Monday, October 15, 2018

"If I'm Not Mistaken, They Want to Hurt Us" - Adam and Eve Meet the Cannibals (1983)

At Senseless Cinema, we rarely look at historical films, but this oversight will be rectified as we travel all the way back to the beginning of humanity to see the true story of Adam and Eve Meet the Cannibals (1983), also known as Adam and Eve, Blue Paradise, and Adam and Eve: The First Love Story.

Not everyone in your universe understands the relevance or the sumptuous dramatic qualities of this film. Reviewer leofwine_draca writes, "ADAM AND EVE MEET THE CANNIBALS is undoubtedly the weirdest Bible story you'll ever memorably bad film." Reviewer Michael_Elliott writes, "we've got some really lame performances and the dubbing is pretty bad as well but there's really not too much dialogue." Reviewer BA_Harrison writes, "Obviously, this is far from great cinema, and not really deserving of a very high rating."

Not really deserving of a very high rating? Please read on to see why this Italian historical epic is indeed really deserving of a very high rating...

The film begins with shots of colorful star fields and nebulae as the planet Earth is created from the dust of the universe. Suddenly, there is a black and white nuclear explosion, which of course results in lava flows. Finally, a light rain hardens the earth and a forest grows.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth,” recounts a narrator as the dirt begins to tremble a la the beginning of a zombie uprising.

But it is not a zombie emerging. The narrator continues, “And then God created Man.” Adam emerges from a fleshy sac akin to a cocoon, or the external amniotic sac from The Brood (1979).

Adam enjoys strolling through an Astroturf forest and playing with friendly lions and leopards.

Coming across a beach, Adam makes a sand sculpture of a woman and lies next to it.

When the omnipresent lightning strikes and the rains come, the sand washes away, only to reveal Eve underneath, a living woman, while the following song plays:

“You...came into my life.
Slowly, there you were.
Just waiting for me.
Yes you were.
Yes you were.
You...taught me how to love.
Taught me how to care.
So tenderly, yesterday.
My first love, always and forever,
You and me...”

The song lasts approximately ten minutes and of course is accompanied by full frontal nudity as the first humans frolic on a sandy beach whose trails of footprints imply that Adam has been traversing the sand back and forth for a period of days.

Fortunately, Eve is born knowing how to speak, and, conveniently, knowing Adam’s name. (Also conveniently, she is born wearing tasteful makeup.) She is enchanted by his way with animals, and Astroturf.

Of course, frolicking cannot last forever. Eve discovers an apple tree and a snake invites her to taste the fruit.

“No,” Adam tells her. “It’s forbidden.” He gives her another fruit to eat.

“The apple is better,” the snake says. “That’s why it is forbidden.”

“Don’t listen to him,” Adam says dismissively.

The next morning, Eve awakens early to watch two lions mating. She studies their actions closely.

Instead of putting her newfound knowledge to use, she returns to the apple tree. She picks an apple while arguing with Adam. “It’s only an apple,” she says, taking a bite. He takes a bite as well, and the two of them have sex, accompanied by sinister music and dark clouds.

Sex is such an evil thing that hurricane-force winds (along with stock footage from Gilligan’s Island) attempt to blow Adam and Eve apart. Volcanoes explode. In a spectacular sequence, a stop-motion boulder rolls down a lava tube and chases Adam and Eve into an underground lake.

They escape the cave with the lake and wander through the outside world, which is full of volcanic rocks and deserts. “The sun’s cold,” Adam says, blaming Eve for everything. “Because of you, it’ll never get hot again.”

The outside world is also plagued by a furry pterodactyl that attacks Adam and Eve when they eat one of its eggs.

Fortunately, they are able to kill the beast, open its abdomen with their bare hands, and eat its entrails. Adam reasons it must be safe because, “The animals eat dead things.” Eve is even able to fashion a kicky bikini out of its leathery wings.

Adam and Eve then encounter primitive humans, though Adam fails to believe it. “There’s only us here,” he reasons, but he is soon proven incorrect when the cavemen surround them. “If I’m not mistaken, they want to hurt us,” Adam says.

Adam is correct. The cavemen subdue Adam and Eve and carry them back to their cliff dwelling.

The cavemen are quickly chased away by stock footage of a tiger in a jungle. They see, however, that Adam and Eve are not afraid of the tiger, so the cavemen are suddenly afraid of Adam and Eve. Thus ends the encounter with the cavemen; Adam and Eve start walking through the wilderness again, searching for the sea. Along the way, Adam tells Eve that he is the leader of the humans because she led him astray by offering him an apple.

