In the beginning, there was A Cookbook for Cannibals. The success of the book prompted us to start thinking about a movie version of the book, which we tentatively called A Cookbook for Cannibals: The Movie.
It took several years, but after the completion of Sacrifice of the White Goddess we started on a new project called Tears of Red, a melodrama set during the French Revolution. We had a whole set constructed, including a village, a dungeon, even a cool guillotine prop. Production problems killed the project, but since the studio was already there, why not use it for something?
A jungle set was contructed in place of the Tears of Red village set. A pot was built out of paper mache and a script was hastily written. In two days, we shot a segment which we felt could be used for the Cookbook for Cannibals movie. The result was Jungle Drums.
Jungle Drums is a video short about two girls who crash their plane in a jungle and are captured by a tribe of cannibals who invite them back to their village for dinner. Not to eat dinner with them, but to BE dinner!
After being inspected by the chief, they are tied up and stripped down by the tribe's female witch doctor during a sexy strip-tease dance. Once stripped down to their delectable buff, the chief tastes the girls to select one for that nights dinner. His choice is then spiced up and put into the pot. Once nicely cooked, she is served to the hungry tribe while the next girl goes into the pot for tomorrows breakfast!
The shoot itself did not go quite exactly as planned. Originally there was supposed to be Five girls, and a tribe of hunky, body builder cannibals. We had two days to shoot and everything had to be done in that time. The script was written the day before the shoot and had a great capture scene. The best line was:
On the day of shooting, two of the girls were no-shows, as were all the cannibals, including the chief. Substitutes has to be found quickly, and the script was used more as a guideline than an actual script.
Tanette's Pot Dance was not originally in the script. But, when Tanette tried the pot "on for size" during rehearsal, she did a little dance in it that was so sexy that the writer/producer decided right then and there that it was in.
The shoot was also accompanied by a photo session, also hastily done in our two day window of opportunity. Most of the photos (the best of them, I'm sure) did not turn out. The pictures here are from the one good roll which came out of that session.
After finishing the shoot a falling out with the designated editor (a problem which also plagued Sacrifice of the White Goddess) left Jungle Drums with no editor and no editing equipment. With no budget to proceed with the Cookbook for Cannibals movie, this left the project unfinished and with no real incentive to finish it. A rough edit was done to make a demo tape in hopes of getting some financing for completing it (or another project) but such a thing never materialized.
The unfinished rough edit of JUNGLE DRUMS was made available on a limited basis to collectors. It was available on VHS video in two versions: A Standard version that included the rough edit, raw out-takes and cannibal-themed clips; and the Custom version in which the clips were extended to fill up a full 2-hour tape and were custom selected to the interests of the collector. Being sold in this limited form, it took 10 years for the movie to finally break even. The VHS collectors editions were retired in May 2004 and will never be available again. If you have a Jungle Drums custom, you have a one-of-a-kind tape and a collector's item.
Three years after retiring Jungle Drums got some new life. Having heard of the video, Canntoon (of the Canntoon Island website and forum) asked the Jungle Drums producer about the video. Finding out that the producer still had all of the original footage, Canntoon suggested that the video could be digitized and re-edited to be presentable in the modern internet market. Seeing that he really had nothing to lose, Gurgurant agreed to give digitize the tapes and give then to Canntoon to re-edit the video.
Jungle Drums is now available in a downloadable video form. It now has a slick soundtrack and beautiful digital post-processing. This exceeds the original expectations of when it was shot more than 13 years ago. Here's to digital technology. Here's to the man who had the vision to bring this out of oblivion and onto the web! Find the video at his website...