Blood Diner (Jackie Kong, 1987). Guess what's on the menu.

(5) Frightmare (Pete Walker, 1974). And you thought your family had issues.

(6) Dahmer (David Jacobson, 2002). One of the finer entries in the booming serial-killer biopic genre.

(8–10) The Cannibal gang: Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato, 1980), Cannibal Ferox (Umberto Lenzi, 1981), and Cannibal Apocalypse (Antonio Margheriti, 1980). Nobody does human cruelty and bad-taste brutality like the Italians. (Cheryl Eddy)

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST

Fri/23–Sat/14, midnight, $9.75

Clay, 2261 Fillmore, SF

www.landmarkafterdark.com

Also from this author

  • High fly

    A baseball legend comes to life in 'No No: A Dockumentary'

  • Hot tickets

    FALL ARTS 2014 Film season unspools at a theater (or a park or museum) near you

  • (Un)deadpan

    Aubrey Plaza slays in 'Life After Beth'