Things To Learn From
Cannibal! The Musical
Original Title - Alferd Packer! The Musical
by Wild Willie Westwood
Secrets from the Movie itself
This movie is based on a true story. No one outside Colorado would know who Alferd Packer was, so the title was changed to Cannibal!
While the prosecution presents its case, Judge Gerry works on a house of cards. When the camera looks on from the jury, the judge works on the second story. When the camera looks at him in close-up, he's working on the third story.
Why is Alferd making a dollhouse in his cell? Because that's what the real Alferd Packer did to bide his time.
Here's a history of Bingham Mine, from 1863 to the present. It is still in operation today. Apparently, the Packer party left Bingham before the Bingham and Camp Floyd branch of the Utah Central Railroad arrived there, thus missing out on new lode mining and rich strikes.
"Colorado Territory" - Colorado became a territory in 1861. It became a state in 1876, two and a half years after the massacre, which is why Packer's conviction was overturned when appealed.
"And then the Lord sent down a flock of seagulls." - A Flock of Seagulls was a popular '80s band. They're known best for their hit "I Ran."
"They say there's enough gold in Breckenridge to build walls out of!" - Utah was experiencing a Gold Rush of its own in the 1870's, but as the mines died out, miners moved east to Colorado, since California and other points west were heavily mined already. Breckenridge had been a big gold producer since 1859.
"The sky is blue, and all the leaves are green. My heart's as pure nn...." - the person singing this as the miners go for provisions in Provo sounds remarkably like Cartman voicing Bugs Bunny. And since Trey does Cartman...
I don't think "time out" was a behavioral concept back in the 1870's. Bell was certainly ahead of his time. Cabazon seems to be ahead of his time, too, as he told the miners to get out of his "personal space."
Bell, Humphrey, and Packer talking about Liane as a horse, of course, comes from the opening song for Mister Ed, a 1950s show about a talking horse. The first line in the song is "A horse is a horse, of course, of course." The rest of it goes like this:
A horse is a horse, of course, of course
And no one can talk to a horse, of course
That is, of course, unless the horse
Is the famous Mister Ed!
Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse
He's always on a steady course
Talk to Mister Ed!
People yakkity-yak a streak
And waste your time of day
But Mister Ed will never speak
Unless he has something to say!
Oh, a horse is a horse, of course, of course
And this one'll talk 'til his voice is hoarse
You never heard of a talking horse?
Well, listen to this:
". . . I am Mister Ed!"
On the morning Liane is missing, where does one hear a rooster in the wilderness? Or cows, for that matter?
If the men are supposed to be going east, why is the sun shining on them from their left sides? The sun's placement on their bodies indicate they are going west.
"Hey look you guys! The Green River!" - Humphrey points up when he says this. You don't point up when you see a river.
"We must be... [looks to his left] too far north. Or... [looks to his right] too far south." - Since the miners were crossing the Green River eastbound, Packer should have been looking to his right when he said when he said "too far north," as he would have been looking southward. And he should have been looking to his left when he said "too far south."
"Carrots and peas and carrots and peas and water chestnuts. Amen." - Humphrey's little prayer is an elaboration of "peas and carrots...peas and carrots," one of two lines said softly or mouthed by people in the background when they're required to provide conversation for a scene on TV or in a movie. The other line is "natter-natter...grommish-grommish." Of course, peas and carrots just rolls off the tongue and makes for a nice side dish besides.
"Fudge, Packer?" - a fudge packer is a gay man who likes to give anal sex, the shit being the fudge. It's pretty gay for a man to be hung up over a girl as badly as Packer was over his missing horse.
Humphrey repeats a couple of lines he couldn't have heard when he taunts Packer for underestimating the width of the Colorado River. When they crossed the Green River a few weeks before, Bell asks Packer if there are any more rivers between the Green and Colorado Territory. Packer says only the Colorado. Humphrey was still in the river and so not in a position to hear these lines, yet he quotes them to Packer after they cross the Colorado and emerge soaked.
"Momotaro shiteru na?" - Momotaro (peach sugar) could refer to a tale from Japan about Momotaro.
"Welcome to the land of blue light." - The signs Humphrey performs are ASL (American Sign Language) for "Jesus Christ is dead."
"Omae wa sakana to ishoo ni o-nemu nishi chi aru, zo!" - This is Japanese for "You'll be sleeping with the fishes, see?!", a line used quite a bit in Orgazmo.
