Fresh plucked stewing babies are on the menu in director Dario Germani’s obviously disgusting Anthropophagus II, a sequel in name only to Joe D’Amato’s Anthropophagus (U.S. title The Grim Reaper). The film, written by Lorenzo De Luca, centers around college girls spending the weekend in an abandoned nuclear bomb shelter. Nora (Monica Carpanese) has asked her students — Giulia (Jessica Pizzi), Angela (Giuditta Niccoli), Diletta (Maria D’Ascanio), Betty (Chiara De Cristofaro), Sonia (Shaen Barletta), Cinizia (Valentina Capuano) and Isabel (Alessandra Pellegrino) — to give up their cell phones and remain locked underground for the weekend to study how the group reacts to the isolation.
The shelter had been closed for years by the government because something horrible happened that no one knew much about. After being locked in for the weekend, the girls are hunted one by one by a mysterious figure in the shadows (Alberto Buccolini) who ties his victims to tables and cuts off pieces of them to devour. How did this murderous being get into the shelter? Will any of the girls escape, or is everyone going to be eaten?
“…the girls are hunted one by one by a mysterious figure in the shadows…”
Counterfeit franchises, better known as knock-off sequels, have a long and proud history in Italy. The list of spaghetti westerns that used the name Django in their titles with no relation to the Corbucci classic is endless. Italy had its own rather crappy Alien 2 many years before James Cameron’s beloved sequel, and there were several Italian knock-off sequels for Evil Dead under the La Casa branding, including movies starring Linda Blair and David Hasselhoff. Even Argento’s Deep Red was re-released as Suspiria 2, marking the rare instance where the sequel was made before the original. So one can’t hold Anthropophagus II in too much contempt for having barely anything to do with D’Amato’s cult classic 1980 original.
Hell, even D’Amato’s 1981 Rosso Sangue (U.S. title Monster Hunter) was released in some markets as Anthropophagus II. Dario Germani and Lorenzo De Luca know that a good knock-off sequel will re-deliver the core appeal of the original picture. In the case of the first Anthropophagus, that appeal is when a mutant cannibal pulls a fetus out of a pregnant lady and eats it. Lo and behold, a baby is ripped from a tummy and is consumed within the first three minutes here.
"…a good knock-off sequel will re-deliver the core appeal of the original picture."