Update #5, Dueling Anthropophagous 2k Scans

And we have another new, restored blu-ray release from 88 Films, this time it's Joe D'Amato's most successful horror flick, spelled here as Anthropophagous. I also have this on DVD, where it's spelled Antropophagus, but the most common spelling seems to meet those two in the middle with Anthropophagus. However the heck you're supposed to spell it, the word apparently means cannibal, which is certainly fitting for this nutty film.

Update 8/6/15 -  8/26/17: And we're back, with an all new Remastered Special Edition blu-ray release of Anthropophagus from 88 Films.  Wait a minute, didn't we just say 88 Films had come out with a blu-ray restoration in 2015?  Yup, but they felt they could do better, so as the final entry in their second indiegogo campaign (which also included the sequel to Anthropophagus, Absurd) we have a new version in 2017 with a fresh 2k scan, "extensive colour correction," new special features and some other improvements.

Update 8/21/19: And we're back again, this time with a US blu-ray from Severin.  It has a different 2k scan, alternate color timing and all new special features.
But this isn't your typical Italian "cannibal film" about a native jungle tribe... This is actually set in a very interesting little Greek island town. A couple of young tourists, including Tisa Farrow, sail over for a short vacation, only to find the entire town abandoned. Eventually they do find one or two inhabitants, or more accurately survivors, who seem to have gone a bit funny since of their locals, George Eastman, has turned into a completely insane and even somewhat monstrous killer. The film can be a bit flat and plodding, with a lot of these bland vacationers wandering around empty locations, but Eastman's character has a perfect, memorably horrible look. And when the film finally does come around to its shock sequences, they're rather effective and a couple are particularly over the top, giving this film a nice touch of infamy. It's one of those movies where people who've seen it probably won't remember it too well, but they'll be like, "was this the film where ____ happened?" And oh yes, it's that movie. Those few moments are certainly etched into the memories of everyone who's seen it and they're really what everybody who's interested in this release are here for. And at least there's some interesting scenery during all that time in between.
Now, a lot of people were naturally comparing it to Shriek Show's previous release of the film; but that's not the one I went with back in the day. I used to have an old German DVD from Astro that was taken from a VHS source, but when I upgraded from that, instead of picking up Shriek Show's cropped 1.78:1 DVD, I imported the Italian DVD from Beat Records. It's a two disc set with some extras, which I'll get into, and kept the film more open at 1.66:1. It's debatable which of the two DVDs is better, but the real question these days is how the modern blus rate against the older DVD - how much ground did we gain?  And then, of course, how do the blus stack against each other?  Because, at this point, we've had three BD generations in short succession: 88 Films' initial 2015 blu, their 2017 crowd-sourced remaster and Severin's 2018 US edition, each with all new transfers and features.
1) 2005 Beat Records DVD; 2) 2015 88 Films BD;
3) 2017 88 Films BD 4) 2018 Severin BD.
So 88 and Severin have both kept the more open, 1.66:1 ratio (or, to be more accurate, the DVD is 1.66 and all three blus are 1.67), leaving all four discs slightly pillar-boxed. Despite having the same ratio, however, we see the framing is slightly shifted on each version, with tiny, and differing, slivers of extra picture on the blu-rays. The colors are kind of flat plus a bit brown on the DVD and green, on the 2015 blu. 88's new color correction really paid off, definitely making this the best the film had ever looked up to that time, with nice shadows and natural, more vivid colors.  But then Severin came along and decided to take their own pass at it, and... I think it's even better?