The Chief is the only Indian to speak slowly - in either language. Wait, the Saguache sheriff speaks pretty slowly as well.
"Here little lamb chop!" - lamb chops make for nice eatin', but there was also a puppet operated by Shari Lewis named Lamb Chop which was popular among young school kids. When a kid got older, though, that little lovable puppet became something to torture just for thrills.
"Yeah, the Donner party. They got stuck in the California mountains." - the Sierra Nevada. The Donner party trekked from Independence, MO. on May 12 to Sutter's Fort, CA. on Halloween, 1846. The one link between this party and the Packer party (27 years later) came sometime in August, when the Donner party made its way through Utah. It walked by the lower Salt Lake and through Salt Lake City, near Bingham Mine.
Lake San Cristobal - This is the lake around which Packer and his party got lost. The mountains it is in are the San Juan Mountains. The river leading from Lake San Cristobal to the Colorado is the Gunnison River, which Packer and his men followed to the lake. The pass the bodies were found in is indeed the Slumgullion Pass the sheriff of Saguache mentioned when he entered the saloon looking for Packer.
Liane was stationed right outside the saloon, but the saloon's sign was white with black letters. When Packer sees her again after leaving the saloon, the saloon's sign is black with white letters. Its architecture is different as well.
"We'll make some hot dogs and drink a few beers" - "Hot dogs" would not exist for another 20 years, though sausage sandwiches have been around for centuries.
Read the end credits and you'll see that the cast members were also crew members.
Alferd Packer is indeed Alfred Packer, but a tattooist spelled it wrong. Packer took to it and used Alferd for most anything except official documents, which have the correct spelling.
Where are the aliens?
The first one is in "Snowman" for a few seconds during Swan's tap-dancing scene.
The second is over Noon's right shoulder as he extracts a shoelace from his mouth.
The third alien of the movie casts a large shadow in the big bar scene. Trey pointed this out in the commentary.
The forth one is the moosehead in the same bar.
The fifth one is floating around a gate outside the gallows.
There's no denying Packer ate the bodies. The question is, was he guilty of manslaughter, of having killed the other five miners?
Script corrections, not including the Japanese
||Line in the Movie
||Correction from the official script
||Looks like her trails lead off that way.
||Looks like her tracks lead off that way.
||No it isn't! The relative minor is three half tones DOWN from the major, not UP!
||No it isn't! The relative minor is three half tones UP from the major, not DOWN!
Trey and His Women
Trey and Liane
Trey was engaged to marry Liane Adamo. They were high-school sweethearts (so around '84-'87). They were engaged for a year ('92-'93). His friends had plane tickets, the bride's dress was bought, the church was paid for. A month before the wedding (they would have had a June '93 wedding) she betrayed him. She started sleeping with a guy who was in an a capella group (he's since gone on to become an insurance salesman). She went on to date other men, though, and may well have done this little video right here. Only problem with that link is that her hair is much curlier than the pics show.
The line Trey wanted her to hear in the movie was: "No, she didn't just take off. We're friends, and friends just don't take off."
He also had her choreograph the big finale. On that day, MTV showed up to cover the scene and Trey planned to tell MTV why he had made the movie - his way of getting back at Liane for leaving him for that singer.
Trey still tried to impress Liane with his success. He put her in a bit role in Orgazmo and invited her to be at the NBC Studios for his first appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in Fall 1997. He couldn't do much more than that, though, as he was in a relationship with the woman below.
Trey and Toddy
Trey became a womanizer after the breakup, as he then had no woman to make him feel important or wanted, but he and Toddy began seeing each other near the end of filming (April '94). The last scene in the film was shot without a kiss because Trey was a shy kid back then, but he soon got the nerve to kiss Toddy, and he wanted that scene to be the occasion on which their first kiss would happen. So, the scene was reshot with a passionate kiss, and thus began a relationship that lasted five and a half years. It ended in late 1999 (the Cannibal! DVD was released on February 29, 2000).
David Goodman, in an article for salon.com, said that Trey and Matt spent around two thousand dollars at a titty-bar when they were contracted to do South Park. Trey would sometimes bring home girls--one of them for David. and so on. That didn't sit well with Toddy. She ended up dumping him. In the commentary, his friends tease him about making another movie so he could get Toddy back. Maybe she left him for having her be the dumb blonde Georgi in Orgazmo. Trey says its because they began to argue about everything, which means the differences became irreconcilable, but Trey says he was the one who fucked up.
