November 15, 2015 at 6:48 pm (1 Head, Primitives) (, , , , , )

Primitives – 1980 – Indonesia

“This is a true adventure filmed on location in the jungle where the events portrayed actually took place.” Thus opens Primitives, as Kraftwerk’s “We Are the Robots” inexplicably plays on the soundtrack. In a plot similar to Cannibal Holocaust (1980), three anthropology students trek through the Indonesian jungle to find a lost “cannibal” tribe. They are harassed by poisonous flora and predatory fauna, and are captured by grunting, screaming natives. The natives imprison, abuse, and sexually molest the students until they eventually escape.

Primitives (a.k.a. Savage Terror) is a tasteless and repulsive collection of events. A doctor heals a woman by licking her weeping sores. Gory stock footage depicts an alligator mauling a leopard. As punishment for rape, a man’s genitals are smashed with a rock. The students are stripped naked and ridden like horses. A komodo dragon is skinned and gutted alive. A woman births a baby and then licks him clean of blood and afterbirth. Children urinate on caged prisoners. And there is plenty of graphic vomiting. Through all these scenes, the handheld camera whirls and sways, enhancing their nauseating effect.

When Primitives is not disgusting, it is pretty boring. The students stagger about in a stupor of hunger and exhaustion, and interact with stock footage of jungle creatures. The natives grunt and scream constantly, which is quite annoying. Amazingly, for a film as gross and exploitative as this, only two people are killed.

Rating: 1/10 Shrunken Heads. The DVD box reads, “Deadly traps and human fleas loving natives make this jungle a no fly zone.” What does that even mean?


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