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DAVID ROME
The Cannibals


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Horwitz, Sydney, 1968


The blurb on the back:

The Cannibals
Two youths travelling through the desert looking for someone, anyone, to kill ...
Two youths who kidnap a man and his family and take them into an inferno of violence...
Two youths who make one woman the victim of the pent-up horror of their sadistic impulses...


This is the text from the inside front cover:

These Are The Young Savages Who Are Consuming Our Society.
Suddenly, without warning, a woman alone is threatened by a boy who had shared in the killing of six, perhaps more.
Not killing for motive or profit, but killing for the sake of killing, the inflicting of pain for pleasure. She had listened to the reports, she had followed the farmer's fight for life and heard the shocking medical releases about the things they had done to his wife.
Savages would not have done those terrible things, animals would not have done them ...
Only boys like these, smiling boys with hands that reached out for what they wanted.
Hands that were now reaching out for her.

Well, you get the picture. It's Badlands, it's Natural Born Killers, it's True Romance, it's Wild At Heart. Except that it predates all of them. Published in 1968, it's got to be one of the first entries in the field. And it's pretty good stuff too - tough and direct, it hits the ground running, tells its story and gets out with a minimum amount of fuss.

I know nothing at all about Mr Rome, save that he appears to have been Australian and was also responsible for The Cleaver (1968), Squat (1970) and The Naked Bug (1973). Which all sound pretty uncompromising as well.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


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Burt Hirschfeld, Bonnie and Clyde
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