In the South Park Commentaries, Matt and Trey talk about how they developed the characters for Satan and Sadam--"we're always hanging out with your friends and never with mine.."etc. The things that their girlfriends (including Toddy at the time) always complained about. Also, when Trey discusses Stan's relationship with Wendy--that he really spends more time with his friends and not really that much with Wendy--Trey says "that's how I am with girlfriends" or something to that effect.
One hint of how he deals with breakups can be seen in Orgazmo when Joe and Lisa come to a point where further conversation is useless and he pouts. She leaves, and he tries to get her back. Unlike Lisa, who did come back to Joe, Toddy did not come back to Trey.
Toddy has since married, so this chapter is pretty much closed.
The conclusion: Trey will probably stay single for a loooong time to come, as he isn't the type to hang out with women, even if they are his girlfriend's friends.
From the commentary and an interview with Ian Hardin
Originally, Cannibal! was a mock trailer for Trey Parker's film class, titled Alferd Packer: The Musical. His professor encouraged him to try to make into a full length feature, as did many others. He was later kicked out of school for spending too much time on the project and not enough in class.
The script was originally modeled after Homer's "Odyssey," with the Japanese Indians representing the Sirens, the wounded confederate soldier representing the Cyclops and the search for Lianne representing the odyssey itself. All of that is still there. Just in case you missed all that, look at the book Bell is reading when Humphrey cooks dinner for the party after the party leaves Provo.
Shpadoinkle is a made-up word used to bridge the gap in "When I say it's a ________ day." Trey couldn't think of any word to put there, so he made one up and stuck it there. Polly Pry riding up to Packer at the end of the movie is the very definition of shpadoinkle, as is the beautiful day in which Packer sings the song. Its use throughout the movie indicates that it's a positive word, like sweet, pretty, beautiful, awesome. Or, on rare occasions, an interjection: "shit!"
The actor who warns the miners is the official Alferd Packer look-a-like.
In one scene of "That's All I'm Asking For," when five of the miners advance towards the camera all abreast, Trey says "CUT!" but all that's left on the video is Trey mouthing that word. The song was dubbed over the original recording, so Trey's command was erased from the audio.
The brief dance in "All I'm Asking For" where the miners are supposed to dip and stand up in unison took 14 takes, the most of any scene in the film.
Jason McHugh (Miller) wore a small pillow under his shirt to look fat. This to reflect accounts that Miller was pretty plump.
The scenes set at Green River were shot at Gunnison River (pretty close to the site of the massacre) and Boulder Rapids/Creek.
The scene where Swan sees snow for the first time was shot in two locations about 100 miles apart. The main scene was shot at the Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction. The actual snow was shot at The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs several months later.
Did you hear some (car) keys in Noon's pocket at the end of his scene with the Nihon squaw? That wasn't supposed to happen.
There were no Ute Indians around to help the cast and crew in making the movie, so they made do with the Japanese stand-ins, and called this particular band of Utes the Nihonjin, which means "Japanese people."
The sheep from the "Cyclops/sheep" scene was actually shot several hundred miles and edited in later.
"Children..." - This line came from a black man Matt and Trey encountered. They had been eating Chips Ahoy cookies laced with acid and had run into him. They ran into Jason McHugh and told him all about this big fat black guy who kept saying "Watch the children, ya'll gots to watch the children." This, of course, was one of Chef's lines in the first episode of South Park, so Chef has his beginnings here.
The scene for "This Side of Me" was shot five times because of inclement weather (it was shot outside on a beautiful cliff a couple of times), fogged film and an eventual change of lyrics. The scene that ended up in the final version was shot one week prior to the film's completion.
Look at the crowd running out of the saloon after Packer. You'll see the same people leave the saloon four times before Packer appears in the crowd and runs off to his left. That's because Trey wanted the illusion of a lot of people at the saloon, so the actors went out the front, went back in the side, went out thr front again. No one thought to grab Packer when he appeared among them again, joining then in the chase. A Looney Toons moment there.
Matt Stone was dressed as a woman at the beginning of the "Hang Him High" dance scene - at his own request.
Chris Graves, who made "American History" with Trey and Junichi, was the one playing the cow bell solo.
"Hey, you can't do that, Jerky!" - the guys were fans of The Jerky Boys ...until the Boys came out with a movie.
Frenchy's dead body on the gallows at the end is really Alexandra Kelly in a furry jacket.
