Only Humans: Why is cinema so hungry for cannibalism?

wWe’ve had our fill of teenage vampires. We’ve had teen werewolves, teen witches, teen zombies, teleported teens, countless teen serial killers, and even a teen’s possessed hand. In recent years, though, we’ve been introduced to teenage cannibals – whose arrival reaches its climax with Bones and All, a wonderfully poignant film about adolescence, belonging, and the compulsion to eat human flesh.

The idea of ​​merging the upcoming film with the apocalyptic subgenre of cannibal horror may seem bizarre on the face of it, but it’ll be all too familiar to anyone who’s watched Raw, Julia Ducournau’s movie about an angry medical student, or Yellowjackets, the hit HBO drama about a high school football team that… He crashes down in the woods.

Mixing intense gore with heartfelt sentiment, all three of these stories are stories of lost souls in hostile new surroundings. The same can be said of The Neon Demon, Nicholas Winding Refn’s macabre message to the Los Angeles fashion scene featuring necrophilia and festering eyeballs, and Anna Lily Amirpour’s dystopian drama The Bad Batch, which kicks off with our hero exiled to the desert and slashed with a chainsaw.

Both came out in 2016, a year after The Lure, which might be the best operatic Polish musical about flesh-eating mermaids ever. And earlier this year, we got Fresh, which put Daisy Edgar-Jones at the mercy of a murderous black market butcher for satirizing the modern dating scene.

All of these tales of elegantly disaffected youth are a far cry from the genre’s inception, which came with a plethora of similarly plotted Italian films in the late ’70s and ’80s that always portrayed cannibals as part of a distant tribe. With low budgets and high sparse content, these were proudly rundown movies that made sure to feature the C-word in their title and wore their viewers’ disgusted reactions as a mark of pride.

Last Cannibal World was seized and seized in the United Kingdom under the Obscene Publications Act. Cannibal Ferox opened with a title card warning viewers of “barbaric torture and abominable subject matter” in the future, and rigged a marketing campaign on the claim that it was banned in 31 countries. Cannibal Holocaust fared better: the then-told “found footage” structure led to the director being charged with murder, and eventually forced him to take his actors to court to prove they were still alive.

Found footage… A still from Cannibal Holocaust. Image: PR

However, even then, movies about people eating each other evaded heavy themes behind the gruesome façade. Among the severed genitalia and impaled virgins from cannibal holocausts are what qualifies as a study in journalistic ethics. Look beyond the charred corpses of cannibals and – again – severed genitals, and you might see a shocking critique of Western imperialism.

The extent to which there was a political undertone to their American counterparts – which tended to be blood and guts categorical – is up for debate, although many people will tell you that the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a myth about the consequences of industrial capitalism, or that The Hills Have Eyes It is a rebuke to bourgeois America.

Either way, any lofty claims the films might have were certainly silenced by their publicists. This was the era of “bad video,” when marketing execs — driven by moral panic at the graphic violence that flooded Blockbuster movie shelves — made a point of hype at the most visceral qualities of these films. Video Status of Anthropophagus: The Beast showed a man devouring raw intestines with the tagline “It’s not for fear of tearing you apart… It’s him!” She didn’t hire a cannibal movie for her racy drama.

So when exactly did the on-screen cannibal grow a heart? The process may have begun in the early ’90s, when Gen-X icon Ethan Hawke was cast in Alive, the harrowing true-life story of a rugby team forced to survive after crashing in the Andes, and The Silence of the Lambs brought us the most cinematic. Celebrity cannibal: an art lover and a boozy thinker.

An eloquent seductive hero... Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.
An eloquent seductive hero… Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. Photo: Orion Pictures/REX/Shutterstock

This film’s sweep to the major Oscars brought The Cannibal definitively into the mainstream. By the time the new millennium rolled around, and its sequel doubled down on its portrayal of Hannibal Lecter as an eloquent seductress, the cannibal’s acceptance of polite society was complete.

Dissatisfied with Hollywood’s groundbreaking films, cannibals soon set out to infiltrate the art house. A few months after Hannibal’s “Trouble Every Day,” Claire Denis’ blood-soaked existential drama takes place in the world of wealthy Parisian neuroscientists, and the following year, In My Skin, another French problem mixes things up by having its hero. tucking in hers Meat.

Despite this, the cannibal only recently started appearing in the upcoming film. And given that adolescence is a time of violent outbursts of violence and disconcerting physical urges, it’s perhaps a surprise that it took so long. There was another noticeable change. The protagonists of Bones and All, Raw, The Neon Demon, The Bad Batch, and Yellowjackets are all young women. Turns out, girls can mess with cravings, too.

Having gone from villain to hero, the cannibal is now a completely sympathetic, dramatic lead. Today she is a victim of harsh social pressures in films that use gory, physical horror as an allegory for primal human struggles. Or as Bart Nickerson, creator of the Yellowjackets, puts it: “What part of our revulsion with these things is the ecstatic fear of them?”

Meanwhile, director Luca Guadagnino described Bones and All as “a very romantic film, dealing with the romance that lurks within”.

He’s not wrong – but who would have thought that a cannibal movie would one day become this tender, this delicious? And more: can you afford it?

#Humans #cinema #hungry #cannibalism

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