Saturday, May 7, 2016

Rare Flix: The Mafu Cage (1978)

Family, right?  Today's Film is The Mafu Cage aka Deviation, a 1978 Character Film/Thriller.  It is basically a look at the dark future of those kids from Roar- even though this one came out 3 years before the actual release of said Film.  The Film tells the tale of two Sisters who live in a big, Jungle-style House in the wake of their Father's death.  One of them is normal (albeit repressing alot!) and the other Carol Kane.  You never played straight-laced people that often, did you?  The Drama is quite palpable here...although I mainly wanted an excuse to say 'palpable' again.  I'm an Adult!  Anyhow, the Sisters have a solution: a Monkey.  Yeah, this won't end well.  Will bringing a creature who could easily rip off your face into a household with two Sisters on the edge of a mental breakdown end well?  Of course not!  To find out how it goes, read on...
These two are Sisters, although they haven't always been close.  One embraced their old life, while one rejected it.
In the wake of their Father's death, the pair are forced back together.  This should go well.
The conflict is between Kane's slightly-psychotic frivolity and and her Sister's responsible nature.  This Film is super-subtle about showing said conflict sometimes...
They do the only natural thing: take in a Orangutan!  It sure helps to know people that just let you keep Mafus (as Kane calls it)...
Her tripolar joy/anger/sadness is broken up, however, when she hears her Sister talk about how much of a burden she is.  Awkward.
Things go really wrong when Kane goes all ballistic and actually kills her Mafu!
When the Sister goes away, the guy she works with and talked about around Kane shows up, so...things happen.
She eventually kills him and tries to hide this from her Sister.  When that fails, she gains a new Mafu- her sibling!
When she eventually dies from poor handling (shocking- right!), Kane is left alone and the Film ends with her locked up in her own cage.  The End.
Hurray for happy Endings?  This one is big, loud and bleak.  I can definitely see the appeal for the Actors here.  This is some 1970s Mega-Acting that I haven't seen since the original Amityville Horror!   Kane is very convincing at playing crazy and Lee Grant does a good job as her put-upon Sister.  The whole thing feels real and natural.  Unfortunately, it is a real and natural Tale of two people that aren't fun to be with.  One is deranged and has wild mood swings, while the other is just somber.  I definitely feel for their situation- I just don't want to be a part of it all that much.  The Film does tell a unique and mostly-interesting Story.  Like many Films from its time, the Pacing is slower than some may be used to.  If you like these kinds of strange Character Dramas, then this is a hidden gem.  If you don't, this is just the world's worst Holiday visit.  Before any Studio decides to remarket this, I should note that the Print needs some restoration...
Next up, my Holiday Review.  As much as I love my Family, I love Trashy Movies too.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard mention of this movie in... well, quite a long time. I remember liking it a lot back then... anything with Carol Kane was good for me. I think it'd make a double-feature with one of those odd movies Elizabeth Taylor made in that era, like Secret Ceremony.