The improvements are more objective leading up to the 2017 blu, and the differences between the two latest are more subjective.  The colors are flatter on the older discs, and both the 2017 and 2018 releases have had quality color correction jobs.  To my eye, Severin's seems more natural and more aesthetically pleasing, though you could definitely pick different favorites shot to shot.  In the two sets of shots highlighted here, I think 88's looks like it has too much of a purplish hue, and that Severin pulls a lot more dynamism out of the second shot.  But we're really getting into the realm of guessing what the filmmakers' intentions were.  Is that second shot supposed to be a darker, creepier shot?  Yeah, we can make out faces better in Severin's pass, but 88's makes it look more like a scary, nighttime shot.  And at this stage in the film, it's a stormy night where the power's gone out and people are wandering around in fear as the killer could be lurking around each corner.  88's second blu is also the only where you can see the lightbulb in the electric lantern... in every other shot, the brights are too flared out.  So I'd say Severin's screenshot looks better in a vacuum of context, but 88's is telling the story better.  But I still don't think the boat shot should be so purple.  The point is: we're getting into very subjective judgment calls here.
1) 2005 Beat Records DVD; 2) 2015 88 Films BD;
3) 2017 88 Films BD 4) 2018 Severin BD.
And there's still not a wealth of additional detail in any of these blus. After all, this is a fairly low budget 16mm film.  It might strike viewers as a little underwhelming. But getting in close, we see maybe not new information, but even the 2015 blu isn't nearly so splotchy and messy as the grungy DVD. It's definitely a crisper, cleaner image.  However the 2015 grain looks weird, somehow smoothed down yet digital.  This is definitely not the case on the newer 2017 and 2018 blus, which have very natural and distinct film grain.  I feel like maybe the people doing the 2015 master were worried about how grainy the film is and tried to fidget with the settings to tone it down.  Both the new blus are 2k scans of the original 16mm negative and are properly film-like.  This does allow small details to pull through a little more, or at least clarifies what was already there on the previous versions.
2015 blu left; 2017 blu right.
All three blus have both the original mono English audio and the Italian mono audio with optional English subs. Unlike Zombie Holocaust, that's not so new - both Shriek Show and Beat Records' DVDs already had both options. But it's still the best way to present the film. I should note that the opening scene with the German tourists is not subtitled or dubbed into English on 88's 2015 blu. Beat's DVD subtitles the second half of the scene, after they sit down on the rocks, but not the first half as they walk down the beach. But thankfully, the 2017 and 2018 blus subtitle the whole thing. Yay! In fact, as you can see in the differences between the two shots above, 88 has gone through and re-translated all the English subtitles for this new version to be more accurate. And, they've also thrown in dubtitles to match the English audio, for anyone who wants to read along to the English dub.  And Severin?  They've got the same pair of retranslated subs and dubtitles as 88's 2017 blu.
Now, labels have always had a hard time coming up with extras for Anthropophagus. Shriek Show just had an interview with Eastman and a general featurette on D'Amato's career, and that's pretty much the best anyone's until very recently. The DVD I've got comes close to tying them, however. It has its own Eastman interview, which is pretty fun; and a 12 minute D'Amato featurette, including a brief on-set interview where he's working on a film called The Monk. And since Beat Records is also a record label, there's a feature called "Best Of," which is a collection of music tracks from D'Amato soundtracks. Those are the main things, though there's also a useless photo gallery which just consists of stills from the film, but framed in a small, distorted "TV screen" image making the whole endeavor completely pointless, a text-only filmography and trivia, and the trailer. Oh, and it has a nice double insert with some cool poster images.
42nd St. Memories
And 88? Well, I think this is another one of the reasons they've gotten flack for the 2015 disc. There are practically no extras directly pertaining to the film at hand. There is, however, one big extra, which is pretty cool... it's just not related to Anthropophagus. It's called 42nd Street: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Block. They don't even mention Anthropophagus as one of the countless films that potentially played on 42nd St. It's also not a topic I was particularly keen on, but it is a feature length film that interviews a heck of a lot of interesting people, including: William Lustig, Joe Dante, Lloyd Kaufman, Roy Frumkes, Frank Henenlotter. Lynn Lowry, Larry Cohen and a bunch more. I would've preferred to hear these guys talk about their films than the street, but it's still worth the watch. Besides that, there's just a couple trailers (including a bonus trailer for Zombie Holocaust, which is unskippable at start-up), an alternate set of opening credits in Italian, four neat little postcards with different poster art, some cool reversible art, and a sweet slipcover.
old content left; new content right.
So what does the Special Edition add to the proceedings?  Well, first and foremost is a brand new interview with George Eastman.  And I have to admit, after Beyond the Darkness and Absurd sharing the same George Eastman (and Michelle Soavi) interview across both discs, I was worried we'd be getting the same thing a third time.  But happily, no, this is an all new interview... or partially new, anyway.  The interview for Absurd was just under 15 minutes long, and this new one is over half an hour long, of two different interviews (he's shot from different angles and wearing different shirts, so it's obvious) intercut together.  One of those two is new, and the other is the old one, and the editing jumps back and forth between the two.  So basically, we get an all new one inter-spliced with with older content, though the older interview is the only one where he talks about Anthropophagus (as opposed to D'Amato, Laura Gemser and other films), so you can see why they incorporated it.
the deleted scene
Next up is an interview with film historian Alessio di Rocco.  A drier, academic look at Anthropophagus?  No, this is actually a very short (three minutes) set-up of the subsequent extra they have on here, a "never before seen deleted scene."  So Alessi sets up why it was shot and why it's not in the final film, and then the scene itself is quick but pretty cool.  It's not in the same quality as the rest of the film (see the shot above), but also in 1.66, Italian with optional English subtitles.  Then you get the alternate Italian opening and closing credits and a collection of trailers showcasing this film's multiple titles.  This 2017 version also has reversible artwork and a very nice, felt-like slipcover.
But in 2018, Anthropophagus finally got what I'd consider a worthy special edition.  Yeah, the 2017 remaster was called a "Special Edition," and it was a fair way to distinguish it from the 2015 BD, but I'm not sure it really has enough extras to justify that title.  Severin's does.  First of all, yes, there's another new interview with George Eastman, because you've got to have that.  And this might be the best of all of them, because it's focused and charming.  But now, finally, we've got proper interviews with other cast and crew members about this film.  We talk to actors Saverio Vallone and Zora Kerova, editor Bruno Micheli and effects artist Pietro Tenoglio. We also get three trailers and reversible artwork.  What's more, you could've ordered their "maneater" bundle, which included a slipcover, t-shirt, two pins and a Grim Reaper plush doll with "pull out entrails!"

