When I was a kid was afraid of horror movies. I didn’t like seeing blood or people getting torn to pieces. Despite my fear and uneasiness about horror I was fascinated by horror movies. I convinced myself that if it wasn’t rated R I’d be able to handle it, so I’d wander the horror section of Blockbuster and rent any PG-13 horror film I could find.
One of the few horror films that was PG-13 was Bugged. It was also my first experience watching a Troma film (from start to finish). The movie was okay at best, but what i remember most was seeing the trailer for Cannibal The Musical. At the time the movie meant very little to me. A year or two later, South Park exploded.
I will never remember how I found out that Cannibal the Musical was from the people behind South Park. I’m going to assume IMDb but I honestly don’t know. As soon as I found that out, I made it my goal to see the movie. It became increasingly difficult to find. Then in the summer of 2004 I was at the mall and saw a copy of it at the Suncoast video. It was $25... pretty over-priced... but I didn’t care, I finally had it in my hand. I bought immediately and called my friends to come over.
We loved Cannibal the Musical so much we rewatched it the next night with the commentary track. Rarely would I suggest listening to a commentary track with a group of people, but Cannibal is the huge exception, but we’ll get to that later.
More than any film Cannibal The Musical truly reopened my love of Troma. It lead to me purchasing Toxic Avenger and few months later when I got netflix, Netflixing any film of theirs that was made available. The first film I ever received through netflix was Tromeo and Juliet. Cannibal the Musical became a film we watched at every party freshmen year of college, it completely ruled my life for a solid two years.
Last year I had the honor of meeting cast member and DP Robert Muratore. We didn’t talk too much about Cannibal, but I did tell him how much that movie meant to me. He recently produced and shot an incredible documentary called The People Vs. George Lucas. It’s an incredible documentary that any star wars fan should see, but despite how well made that documentary is, I’ll always love him for Cannibal the Musical.
So what is Cannibal the Musical? It started out as a student film by University of Colorado student Trey Parker titled Alfred Packer the Musical. It told the story of Alfred Packer the first man ever put on trial for cannibalism.
In 1883 Alfred Packer (Trey Parker) sits on trial for cannibalism. The film is told in flashbacks as he tells his story to journalist Polly Pry. Ten years earlier he was selected t lead a group of miners into Colorado Territory for gold. The group end up horribly lost and are forced to resort to cannibalism to survive the fierce winter. I don’t want to give away much else or you might miss out on some of the best jokes, but while all this is going on... they are constantly bringing into musical numbers.
In the book Everything I Never Needed To Know About Filmmaking I learned from the Toxic Avenger Trey writes the prologue telling how they sold the script to Troma. It was a fun story of him and Matt living in an apartment and meeting Lloyd at a Del Taco.
Cannibal the Musical’s blend of absurdist comedy, anarchic filmmaking and genuinely fun musical numbers leads to a blast. It’s definitely a must-see horror/comedy that has more one-liners than a Mel Brooks film (okay that parts not entirely true... but there’s still some good shit here). However the commentary track is the biggest reason to buy the DVD.
For the commentary track they got almost all of the cast together in a room ten years later to watch the film and get drunk. The first half of the commentary track they’re just mocking how shitty the movie is, you start to see mistakes you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. They also talk about how authentic they tried to make the movie (filming in the actual locations that the events took place) which are interesting. Then suddenly mid movie you realize...these guys are FUCKED UP. They start yelling at each other and getting bored with the movie. The commentary turns into Trey Parker drunkenly belittling his college girlfriend and demanding that they shut off the movie and go to a “titty bar”.
So to quote the DVD, if you’re interested in a movie that combines the fun of Oklahama with the blood splatter of Friday the 13th Part 2 then purchase Cannibal the Musical.
When he's not singing about eating people like he's still 18 Matt is Tweeting, hosting his podcast the Saint Mort Show and Writing for Geekscape.net (Read his Guilty Pleasure on 17 Again and his list of the 5 things we want in the next Muppet Movie)
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