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Cannibal Girls (1973)

This Canadian-produced horror spoof by future SCTV stars starts when a young couple, Clifford (Eugene Levy) and his girlfriend Gloria (Andrea Martin,) experience car trouble and are stranded in the creepy town of Farnhamville.

Mrs Wainwright (May Jarvis) checks them into her motel, giving them the colourful background of the town, especially the legend of three beautiful girls who were supposed to have lived nearby and had a habit of seducing strange men who came into the town and then later eating them.

Eating human flesh and drinking blood is apparently what keeps them young forever.

While she is telling the story, we see the three girls; blonde Anthea (Randall Carpenter), redhead Clarissa (Bonnie Neilson) and brunette Leona (Mira Pawluk).

Each girl seduces a young man and takes him to the nearby farmhouse they share where they brutally murder them Bunker, their grotesque servant, carry the fresh “meat” to the storage room.

After Cliff and Gloria settle into their room, Gloria falls asleep in the middle of their love-making so Cliff goes out to check on the repair of their car. Later, Mrs Wainwright shows them the way to a famous restaurant in town which is supposedly in the old farmhouse where the legendary sisters once lived.

The young couple find they are the only customers at the restaurant, and their host is a strange, frightening man called Reverend Alex St Johns (Ronald Ulrich).

The Reverend convinces Clifford and Gloria to spend the night in the house since an escaped maniac is supposedly on the loose and they would be forced to walk back to the motel through the dark woods.

They are awakened in the middle of the night to find the Reverend and his three beautiful assistants Anthea, Clarissa and Leona standing over them. Cliff is handcuffed to the bed and Gloria is almost hypnotised into killing him but escape and runs through the snow to the road.

She is picked up the town doctor who gives her a sedative.

When Gloria wakes she is dressed in the same clothes she was wearing when she slept in the afternoon and Cliff tells her that nothing happened and that it was all a dream.

She isn’t convinced and wants to go home, but Cliff strangely refuses to take her. There are no buses for another day and she is unable to make a telephone call, so Gloria stays in Farnhamville with Cliff for another day.

Meanwhile, a young man is in town asking questions about his missing sister. The man is murdered and the Sheriff (Bob McHeady) tells the killers to be sure to send the body to his wife, saying, “she’ll know what to do with it.”

That night the sheriff picks up Clifford and Gloria for loitering, before driving them to the restaurant of Gloria’s “dream”. The Reverend and the girls welcome them and Gloria realises Cliff has arranged to sacrifice her to save himself.

Overcome with fury, Gloria picks up an ancient mace and swings it, killing Cliff instantly.

The Reverend and the girls join hands and recite their ritualistic chant; “Within me and without me, I honour the blood which gives me life.”

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The Sheriff and his family are seen feasting around his table before the scene changes to the old house. The Reverend, Anthea, Clarissa and Leona – and now Gloria – are seated around an elegant table tearing into chunks of meat on the table.

Gloria looks at Cliff’s head on a platter in the centre of the table and smiles, digging in with the rest.

The final scene shows Mrs Wainwright welcoming another young couple to her motel and telling them the legend of the *four* cannibal girls.

American International Pictures didn’t really know what to do with Cannibal Girls, so they edited in a sporadic bell sound to warn the viewers of all the shock scenes and distributed the film with the tagline, “The picture with the warning bell! When it rings – close your eyes if you’re squeamish!”.

The sets are cheap, the film quality is cheap, the story is inane, and most of the actors remain unknown even to this day.

But there are worse ways to spend 84 minutes.

Clifford Sturges
Eugene Levy
Gloria Wellaby
Andrea Martin
Reverend Alex St. John
Ronald Ulrich
Anthea
Randall Carpenter
Clarissa
Bonnie Neilson
Leona
Mira Pawluk
Sheriff
Bob McHeady
1st Victim
Alan Gordon
2nd Victim
Allan Price
3rd Victim
Earl Pomerantz
Mrs Wainwright
May Jarvis

Director
Ivan Reitman

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