Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Cut & Run (1985)
In 1985, Ruggero Deodato decided against fan and studio wishes to direct a sequel to his most famous work “Cannibal Holocaust” and instead made “Inferno in Diretta” - English translation being Cut & Run. The film is somewhat of a semi-sequel, but more an action adventure than a straight up gorefest. The blood splattering killings and extremely violent moments are down to a minimum when compared with Cannibal Holocaust, but are still nonetheless shocking when these scenes do arrive onscreen. Finally, presented on the long awaited DVD, is the full uncut version of the movie with scenes added in - with some getting the original dubbed Italian treatment. You see, Deodato filmed it in direct-sound English (rare at that time) due to the majority of the cast being American actors, and a finely selected bunch at that one must say.
The plot revolves around a journalist (Lisa Blount) and her trusty cameraman (Leonard Mann) venturing into the jungle on assignment whilst also searching for the missing son of a wealthy TV producer (you couldn’t miss the guy though, in his retarded Mickey Mouse shirt!). The film opens with a drug lab amongst Amazonian marshland coming under attack from a tribe of savages led by Quecho (the always creepy looking Michael Berryman). It’s one of Berryman’s best roles even though he doesn’t have a single line, apart from the occasional whistle. He’s a sort of assassin that lurks beneath the water, leaping out on his unsuspecting victims. The movie does not fuck around at all in these opening scenes, especially with Berryman’s entrance, which is backed by a heart attack inducing sound effect! The savages then proceed to kill everyone, rape the women and let Quecho cut off their heads, it’s all truly grisly business. From here though, it’s quite hard to piece together what is going on and only later do things start to come together forming some semblance of a real plot. It seems that a colonel by the name of Brian Horne (played by Richard Lynch) is systematically destroying the drug trade in South America without explanation – also a crime scene photo pictures him with the TV producer’s son, Tommy (Willie Aames) that reporters Fran (Blount) and Mark (Mann) are tracking. Fran and Mark plan to find Tommy and to interview Horne, dubbed “El Phantasma”, who is a Vietnam vet presumed dead since 1978.
The pair head to the thick Amazon jungle by plane, arriving during an attack on the camp where Tommy happens to be held as a slave along with a girl named Ana (played by the beautiful Valentina Forte) by a drug runner named Vlado. Their pilot is killed by Quecho’s men and Quecho himself finds time to sneak in shadow and to gut and dismember those unfortunate to be nearby. Fran and Mark take cover and remain awake in fear throughout the night. Tommy meanwhile abandons Ana and flees into the darkness…
The following day the pair enters the camp to find the stench of death hanging menacingly in the air, crows pecking away at mutilated remains and decide to broadcast their findings back to the studio in the States. They also discover a distressed Ana who had been hiding in a locker and she tags along. Now, I don’t want to give anymore away because this film is more than a decent night’s viewing and it would totally spoil many of the surprises further along. There is one gruesome scene in particular; involving Vlado (John Steiner) that had me off guard, made me wince and it’s seriously fucking, harrowingly brutal! So, the trio do eventually find Tommy, who himself is very shaken up by events (dead girls, other mangled bodies, snakes, crocs…you know) but are then caught by Horne and Quecho.
The final scenes of the film are pretty much a vehicle for Richard Lynch to prove his salt as an actor in my eyes. He steals the whole damn show, again with very little screen time or dialogue. I find him to be criminally underrated as a performer and completely hypnotic in every role he has had. He goes on to reveal his reasons behind the attacks and the drug involvement, but is quite cryptic and here is where the film seems to take pages straight out of Apocalypse Now! Plus, the conclusion – even though the movie ends on a lighter note - you will not see coming at all, believe me!
I thought Cut & Run was great by the finish, really worth a watch whether you lust for horror or yearn for action and it was all beautifully shot (I’ve never seen such green foliage and such blue skies!), gorgeous locations and interesting camerawork. Claudio Simonetti's score is impossible not to mention, as it works extremely well throughout the film. It’s a really cool score, very 80s and constantly jumpy, pulsating and always interesting. My only major criticism of Cut & Run is with most of the early plotting and character introduction – Whilst the film seems to drag at times, it will quickly jump to a new scene with no real conclusion to the previous one. Richard Lynch and Michael Berryman also could have done with more camera time, but this still comes out solid and satisfying…
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