Firstly, since this is the first post of its kind, I will do the proper introductions!
I have been writing reviews for notable movies on The Movie Studio’s website since the end of August, and although this side project has been bringing me great joy (pretty hard not to like getting paid to tell people how great movies are), a good artist always has a million other side projects on the go. Thus, I bring to you the latest side project – R.I.P. D.V.D., where you will be educated on all the spectacular movies that are no longer carried by The Movie Studio for one reason or another. I will be updating whenever I am able (which will probably be often, because I own many of these ‘formerly of the Studio’ flicks.
Cannibal! The Musical
In 1993 Trey Parker directed, wrote, produced, co-scored & starred in his first feature film while studying at the University of Colorado in Boulder, alongside his friend Matt Stone who also stars in and helped to produce what would come to be known as Cannibal! The Musical. The popular show, South Park has become synonymous with Matt & Trey, and Cannibal! is an integral part of South Park history. In the ending credits of the early seasons, you can hear the instrumental version of the song “It’s a Shpadoinkle Day” playing in the background.
The story is loosely based on the true story of Alferd Packer and the sordid details of the trip from Utah to Colorado that left his five fellow travelers dead and partially eaten. It starts with a reenactment of the gruesome events of cannibalism that are described by the prosecuting attorney during Packer’s trial in 1883. The movie shifts from flashbacks of Packer telling the story in his words, to the trial that is happening in the present.
In the 1800s, a group of miners hears of new gold discoveries cropping up in Breckenridge, and they decide to travel from Utah to Colorado Territory to stake a claim. When the original guide for the group is struck by lightning, Packer is nominated as the replacement since he claimed that he knew the area. With his trusty horse named Liane, he sets off with five miners, Shannon Wilson Bell, James Humphrey, Frank Miller, George Noon, and Israel Swan, on what was intended to be a journey of no more than 3 weeks. Unfortunately, after 4 weeks, it becomes apparent that they have become lost, and panic starts to set in.
As per Trey Parker & Matt Stone tradition, the humour in Cannibal! is inappropriate, irreverent & often quite distasteful. But credit must be given where credit is due; there is no subject that the pair are afraid to touch, and South Park has reached into its 16th season on DVD. Certainly their audience appeal doesn’t just lie in fart jokes & the occasional dismemberment – there is a very strong thread of political & societal commentary. Trey Parker’s extensive musical theatre background has led to both Cannibal! and the more recent Book of Mormon becoming very successful Broadway plays.
Parker & Stone have a passion, a daring, and a friendship rarely seen in filmmakers with great amount of material success. Cannibal! is a film that displays their extraordinary talents in a mere 96 minutes – besides, where else could you hear a beautiful song about a man & his horse, fondly titled, ‘When I Was on Top of You’?