Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Director: James Bushe
Writer: Richard Lee O’Donnell
Starring: Darren Sean Enright, Richard Lee O’Donnell, Zara Phythian, Christopher Whitlow, Dominic Holmes, Jessica-Jane Stafford, Alex Zane, Jenny Stokes
As a horror fan, I often find myself taking some very odd journeys. Not necessarily physical ones, more the ones that lead me to watch/read the strangest things imaginable. In fact, the stranger and more ridiculous the premise sounds, there’s a good chance I’m going to be looking out for my chance to see just what is going on.
Take movie titles for instance, and not just your Sharknado or Lavalantula nonsense either, I’m talking the really strange or attention-grabbing titles.
The titles I’m about to mention are all genuine by the way, just in case anyone thinks I need to have my medication upped and to maybe go for a lie-down.
So, films with titles like Chopper Chicks in Zombietown, Prehistoric Bimbos in Armageddon City, Bloodsucking Pharaoh’s in Pittsburgh, Hobo with a Shotgun or Monsturd.
The more ridiculous sounding the title, the more likely I’m going to watch it. Well as long as it’s horror or horror related anyway, you have to draw the line somewhere and you won’t ever find me sitting down to watch something like Love in the Time of Cholera just because it has a silly name. Maybe if there was a horror parody called something like Slave Strumpets in the time of the Plague People, then, yeah, I’d be checking that one out quicker than you can say the title.
The titles don’t necessarily have to be as long-winded as some of the ones I’ve mentioned though, they just need to be unusual or silly enough to grab my attention, which is why I settled down to watch Cannibals and Carpet Fitters.
The title is daft enough to grab my attention whilst also being simplistic enough to tell me exactly what the film is going to be about. Lovely.
The film opens with Jack (Alex Zane) and his girlfriend Gillian (Jessica-Jane Stafford) going on a camping trip for the weekend. Jack complains through what appears to be most of their five-hour car journey and Gillian (or Jill as Jack calls her), appears to be useless and would rather complain about Jacks inability at erecting a tent, rather than help him out.
Luckily, it doesn’t take long for these two annoyances (and that's not a complaint about the actors, who were great, just their characters were the sort you wanted to see get eaten) to go for a walk, get lost and then encounter the titular cannibals in what was probably the best gory moment in the movie, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.
Meanwhile, over at Cupid Carpets, owner Nigel (Tony Nyland) is trying his best to get his employees ready for a big job that they have lined up. Unfortunately for Nigel, his team aren’t exactly the best. For starters there’s Chris (Christopher Whitlow) who tends to get to work late due to too many late nights, what with him being such a ladies man and everything, or at least, he thinks he is anyway. There’s also food lover Colin (Darren Sean Enright), ginger lad Dean (Richard Lee O'Donnell), new boy Malcolm (Dominic Holmes) and the one reliable and decent worker, Tasha (Zara Phythian). In fact, Nigel is extremely lucky to have Tasha in his employ as not only does she seem to know what she’s doing, she also makes sure she gets the job done and even manages to get the likes of Chris to stop slacking and do some work.
On a side note, why is it that every team of decorators or caretakers, or (as in this case) carpet fitters have a fat Colin? There’s always one. Usually, a bit on the lazy side, thinks they know better than everyone else and is a fat bloke who will take every opportunity to take a break and have a cuppa and a bite to eat.
Anyhow, this slightly inefficient lot has been tasked with fitting the carpets at a large country house owned by a Mrs Hanning (Jenny Stokes). Unfortunately for all concerned, Mrs Hanning and her “Boys” are the titular cannibals.
Actually, you have to feel a little sorry for Mrs Hanning as most of her boys, Charlie (Phill Martin), Edward (Mingus Johnston) and William (Lee Charles) are hulking great brutes and there’s no way they were easy births. Oh, and just in case you haven’t noticed the royal joke in the names of her sons, there are two more who are named Andrew (Darren Maffucci) and Harry (Grant Steven).
It’s probably a good job they’re cannibals as feeding that lot would probably cost a princely sum.
Thankyou, I’ll see myself out.
Right, let’s get back to the gore that I mentioned.
The make-up effects here are really good and the team of Clare Gregory, Jane Hyman and Heather Simons really do deserve a shout-out. It’s too easy to overlook the folks working behind the scenes and concentrate, on the director and the cast, but they really do deserve applause here for the great work they did.
There’s one scene in particular at the start of the movie (that I hinted at earlier) that is a wonderful synergy of great prop effects and director James Bushe’s editing that just deliver a wonderful moment that is flawlessly executed, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Horror and comedy can be a tricky mix to get right and whilst the film is funny at times it didn’t make me laugh. But, it did make me smile and as this is the first feature-length film that these guys have written and directed then I’m more than happy to forgive it for just falling short of the mark.
I think some of that shortfall came from the characters reacting a little too casually to situations that would have any sane, normal person running away to the nearest police station. For example, there’s a scene where the perpetually hungry Colin finds a nice looking pie to tuck into, when Dean notices a nipple amongst the filling. Having already been happily chomping away, Colin is obviously not too chuffed about this, but Dean seems to take it in his stride. It’s as if he had a pasty before that once had a nipple in it and it’s more of a minor annoyance rather than a really fucking horrific discovery to make in your lunch.
Moments like that aside though, the film is still pretty good. The cast all did a good job, including the "Boys" whose only communication was unintelligible grunts and extreme violence but everyone seems to have got behind the characters they were playing and I get the impression that they all had a great time making the film.
Something else of note that I wan to mention as well is that the film manages to correct something that is a particular dislike of mine in movies, so that when one of the characters manages to locate a working mobile phone, not only do they actually have a signal, but they manage to get through when they dial 999. It was surprisingly refreshing and it dealt wit it in a way that blended a bit of realism with a bit of comedy too.
I look forward to seeing what James Bushe and Richard Lee O’Donnel do next as they are definitely a pair to keep an eye on.
Actually, if they are thinking of keeping in with a theme here then maybe I can suggest a few ideas?
Demons and Decorators?
Poltergeists and Plumbers?
Banshees and Brickies?
Monsters and Mechanics?
How about a sequel called Cannibals and Caretakers?
OK, maybe not.
If you want to know about the movie you can find it here at http://www.cannibalsandcarpetfitters.co.uk/
There is all kinds of info on the movie along with a link for the original Cannibals and Carpet Fitters short film too which is definitely worth taking a look at.
The film won’t hit the mark with everyone, especially those who set their expectations too high but just look at the title. It’s called Cannibals and Carpet Fitters. That should tell you everything you need to know and if it sounds like something that you would enjoy, then you owe yourself to check it out.
It’s an entertaining fun movie that just falls a little short of the line, but that’s fine. Think of it as the underdog kid at sports day. He might not have finished first but he put in a spirited effort and sometimes that’s worth applauding and more meaningful than the show-off who came in first place anyway.