From Jesus Franco, sleazy horror icon and dubiously talented nutcase, the man who brought you Diamonds of Kilimandjaro (which used some of the same cast, including Aline Mess as a perpetually topless cannibal priestess), comes Devil Hunter, a film that manages to tap into race exploitation, sex exploitation, cannibal exploitation and shock exploitation. If only it exploited intelligence, production value, or a cohesive plot, we might’ve had something.
As with many of these types of films, Devil Hunter plays on the white-damsel-in-distress-in-the-midst-of-native-savages formula (King Kong anyone?), although the damsel here is as much in danger from the white kidnappers who take her to the jungle and have their way with her as she is from the black natives. Typical of Franco films, the pace is excruciatingly slow, with long, drawn-out scenes of nothing punctuated by long, drawn-out scenes of semi-depravity — although frankly, I’ve seen more depraved.
For all of its seemingly over-the-top perversity (one of its alternative titles is Mandingo Manhunter, for God’s sake), Devil Hunter is pretty tame compared to other then-contemporary cannibal exploitation fare. In the only scene of cannibalism, the native just rubs his marinara sauce-smeared teeth on the victim, while nudity-wise, the version I saw pixelized everything below the waist.
I give a smidgen of credit to Franco for trying to throw in some supernatural elements beyond mere cannibalism — there’s some sort of bug-eyed, uber-cannibal monster-type guy (not unlike the zombies in I Eat Your Skin) running around — but in this director’s hands, pretty much all he does is run around with his schlong blurred out. More frightening is the fact that white extras end up filling in for some of the native roles. Tribal CPAs perhaps?