I have always been intrigued by the films of mysterious director Marian Dora. Dora’s reputation in the underground horror scene is unmatched, few directors have come close to filming the atrocities that are seen in his movies. So when I got the chance to watch and review Cannibal, Marian Dora’s second feature film, I couldn’t pass it up. What follows next are the unfortunately true events of Cannibal as told by Marian Dora.
Cannibal is based on the true story of Armin Meiwes or The Rotenburg Cannibal. Meiwes scoured the internet for a willing participant to be killed and eaten, after a few replies and some poorly received dates Armin, or the Man as he is known in the film, found his willing victim. What happened next has gone down in history as one of the most disturbing crimes in history as “the man” gruesomely killed and ate his victim, who is only known as “the flesh”.
Going into Cannibal I had only seen Dora’s most notorious film Melancholie der Engel, which is a 2 ½ hour descent into pure evil. MDE has very little narrative and makes hardly any sense, each scene works it’s hardest to gross out the last and 9 times out of 10 it’s successful. MDE is good only for its ability to be vomit inducing and beautiful at the same time, it’s bad because it seemingly is all done for no reason. That’s where Cannibal differs, Cannibal is primarily a slow burn type of film, not much actual nastiness happens in the first hour or so, some reviews I’ve read state this as a problem, but I think that’s what works for the film. The first half is pretty much just the Man and Flesh meeting and engaging in sexual activity, drinking, but after a failed attempt at eating the Flesh, the Flesh gets angry and tries to leave, eventually they make up and go back to the house, and of course this is where things heat up.
You learn a lot about both the Man and the Flesh, for example that the Flesh is clearly the aggressor, the Man is very passive and gets more sexual pleasure out of the experience than the Flesh, who simply wants to get to the point and be eaten. When having sex the Man is always the bottom, and the Flesh is quite extreme and brutish as the top. There is no grace with how the Flesh carries himself, like an eager child wanting a toy, where as the Man comes off as having more passion, both in life and in the cannibalistic acts at hand. The Man doesn’t seem to be a sick person outside of this insatiable desire to consume human meat, which is why I think he partakes in the snuff/porn he is seen watching early in the film, it’s the only way he can feed his sexual appetite in the act of cannibalism. Not a lot of the Flesh’s back story is shown, but I would love to have seen his way of life, which I feel aside from being suicidal, was probably full of more indescribable acts and violence than many would have thought.
Shockingly enough I have spent the majority of this review speaking on character development of all things! Who would have thought that right? Well on to what draws most of us “extreme” horror fans in in the first place, the gore! When things turn up in this one they turn up quick, Dora doesn’t shy away from anything, shit, piss, vomit, is all on full display. The final butchery scene has some very impressive effects that mesmerize and disturb the viewer to no end. The human body is seen being treated like meat in a butcher shop, something that I think speaks to the world we live in, the Flesh in Cannibal is treated better than most animals in the meat industry today, I don’t think that is what this movie is about, but I think it’s worth mentioning.
All in all Cannibal is a must watch for extreme horror fans, you come for the gore but leave talking about so much more. It’s deep and depraved in every way and worst of all it is true. I’m unsure of just how closely this is played to the real case, but rumor has it Marian Dora somehow viewed the actual tapes recorded by Armin Meiwes and his willing victim, I have no idea if there is truth to that statement but it’s an interesting thought. Little is known about director Marian Dora, that’s actually not even his name, I’ve heard he is an anesthesiologist, physician, and possibly a mailman. All we know is that he has a sick and beautifully twisted mind, so check out his work and make sure you don’t miss out on Cannibal.