The film genre of cannibalism is not only very rare, but beloved. It's a kind of film we don't see often. Therefore, when a new movie within the sub-genre is released, it's greatly appreciated by the fandom. I was fortunate enough to recently see a screening of the new cannibal film Raw. This French-Belgian production has had a lot of media coverage because some audience members have become physically ill while viewing it. I was prepared for the worst, and I got what I expected and then some. After watching the film, I was inspired to compile this list of my favorite cannibal films.
1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The original Texas Chain Saw Massacre will always hold a special place in my heart, and I know I share this sentiment with a lot of other horror fans. This film was not only a cannibal film, but an instant #classichorror around the world. In the film, #Leatherface and his family were cannibals who trap young people, torture them for fun, and eventually eat them. It's graphic but not in a gratuitous way. Back in the '70s and a man who sawed you alive, ate you, and then wore your face as a mask was not normal fare for cinema. This horror classic of course was remade in recent years, and while I'm not a fan of remakes, this cinematic redo was not dreadful. Was it better than the original? No. But it was still a decent horror film.
2. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The Hills Have Eyes is another classic. I'm referring to the original film, even though the 2006 remake was pretty good. #WesCraven's The Hills Have Eyes is a classic because it's intense, gritty, gory and nasty. Like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, this one crossed the line back in the '70s. The theme of an innocent family out for fun who encounters savages ready for the kill is fun to watch unfold on the screen. The cast is believable and you empathize with the victims. The scenes of killing are gory and in your face, while the makeup for the cannibals is amazing. It all ties together in a really great way, making for a must-watch #horror film.
3. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Cannibal Holocaust is probably the most talked-about cannibal film ever made. It's very controversial, gory and unique. Originally, this film was not easily digestible for the general public. Some people thought the film was real, while others were simply too grossed out by the subject matter. The plot is simple: A documentary film crew goes missing after heading into the Amazon to film lost tribes of cannibals. Cannibal Holocaust was so violently aggressive, director Ruggero Deodato was charged with obscenity. Even though he was later cleared of the charges, to this day his film is still banned in some countries.
4. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs is about the most infamous cannibal in film, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins. Jodie Foster's Clarice Starling and Lector's chemistry was phenomenal. Hopkins as Lecter is absolutely chilling, while Foster as a woman who is not a victim is refreshing. This film will always be a favorite of mine. It's intense, with a lot of interwoven plot lines flowing together, and it will never get old.
5. Wrong Turn (2003
Wrong Turn had a lot of mixed reviews, to say the least. It's a #slasher film about a group of friends on a road trip who get into a collision with a motorcyclist. Stranded in the middle of nowhere, they soon realize they're being stalked by inbred cannibals. I personally think this film series — there are six in total — is always a fun time. Its detractors try to take this movie too seriously. It's gory, and I can say with confidence that it's not for everyone. I chose to include this film on my list simply because of some of its more intense moments. Some images I can't and won't forget, they're just that good.
6. We Are What We Are (2013)
I knew We Are What We Are was about cannibals. However, nothing could prepare me for the story. Nothing. This take on cannibals is definitely something else. It's unique, different and fresh; I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied after watching this film. The family dynamic is very uncomfortable and the ending is insane. I don't want to and will not spoil it for those who haven't seen it. However, I strongly recommend We Are What We Are, a rollercoaster that will for sure catch you off guard.
7. The Green Inferno (2015)
If you love cannibal films and haven't seen The Green Inferno, I suggest you do so immediately. This film crosses the line, yet brings awareness, and that's why I absolutely love it. It's one of the rawest films out there. I was lucky enough to see it in 4D, and it was quite the experience. I chose to add The Green Inferno to my list because of the amount of gore utilized. It's a visually gorgeous blood bath. The location definitely helped with the cinematic beauty, and the directing of this film was on point as well. #EliRoth nailed it, and it's one film I can never forget.
8. Raw (2016)
Raw is another film that caught me by surprise for sure, with its unexpectedly gritty storyline. I was so pleasantly surprised, I had to talk with friends for hours about my viewing experience. Yes, this is the film that is making audiences everywhere sick. I was fortunate to not have that reaction, but I can see how some would. The twisted ending was not only startling, but comical as well. I will not spoil the movie for those who want to see it, but I will say it's a must-see.
Raw is set for release on March 10, 2017. What are some of your favorite cannibal horror films? Let me know in the comments section down below!