Papaya: Love Goddess of the Cannibals has perhaps the cheesiest title and garish pulp cover art ever to enclose a serviceable little sexploitation flick. Set in the Dominican Republic the natural sights and sounds of surf, sand and sex would have been a picturesque setting for any movie, but you should by now from all my previous reviews what kind of film this is. (It seems I am the resident sleaze bee at horrorview), so let us crack open this Papaya and feast ourselves on its tart, yet tangy tropical tragedy.
In the opening credits, Papaya has graphic sex with a guy on a beach side hut and then after juicing an actual papaya on his junk, she bites off his penis. Once she walks away, a couple of escorts/guards who follow her every move on the island promptly set fire to the hut (as if waiting for this very moment) and the romantic tragedy begins.
Elsewhere on the island, a geological engineer named Vincent accidentally runs into an old girlfriend named Sara, who a reporter of some renown. The two rekindle a steamy love affair as Papaya crosses paths with them, at first offering to be a creepy tour guide and then by seducing them both first together in a threesome, and then separately. The sex scenes are very low key and beautiful, even considering they are all well steeped in some level of strange debauchery. Yet despite all the rampant, explicit but unrated sex, there is a plot to this, a sinister plot in fact, of which Papaya seems to be (if you will pardon the pun) “a key piece”.
This film works because after the first scene where Papaya uses a man’s penis as a juicer and then bites it off without a care in the world you just know some bad things are going to happen to our two tourists who have strayed too far into a hostile paradise, but it turns out there are methods to her madness and it is rare that you see a movie with this many screwed up things going on, that makes sense at the end where nothing that happened was truly random.
Still, the fact that Papaya proves herself to be a demented passion fruit of a murderess in the first five minutes kind of limits the drama of her erotic interactions with the Americans. Much like a HOSTEL movie you just know that the out-of-towners in this beautifully rendered tourist trap are going to end up in a bad situation and it kind of steals much of the drama of the thing as you spend most of this movie not so much fearing what terrible thing is going to happen to them, but waiting for it and finding out why?
There isn’t much stage violence in this one, yet there are some grisly scenes involving actual animals that simply wouldn’t be filmed today. We see the opening of a cockfight and an actual dead hog is disemboweled so others may drink its “blood”. Much like Papaya herself this film lures you into a false sense of surreal seduction, only to bite you (when and where you least expect it) for getting lost in the moment. While it wasn’t a thrill a minute, it does actually have a much better plot that you would expect from a movie with this much graphic (but essential) sex and violence in it.
Extras include a trailer for the film itself. (The logic of that always confounds me).