I love how they set up “Cannibal Campout”. Rather than try to pass this really-really-low-budget affair as some kind of “true story”, or even as just a straight movie, they set it up thusly, via a text block in the first few seconds:”What you are about to see is based upon true accounts and conjecture and is a delineation of actual events which transpired at an indeterminate time to persons of less than genuinely equivocal authenticity.”
Basically, for those of you who don’t speak weaselese, anyone they talked to, if they talked to anyone, is lying through their teeth, maybe. Which is of course the only good way to start off this affair, by deliberately making fun of itself and any others who ever try something vaguely similar.
Which is, frankly, a relief when you finally get a handle on the plot. A bunch of lunatics is out living in the woods, largely because they made a promise to their dying mother to never eat junk food again. Then, deciding that pretty much every food is junk food, they decide to settle for human flesh instead. Meanwhile, a bunch of college kids are off to the woods that the lunatics live in to go camping.
You can see what’s coming from miles away. This sucker’s practically festooned with road flares and holding a giant neon sign saying “People Gonna Get EATEN!!”.
You’ve got to hand it to Jon McBride. This is exactly, EXACTLY, the kind of movie that was big back in the eighties. It is an excellent representation of what was going on back then–almost like popping open a time capsule. But that’s also a problem. We’ve seen this kind of movie dozens of times before, and all that’s normally wrong with this kind of movie is in full attendance. Unnecessary gore, a plotline that invites casual brutality, cheesy effects–the whole slate is here.
Thankfully, however, they didn’t take themselves too seriously–a move that would have really hurt them. That bit at the beginning set the tone for the rest of the movie very well, and will thus save “Cannibal Campout” from being a complete waste of plastic. All in all, “Cannibal Campout” is long on splatter but short on originality, and will serve as an excellent example of 80s horror fare.