(Italy - 1985; US release 1986)
Directed by Ruggero Deodato. Written by Cesare Frugoni and Dardano Sacchetti. Cast: Lisa Blount, Leonard Mann, Willie Aames, Richard Lynch, Richard Bright, Michael Berryman, Karen Black, John Steiner, Valentina Forte, Eriq La Salle, Gabriele Tinti, Barbara Magnolfi, Luca Barbareschi, Penny Brown, Carlos De Carvalho, Edward Farrelly, Ottaviano Dell'Acqua. (Unrated, 91 mins)
Often erroneously lumped in with his controversial cannibal films, CUT AND RUN is a fairly straightforward and infrequently tacky '80s Italian jungle actioner from the infamous Ruggero Deodato. Unlike his JUNGLE HOLOCAUST (1977) and the legendary CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980), CUT AND RUN has absolutely no cannibal gut-munching, so it's surprising that so many people consider it the final chapter of a non-existent Deodato "cannibal trilogy" or some such nonsense. Sure, it takes place in the Amazon and has some savage tribes who engage in shooting poisoned blowdarts, decapitations, and rape, but even it in its uncensored, hard-edged European form that features one poor bastard being split in half up the middle--softer kill scenes and alternate takes were used for the export version handled by New World, which hit US theaters in May 1986--there's nothing here that equals the disturbing savagery seen in any Italian cannibal outing. No flesh-eating. No on-camera animal deaths. It's not a cannibal movie. It's a distant cousin at best.
|1980 Variety ad announcing Wes Craven's never-made MARIMBA
Lynette was so unlikable, duping David Keith's Sid, faking a pregnancy, and ultimately driving him to suicide. On Anchor Bay's 2001 DVD release, Deodato praised Blount as "completely professional," but he got the sense that she "didn't really want to be there." The cast also included small roles for a shrieking Karen Black as a Cable Video News exec; John Steiner as a rival cartel boss and recipient of the truly disgusting "split up the middle" death, which was cut from the US release (he just gets put out of his misery by being shot instead); Gabriele Tinti as a drug-running pilot who gets a particularly gushing decapitation courtesy of Steve (David Warbeck lookalike Edward Farrelly), another Horne henchman; and future ER star Eriq La Salle, of all people, turns up as Vargas, a Huggy Bear-like Miami pimp and informant who keeps Fran in the loop about what's going on in the cartel. Of his stars, Deodato had the most trouble with two American actors. Bright (best known as Michael Corleone's chief enforcer Al Neri in the GODFATHER trilogy) was drinking heavily but, according to the director, got his act together after being kicked off the set for a day and set straight by an intervening Karen Black. EIGHT IS ENOUGH's Aames had just started both CHARLES IN CHARGE and a serious cocaine addiction around the time CUT AND RUN was made. By his own admission in his later memoir, Aames was on a massive coke binge during the entire shoot and, as required in such circumstances, destroyed a hotel room. He would eventually get clean and become a born-again Christian, producing and starring in the inspirational kids video series BIBLEMAN. Aames now works as a celebrity cruise ship director for Oceania Cruises, and other than a pair of EIGHT IS ENOUGH reunion movies in the late '80s, has acted very sparingly, most recently appearing in a couple of Hallmark Channel original movies.
European and American versions, with several scenes completely reshot for the softer US version or, in the case of Steiner's death scene, drastically edited to make it appear that he dies a different way (the same with Tinti's decapitation after getting shot with a poisoned dart; the US cut just shows him getting shot with the dart). The decline in quality of some of the footage is noticeable, with Steiner's big scene looking like a subpar bootleg.
score by Goblin's Claudio Simonetti, and has the kind of bizarre cast (Lisa Blount, Willie Aames, and Eriq La Salle in a Ruggero Deodato movie?) that makes it a must-see for followers of strange cinema. Deodato and Fracassi reteamed for the 1986 slasher BODY COUNT, which was never officially released in the US, and Fracassi continued to sporadically work in the Italian and Romanian film industry. Fracassi now makes his living in the financial industry, his last major credit being a co-producer of the 2006 Donald Sutherland-Sissy Spacek horror film AN AMERICAN HAUNTING.
|CUT AND RUN and the Dario Argento-produced DEMONS
opening in Toledo, OH on May 30, 1986
|Visual proof of a Ruggero Deodato movie opening
at three Toledo malls in the summer of 1986.