The only disappointment is they didn't include the deleted scene.  I mean, the alternate credits and the Shriek Show piece on D'Amato would've been nice, too.  But the deleted scene feels particularly conspicuous in its absence.
So, the two newer blus are a real improvement on everything we've had before in pretty much every department.  Some of us were definitely questioning why 88 chose to remaster a title they'd just recently released as opposed to one of so many titles still needing a release, but the results speak for themselves.  Between the 2017 and 2018 blus, it's a closer call.  It will depend on factors like how much you care about extras, and how much of a hassle you find importing.  Just about every release of this film has something unique going for it, though, including the DVD featurettes and the 42nd St. doc, which to be clear is not on the 2017 release (you can also find it on the Grindhouse blu-ray release of Pieces, though).  So this is one of those films die-hard collectors could be going nuts on.  But if you're just in the market for a single version, it's easily between the 2017 and 2018 editions.  Personally, I'd go with Severin's, but a strong case could be made for either, so follow your pull-out entrails... I mean "gut."


  1. Could you please let us know if these discs are region free in your reviews???? Thanks!

    1. Yeah, region coding is such a pain, I usually try not to even think about it. haha Region free and no looking back. But since you asked on this post, I can tell you 88's Anthropophagus blu is region B.

    2. You should add a "handy little guide to getting yourself a region-free blu ray player" section to this site.

    3. Ha! That's actually a good idea. I think I will add something like that...

  2. The new blu is region free. The first blu was B.

  3. Thanks for the great arm pit shot of 42nd street Pete.

  4. You have an absolutely wonderful site here.