24th Sep2012

‘Grindhouse 1: Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Shannon Tweed, Bill Maher, Adrienne Barbeau, Karen M. Waldron | Written and Directed by J.F. Lawton

The men want their avocados; the evil feminist cannibal piranha women have control of the avocado jungle, what will we do? That’s right; send Shannon Tweed in to save the day.  If you think that’s corny then you will totally understand what Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death is aiming for, all under the guise of being a “Grindhouse Classic”.

The government (the evil MEN) hire a prominent feminist lecturer from a university to venture into the Avocado Jungle (somewhere in California from what I can gather) to mediate with the cannibal women who live there.  Offering a reservation condo complex in Malibu in return of the jungle they hope to placate the feministic women and get to the fruit which is dangerously low in stock.  Hiring an a-typical male chauvinistic pig as their her guide and being assisted by her ditzy student they venture into the jungle to not only find the cannibal women but also find out the whereabouts of a previous explorer into the feminist jungle.

What you have to understand about this film is that it’s very tongue in cheek, Shannon Tweed a feminist and Bill Maher playing a “male chauvinist pig”? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (of either sex) to see the total b-movie comedy nature of this idea.  Yes, if you wanted to be picky you could take up the fact that they are mocking the very nature of feminism in the script but the funny part is it’s a certain type of feminism they are making a joke of.  The female characters (even the “ditzy” one) are actually strong characters who have their own view on how the world works, whether it’s doing the chat show scene or preaching at university about the strength of women as the stronger sex.  It’s not meaning to be offensive; if anything it’s taking an observation on the battle of the sexes and using it for comic effect.  Both the sexist nature of Jim (Bill Maher) and the equally as sexist view of some of the female characters it’s more of a mocking of our society which is in effect the power of self-deprecation, we should know how to take a joke.

For this type of film the acting does not need to be at Oscar level and you won’t find any outstanding performances here.  What you do find though is that Shannon Tweed, Bill Maher, Adrienne Barbeau and Karen M. Waldron as the more important actors in the cast all put in a performance that fits the film.  They ham up the script and put so much cheese in the performance that they should put a warning up for the lactose intolerant.  What J.F. Lawton does as the director and writer of Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death a highly amusing film that may not be perfectly made but fits exactly what it is trying to be, a slightly trashy comedy about feminism, chauvinism and avocados.

I do like the fact that 88 Films are bringing films like this to the UK; it shows that they are looking at not only horror but also a comedy selection that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Who would I recommend this to? People who can take a joke would be a start.  Sexism is something that can be picked up on way too easy nowadays and I’m sure a picky few would look at the humour of this film and say it’s archaic, out of date and derogatory to the female population of the world, but I would hope not.  The fact is that society should be able to take a look at itself and actually be willing to be mocked.  Hell if anything, what this film actually does is slightly mock the feminist viewpoint of some while showing that women are in fact just as strong as men, and men can be complete and total idiots a lot of the time which in fact means that this is a film that celebrates feminism.  Did you buy that defence of this movie? Maybe not, but if you want a trashy, funny film that stars Shannon Tweed in it then this may be for you.  Just remember to bring your sense of humour.

Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death is available now on DVD courtesy of 88 Films.

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