After a marital spat separates the two, Eve is captured by a tribe of humans. “Put me down, you brute,” she says when her abductor carries her into the village. After tying her up and putting her in a hole, he offers her a dead, unplucked rooster. In the tradition of films with the word “cannibal” in their title, the savage rips open the rooster with his bare hands and feeds her its guts.

The film thus becomes a love triangle between Adam, Eve, and the nameless savage, who makes love to Eve at night—an act that is soon discovered by Adam, who finds them sleeping by a waterfall in the morning. Eve waves to him awkwardly.

Adam is soon attacked by a group of hairy cavemen, though the cavemen are quickly murdered by the savages, who swing at them on vines. The battle is quite brutal, and includes a scene of attempted cannibalism. In the end, the remaining cavemen kidnap Eve and her new boyfriend. Fortunately, Adam rescues the two of them.

Their next obstacle is a bear with the profile of Godzilla.

Eve’s boyfriend uses martial arts to defeat the bear. This act gives him the idea that Eve is his, but Adam says, “Don’t touch her.” Adam and the new boyfriend wrestle in the dirt. Although the new guy almost kills Adam, Eve decides she will stay with Adam. The new guy runs away crying.

Trading in their pterodactyl-leather clothing for bearskin-terry cloth cloaks, Adam and Eve continue their journey to nowhere in particular. “I want to be with you, Adam, but I want to be with other people too,” explains Eve. She has seen a village full of people work together.

After they make love again, and then reach the snowy redwoods, Eve tells Adam she is making a baby.

“A baby? Like the animals?”

“Yes, like the animals.”

“You can’t do that,” Adam says skeptically.

Frustrated, Eve threatens to leave Adam again, though she is so incompetent at hiking she falls down in the snow. Of course, she is so dependent on Adam she continues trekking across the world with him, climbing through a cave and fighting off cave wolves. On the other side of the cave is an ice field, so Adam builds an igloo. Eve is discouraged: “Don’t you understand? There’s no hope in this wasteland. There’s no hope.”

Eventually, Adam despairs as well, symbolized by drool coming out of his mouth for unknown reasons.

Fortunately, Eve is ready to give Adam a pep talk. “We mustn’t stop, Adam. We have to go on, for us and our baby.”

“No,” Adam says. “We must stop here. I don’t know why. I feel our journey is over.”

Soon, an earthquake occurs, splitting the ice and causing avalanches. An ocean becomes visible nearby, at first full of icebergs, then seconds later quite tropical.

Somewhat confusingly, Adam and Eve are now near the village of yet another group of humans, a group that has conveniently discovered fire. Eve is nearly ready to give birth, and Adam tells her she has to suffer, presumably as punishment for the whole apple situation earlier.

Eve eventually gives birth by sitting on a rock in the surf. This allows the filmmakers to show shots of the baby’s head emerging underwater. Many, many shots.

The final shot of the film is Adam holding up the baby, the umbilical cord still attached, as the sun sets.

It could be stated that film is the perfect technique for merging different kinds of stories together. Adam and Eve Meet the Cannibals is an excellent example of a biblical story told through the lens of scientific realism. The filmmakers clearly put a great deal of thought into how the story of Adam and Eve would have really looked back at the dawn of humanity. One of their cleverest contributions to history is their hypothesis that Adam emerged from an amniotic sac sitting in the jungle, and that Eve exists because Adam shaped the form of a woman out of sand on the beach. The invention of stylish leather clothes from pterodactyl wings is the proverbial icing on the cake. At every turn, the filmmakers show charming inventiveness, almost rivalling that of similar historical reconstructions like The Flintstones and Land of the Lost.

Speak of Land of the Lost, Adam and Eve Meet the Cannibals appears to draw heavily from the mythology of the original Sid and Marty Krofft TV series (1974-1976). The terrifying creatures faced by Adam and Eve--the pterodactyl and the bear--are similar to threats faced by the Marshall family on their fateful expedition. Further, some of the other people populating the earth at the time of Adam and Eve resemble the Pakuni tribe from that TV show.

If there is one flaw in Adam and Eve Meet the Cannibals, it is one of balance. The film includes a great deal of Adam and Eve, but the cannibals appear for only brief moments. Perhaps a sequel is in order, the title of which would have to be The Cannibals Meet Adam and Eve. (Some might suggest an alternative of The Cannibals Eat Adam and Eve, but such a joke would be too vulgar and disrespectful of the source material--I speak, of course, of the original film.) However, the charismatic Mark Gregory, who plays Adam, appears to have stopped acting in films in 1989, so the prospect of a true sequel is unfortunately quite unlikely.