REVIEW: Devil Hunter (1980): Reviewed by Bryan “SHU-IZMZ” Schuessler
Jess Franco is the king of exploitation films on every level and I think that with this cannibal film he has probably packed as much tits, ass, bush, and breasts into one film than anyone could who was not trying to make a hardcore adult feature circa 1972. Now, is this film any good, apart from all the gratuitous nudity? NO. It is not a very good film. It is not even one of those films that are so bad they are good, but it does have tons of beautiful women baring all throughout the whole film. One of those beauties happens to be Playboy model Ursula Buchfellner (credited as Ursula Fellner) who is in the film throughout its running time, but probably only has about four sentences of dialogue, along with some screaming. Buchfellner (Linda, Sadomania: Holle der Lust) plays Laura Crawford, the gorgeous blonde model who has been kidnapped by Jack (Antonio Mayans credited as Robert Foster) and the group of kidnappers intend to ransom her off for lots of money. Luckily for Crawford (Buchfellner), Peter Weston (played by Al Cliver of Zombi 2 (a.k.a. Zombie (USA)) is sent to rescue her since he has a background in the military and fought in Vietnam.
The film really focuses on the cannibal tribe that hunts down men and women and sacrifices them to their god, The Devil, played by gymnast Burt Altman (Zombie Lake,Cannibal Terror, who walks around naked with a ping-pong balls cut in half and stuck over his eyelids for a very cheap and ridiculous looking effect. It sort of reminded me of a ‘poor-man’s’ Blacula. In Blacula, I believe they had these silver balls in place of where there eyeballs should have been. The only thing that is going for Devil Hunter is the title, which I really liked, and the gratuitous nudity that graces the screen every five minutes. I saw more bush in this film then I have on the television set in my room while watching American politics in the past twenty years when ‘weapons of mass destruction’ were the current topic of discussion.
The dubbed English dialogue was pretty god-awful and this Franco feature was fairly light on the blood and gore. Not to say that it was not non-existent, but I felt very cheated in watching a movie that focuses around a monster-like naked black man running around raping and eating women’s guts and entrails and only seeing a few scenes that were gory.
Some of the more memorable scenes in the film were the unintentional lines of dialogue, such as the scene where one of the kidnappers goes on a rampage about all the vegetation and plant life in the jungle, shouting in a temper-tantrum, “What a fucking awful place!”. It was scenes like these that amused me now and again, in between the scenes of rape and white women being molested by other dark-skinned tribal inhabitants that really showed one how to give one a shower in the jungle. There also was a decent amount of wiener action if that is your deal, as well. Franco shows equal parts of genitalia in Devil Hunter.
The last scene in this film showed one of the most anti-climatic fights taking place in the ocean between Jack (Antonio Mayans) and Peter (Al Cliver) and if there was any chance of me being left with a positive viewing experience, it completely flew out the window at this point. I think that it would have been more interesting to show a bird swooping down into the water and catching a fish in its beak as the epic finale between good guy vs. bad guy. The boringly executed fight and music performed packaged up my viewing experience in one phrase: lack of heart.
Devil Hunter seems like it was a half-asses effort on the part of Jess Franco. I am not saying that every film he makes is great, or even good, but it just seems like he was not all that into making this film. When he was quoted as saying that he would never make a cannibal film again after Deodato and Lenzi were making them left and right, trying to top the other in terms of gore and shock, I think Franco should have just not made any in the first place, as Devil Hunter is a very weak entry into the cannibal film genre.
The only extra features on this disc is an interview with director Jess Franco, including subtitles, which is a great thing to have because although he speaks in English, he sometimes mumbles and its hard to understand what he is saying with his heavy accent. As always, if the Franco film you are watching isn’t that great, his interviews and stories usually are.