If cannibals and cannibal culture is not your thing than you should skip author Mikita Brottman’s book Meat is Murder! An Illustrated Guide to Cannibal Culture as it may be too much for you. Despite the fact that the cannibal film was quite popular in the late ‘70s to ‘80s cannibal culture has always stayed under the radar, at least as far as the mainstream is concerned. Brottman’s book changes all of that.
Brottman’s book is an invitation to everything in regards to cannibal culture which includes films but is not exclusive to films. In fact, most of the first half of the book has nothing to do with cannibal films. The first part of the book deals with the anthropology of the cannibal as well as a look at all the real life criminals and cases involving cannibalism from all over the world. This part of the book will be most interesting to non-film scholars as it delves deep into where and how cannibalism came to be part of our society noting cases in which it was forced upon a group of individuals (as seen in the story of the stranded rugby team who crash landed into the Andes mountains in 1972 as depicted in the film Alive) as well as a cultural phenomenon as seen in some third world countries. The book then touches upon some of the most infamous real life cannibals such as Ed Gein, Edmund Emil Kemper, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer, among many others.
The exploits of these real life cannibals segways into these real life caanibals both real and exploitive. Everything from Psycho to the Texas Chain Saw Massacre makes as appearance in this book and Brottman makes sure to emphasize where all this fits into the pantheon of cannibal culture. A whole book could have been dedicated to cannibalism in film but Brottman wants to discover how and why audiences have been so fascinated by both real life cannibalism and its film counterpart.
Brottman provides a wealth of information and photographs for everything in the book (earning the title of being an “illustrated guide”) and readers will learn more than they should about cannibal culture and how it has defined not only a sub-genre of horror film but pop culture and anthropological culture as well.