March 28th, 2008

SLAVERS (1978) *

Viewers expecting cheap Mandingo style thrills will be severely disappointed by this boring tale of an alcoholic slaver (Trevor Howard) who tries to steal back a shipment of slaves from a greedy Arab trader (Ray Milland).  This could have been interesting, but for the most part, the flick plays like a cross between a National Geographic documentary and a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie and it’s about as dull as either one. 


The acting is pretty much the pits.  Not even the presence of the usually reliable Cameron (The Toolbox Murders) Mitchell or Britt (The Man with the Golden Gun) Ekland baring her breasts can save this wretched turkey.  It also doesn’t help that Ray Milland looks about as Arab as Archie Bunker. 


The flick is pretty brutal in it’s depiction of violence against the slaves, but the violence pretty much unjustified because the villains never really get a satisfactory comeuppance.  The decent gore effects include decapitations, natives being used as target practice (sort of like a 19th century version of Wack-A-Mole), and in one especially disturbing scene a newborn baby is torn from his mother’s breast and is promptly stomped on by an angry slaver.  These scenes are pretty hard to stomach, but at least they keep you awake during all the slow scenes of honkies jibber jabbering endlessly.  


Howard gets the best line of the movie after a native informs him that he doesn’t know how to use a gun:  “I’ll give you a knife.  It works itself!”