Nov 172005
 
Authors: Brandon Lowrey

"Cannibal: the Musical (1996)"

Director: Trey Parker

Rating: 2 Rams on a scale of -5 to 5

Men like to ride what they love. It's a natural urge.

Indeed, a man's love is a strange animal, and so is a horse. So it's natural for a man to love a horse and want to ride her, right?

When it's all broken down, South Park co-creator Trey Parker's "Cannibal: the Musical" is a story that explores this love – a guiding element that sweetens the taste of the bloody hunks of human flesh spattering the storyline.

This straight-to-video movie was released by the infamous Troma Entertainment, the D-minus student of the independent film industry. The flick boasts mediocre singing and surprisingly witty lyrics by the Academy Award-nominated songwriter Parker, along with a cheesy synthesized orchestra to back it all up.

And yes, it really is a musical. Complete with clumsy, cliche-riddled dance numbers.

The song-laden tale follows the innocent and simple Alfred Packer, played by Parker, a Colorado legend – the only person ever convicted of cannibalism in the United States – right here in the Rockies.

The bulk of the movie takes the form of a series of flashbacks linked together by Packer's trial and a conversation with a conniving newspaper reporter during his brief stay on death row. Packer explains that he got dragged over his head into an adventure through the Rocky Mountains, guiding a small mining party through the treacherous terrain during the winter.

The misfits trust Packer to lead them from Utah to the gold-rich town of Breckenridge, Colo. The group members, played by a host of unknowns aside from Parker's "South Park" comrade Matt Stone and "BASEketball" co-star Dian Bachar, learn quickly that they made a mistake.

Packer leads the party eastward, kind of, until his beloved horse goes missing. He then drags the group along the horse's tracks. He keeps his love for his horse secret from his fellow group members; they wouldn't understand. He just wants to keep riding her, if you know what I mean. It makes him feel like a man.

Actually, I don't even know what I mean. That's part of this movie's beauty. It's never really revealed how, dot-dot-dot, "intense," dot-dot-dot, his relationship with the animal is.

But anyway, without giving too much away, the party encounters an unruly gang of trappers, a really disgusting Cyclops and some suspiciously Japanese "injuns" before the grim, last supper. And, when everyone is frostbitten, starved and fatigued in the middle of the wilderness and it seems all hope is lost, the film delivers one of its cheerful musical money shots: "Let's Build a Snowman."

And then there's the longest and most violent death scene I've ever seen.

The movie, like its music, is inarguably off-key. But one could argue it's kind of like a history lesson. Kind of. But not really.

But at least you could talk about that really, uhm, different movie that no one else has seen.

Moral of the Story: Love your horse – like a sister

Ideal Audience: Guys and sick chicks

Availability: Buffalo Video & DVD, 2721 S. College Avenue, carries the flick. Blockbuster does not.

Brandon Lowrey, a junior technical journalism major, is the regional editor for the Collegian. Recommended obscure movies for future reviews may be e-mailed to brandon.lowrey@colostate.edu.

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