Holy shit! This is the book you need to be getting hold of right now!
Cannibal Metropolis states in its synopsis that it is influenced heavily, and indeed intends to be a spiritual successor to the cult phenomena of ‘Cannibal Holocaust’. That movie needs no introduction, and most weekend horror fans will be aware of its notoriety for being one of the most graphically violent movies ever made. More seasoned fans know that there was much more to that piece of cinema history, and however shockingly might seem there is no denying the social commentary which underpins the whole movie continues to be relevant.
It’s a movie which still has the ability to shock even today which is saying something.
Since its release, and despite many piss poor efforts to top-it, nothing cannibal related has even come close. There was a little glimmer of hope when Ruggero Deodato stated he was writing a sequel called ‘Cannibals’, but sadly the project was binned before it even started filming.
Enter British author Saurav Dutt with his unofficial continuation of the story of ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ in ‘Cannibal Metropolis’.
The plot begins with the horrific sexual assault on a young traveller. With her boyfriend becoming the main course for the cannibal tribe, she is allowed to survive and returns to her senator father back in the US. Outraged, the story of his daughter’s trauma only serves to justify his xenophobic policies and he uses his position in government to enact the ultimate revenge on the indigenous peoples. He launches a full scale biochemical attack on the tribe’s village with eradication being the objective. How effective is his weapon? What better way of testing it. Naturally, things don’t quite go to plan and although the village is destroyed there are some odd side effects which begin to afflict the returning soldiers. Before long the government has a new weapon, and one more deadly that the first. Exposure to the bio-weapon mutates those exposed into fierce cannibal/zombie types with the added bonus that they retain all the soldiering skills they had in their human life!
From there its pure carnage, and interwoven to give us a well-deserved break from the limb ripping and rectum impaling, is a story which spans themes from government corruption, xenophobia and social unrest. The characters are all likable – well those you are supposed to like anyhow – and easy to relate to. I really enjoyed seeing how their individual stories ultimately became entwined in one hell of a gore drenched finale.
My experience with books aimed at the ‘gore’ genre have been mixed to say the least. Something so visual is difficult to describe without sounding infantile, and when you consider the plots of most gore movies would barely fill a page, writing a whole book on it is no mean feat. The story that Dutt weaves is nothing heavily cerebral but it moves with such a pace that I couldn’t stop reading. The story manages keep you on the edge of your seat owing to cleverly placed cliff hangers and chapter ends which sees characters left in mortal danger in almost every case – and of course you want to know what happens to them.
My main enthusiasm for this book, however, comes from the sheer levels of shocking violence contained within. This book is really really gory. Dutt’s descriptions leave absolutely nothing out and throughout the stories obscenely high body count pretty much every unspeakable act possible is conducted. The descriptions are graphic, and whilst there are the expected homages to the show stopping sequences in ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ (I particularly appreciated the rendition of the ‘missing’ piranha scene) and a number of other genre movies, Dutt includes a number of his own which pack as much of a punch putting this book up there with the best of them. The violence is exhilarating! It’s not that I’m mentally damaged in anyway, it’s just that there is something far more special about the iconic movies which have persisted in the hearts and minds of cult movie fans, and it’s a difficult ingredient to quantify. What-ever it is ‘Cannibal Metropolis’ emanates from every page. This book is simply a love letter to the genre, and written in such a way that not only does it do all of my favourite movies justice, I cannot recommend this book highly enough for fans of the genre.
Overall my opinions of ‘Cannibal Metropolis’ must be clear by now. If you are a fan of gore, cannibals or simply want a book which goes beyond what any film ever dare then this is it. 5 out of 5.