Cut and Run (aka Inferno in Diretta) (Ruggero Deodato, 1985)

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A news reporter and her cameraman travel to the Amazon jungle seeking to interview one of the leaders involved in the Jonestown massacre. Soon it’s discovered that a TV executive’s missing son is entangled with the group that’s also in the middle of a drug war against an army of natives lead by a ruthless drug baron.

Ruggero Deodato’s (Cannibal Holocaust, House on the Edge of the Park) pseudo-follow up to his infamous cannibal gut-muncher is undoubtedly more of an action film than its predecessor. Deodato was urged to do a sequel to Cannibal Holocaust but was hesitant to do so, and this was the result (apparently based on Wes Craven’s script for a film called “Marimba” that the producers managed to hijack due to financing issues). I think the film takes more than its share of criticism over what it’s not rather than focusing on what it has to offer.


The plot in itself is inventive and intriguing, involving one Col. Brian Horne (Richard Lynch; Bad Dreams, God Told Me To) the man who was supposedly the mastermind behind the Jonestown Massacre. Presumed dead, our intrepid snoops Fran Hudson (Lisa Blount; Prince of Darkness, Dead & Buried) and Mark Ludman (Leonard Mann; Night School, Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out!) discover Col. Horne is alive and well when they match a recent photo of him up with some old (not so old at the time) interview footage of Jim Jones. Smelling the scoop of the century they quickly jet off to the Amazon in search of the elusive Colonel who just so happens to be involved in a war between drug cartels where the missing son of one of the TV producers is located. And then shit gets real!
In addition to those mentioned, Cut and Run has plenty of familiar faces including Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes, Deadly Blessing) as Quecho, the psychotic enforcer of the native army cartel who basically grunts a lot, smashes things, pops out of nowhere with a machete and cuts people the fuck up. Willie Aames (TV’s Charles in Charge, 8 is Enough) as Tommy Allo, the kidnapped son of the TV producer who spends about 80% of his screen time crying (literally), whining and generally being a little bitch. Other genre vet appearances  include Barbara Magnolfi (Suspiria, The Sister of Ursula), Gabriele Tinti (Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Convent of Sinners) and Karen Black (The Pyx, Trilogy of Terror). Given the large number of American cast members, Cut and Run was filmed in direct-sound English, which was highly unusual for an Italian production at the time.
As can be expected, Deodato really delivers here in the graphic violence department. Cut and Run isn’t as shockingly graphic as Cannibal Holocaust was trying to be, but at the same time the violence makes more sense and never seems contrived. In addition to an abundance of gunplay, there are plenty of scenes involving rape, mutilation (including a couple nasty segments involving women getting pinned to the ground through their knees before being violated, and a particularly horrific scene where a man is torn in half from the groin up), beheadings and disembowelment that will surely sate the appetites of action and horror fans alike. Sadly, Deodato felt the need to add a bit of mild animal bullshit here in the form of swatting a crocodile in the face with a  boat oar and a native being an asshole to an iguana. Neither scene involves animal death or mutilation, but it makes one wonder what exactly the motivation was to include such useless bits of film. Regardless, the scenes aren’t so heinous as to turn one off of the production as a whole and they are short-lived. Expect also to see some naked sluts, but they certainly aren’t the focal point of the film in the least. The gore is extremely well done as is par for the course with Deodato’s work and the excellent score by Claudio Simonetti of Goblin fame will undoubtedly interest fans of cult and exploitation films.
For a film that’s an obvious mishmash of jungle exploitation and action, Cut and Run does both very well. Anyone willing to put aside any misgivings they may have and watch it for what it is, there’s plenty of entertainment value packed into 90 some-odd minutes. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say it’s actually one of Deodato’s stronger works, and certainly his most unique film. Genre fans would do well to seek it out. Worthy of note: make sure if you do dip your toes into these murky waters, ensure you acquire an uncut copy. If the Anchor Bay DVD is any indication, a fuckload of footage was cut from prior releases.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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