Way back before South Park ever hit the airwaves, creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were simple film school students. During their college years, the two future gurus of vulgar comedy began their association with a little film called Cannibal! The Musical.
Even back then Stone and Parker had a twisted sense of humor. Cannibal! tells the story of Alferd Packer, played here by Trey Parker, as he leads a group of miners from Utah to Colorado and led to Packer being the first man ever accused of cannibalism in the United States. If you do not think that is a funny concept, you certainly do not know how Trey Parker’s (who holds the sole writing credit) mind works.
A lot of the comedy comes from Cannibal! being a musical. For those that do not know, Trey Parker originally went to school to learn to score films. This would later come in handy during the creation of the Oscar-nominated songs in South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut. In Cannibal!, Parker’s musical talent is again on display, even if it could still use some work. Song such as “Shpadoinkle” and “Let’s Build a Snowman” are downright hilarious, and really show a musical maturity beyond what this film could allow.
Cannibal! falls short when it comes to acting. Parker, Stone and their long time diminutive buddy Dian Bachar are the recognizable faces of the bunch. Everyone else are no name film school classmates of Parker and Stone. Some of these actors are surprisingly good, while others just cannot act worth a damn and make it obvious why they are not more well known as actors today.
For a film made with a shoestring budget by a bunch of students making their first feature length movie, Cannibal! The Musical is much better than it has any right to be. There are a lot of great jokes on display, with the musical numbers being the best parts. Cannibal! The Musical is a raw look at the genius of Trey Parker, and a great sign of things to come before South Park ever sent shockwaves through American pop culture.