Cut and Run
Italy - 1985
Director - Ruggero Deodato
New World Video, 1986, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 27 minutes
Director Ruggero Deodato is most famous of course for Cannibal Holocaust, his contribution to cannibal cinema and the fake documentary which many, including The Blair Witch Project copied to such success. But like many Italian exploitation directors of his time he was willing to do just about anything, including coat-tailing popular themes. His House At The Edge of The Park is a direct spin-off of Wes Craven's Last House On The Left, though more viscerally brutal, and Camping Terror AKA Body Count was a sad attempt to cash in on the slasher genre already waning by the time it came out..
But that's one of the things we should love about exploitation film, its attempts to replicate success. Here we have Cut and Run (aka Inferno in diretta) another cannibal film, this time stacked with exploitation workhorses Michael Berryman and Richard Lynch. The theme here attempts to deepen the intrigue of Deodato's prior cannibal films by drawing the jungle and the modern world together more closely, namely via some strange things called sympathetic characters, plot and narcotics. Much of Cut and Run is standard 80's intrigue, but nevertheless quite entertaining. This VHS tape unfortunately takes after its namesake and has at least three minutes cut. One nice thing about it however is the cover art by Chris Consani. I have been unable to find any sources that explicitly credit him with this art, but the signatures match, so I'm satisfied. Nor does Consani have website, Googling his name results in page after page of paintings of Humphrey Bogart, Elvis, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe playing pool. Well rendered, but, I just don't get the appeal. In any case, this is the only movie related artwork I can atribute to Consani, but there are several different versions.
The following two are UK sleeves from It's Only a Movie.co.uk and feature what appear to be alternate versions of the Consani artwork:
The above version, while not quite as intimidating as the following, does feature the suspended Fran character (Lisa Blount) which ads a different sort of menace to the whole thing.
Furthermore, according to the book Cannibal Holocaust: The Savage Cinema of Ruggero Deodato, Cut and Run was originally titled Marimba and slated to be directed by Wes Craven. Obviously it didn't end up that way but as you can see above it does prominently star the unforgettable Michael Berryman who also glared out from the screen, posters and VHS boxes of Craven's The Hills Have Eyes parts 1 and 2 (1977 and 1985 respectively.) Deodato really has a thing for Wes Craven.
Deodato also re-hired both Berryman and Lynch for Barbarians, his entertaining last minute entry in the barbarian/fantasy craze that briefly swept the post-Conan 1980's.
Italy - 1987
Director - Ruggero Deodato
Media Home Entertainment, 1988, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 28 minutes
Strangely this post began as a short write-up of this amazing VHS tape, but upon remembering my Cut and Run tape, I got sidetracked, so this is what you get. Suffice to say that Barbarians is pretty tongue-in-cheek funtastic as well, despite what should just be skull mashing stupidity. No matter what, ol' Ruggero hits his mark.
Here's some related pages and images from the Fab Press book that I mentioned above. Cannibal Holocaust and the Savage Cinema of Ruggero Deodato by Harvey Fenton, Julian Grainger and Gian Luca Castoldi. (ISBN 0-952926-04-0)
This cover art, an alternate of my box art at the top, again features the Consani signature and the suspended Lisa Blount. I can't believe I'd forgotten she was in this.
Different actors too? I'm skeptical, but hey it makes a good story.
This beautiful clamshell insert comes from the always awesome Japanese VHS Hell