Most of the town scenes were shot in Buckskin Joe, a restored ghost town in Cañon City, CO.
Trey fractured his hip when one of the Liane horses sped off and he fell off. The fracture has healed over by now, as he's never had the surgery to correct it.
The makeup crew were inexperienced and made the beards out of spirit gum and crepe hair. Ian Hardin and Jon Hegel were the only crew members with real beards.
The effects in the opening scene cost around $4000.
Most of the film has the audio ADRed (redubbed), because the actors were told the way to act well is to speak very softly. And speaking very softly just makes you mumble. Trey ADRed some of the Japanese lines. Trey had to overdub Robert Muratore on "The Trapper Song," however Ted Henwood's real voice is featured.
The "purple flower" shot during the "The Trapper Song" was achieved with color-correction in post-production. The leaves were actually green. (Color correction was applied to a similar scene later on in the movie)
When submitted to Sundance, after sending the $50 submission fee, they never even recieved a rejection letter. So, instead, they took Cannibal! to Park City, Utah and started their own film festival. Since then, several film festivals have sprung up around Sundance (including Troma's own Tromadance and Cannibal! producer Jason McHugh's Lapdance).
According to Trey Parker's introduction to Lloyd's book Make Your Own Damn Movie, the meeting over Troma's distribution of the film took place in a Del Taco restaurant.
The sequel was to be called Alferd Packer: Trouble in Jamaica, just as the sequel to Orgazmo was to be called Orgazmo II: Trouble in Tokyo.
Stuff that influenced the movie
The cacophany of sounds at the beginning of the film as the opening text is shown is similar to that in Fantasia, right up to the conductor tapping his baton on the podium.
"But that's not the way it happened..." - from Star Trek TOS, "Court Martial" episode, Capt. Kirk's line when he sees a whole bunch of evidence pile up against him of a crime he knows he didn't commit.
"Shpadoinkle Day" is but one of many references to Oklahoma!. The exclamation in this movie's title is also a reference as is the dream sequence, and the opening text conjures up a competition between these two movies, Cannibal! losing out to Oklahoma!.
The trappers wearing "TRAPPER" on the backs of their jackets is reminiscent of Love Story where the Sharks and the Jets wear their gang names on their jackets.
"You're doomed. You're all doomed!" - said by Crazy Ralph in Friday The 13th.
"It's my house." - From Eddie Murphy's live concert films where the complete line is "It's my house! If you don't like it, get the fuck out!" It's been used in Orgazmo by Joe, when Lisa leaves him to go back to Utah, and in South Park by the boys. "Get the fuck out!" has also been used in South Park by the adults as "Get the fudge out!"
The purple leaves Nutter strokes in his solo in the trapper song was inspired by the "Horse of a Different Color" scene in The Wizard of Oz.
Alferd Packer is prisoner #24601, Jean Valjean's number in Les Misérables. Cartman is referred to by this number when he enters Alamosa Maximum Security Juvenile Hall for a hate crime against Token.
The line "Ike!" is a reference to the film The Legend Of Alferd Packer, in which Alferd Packer awakes from a dream and shouts the same line.
Trey saw the movie Alive and was so humored by having a character cut out a part of someone's ass, that he made it a joke in Cannibal!
The screeching violins heard when Packer finds his fellow miners dead the morning he returns are reminiscent of those in the shower scene in Psycho.
"Jinkies." - Scooby Doo, dontcha know?
The scene in which the bar patrons pour out of the bar and onto the streets in pursuit of Packer was based on a similar scene in the original Frankenstein.
Trey Parker used the psuedonym Juan Schwartz for his acting credit, which is similar to a name Alferd Packer used (John Schwartze). He uses his real name for his roles behind the camera.
"God bless us, everyone!" - From Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Choda Boy uses this line in Orgazmo and Pip uses it in the original pilot for South Park.
Stuff that the movie influenced
"My heart's as full as a baked potato." - From "Shpadoinkle Day," it became the scene in SP:BLU where Dr. Gouache replaces Kenny's heart with a baked potato, which explodes three seconds later.
"Just do what I'm doin'." - Dian Bachar uses this line in Orgazmo as well, only there it's "Just do what I do."
"You dirty so-and-so" - Trey Parker uses this line in Orgazmo as well.
During "When I Was On Top Of You," Packer tells the "Pus Sucker Bill" joke to Liane. This was Trey Parker's favorite joke at the time and it later appears in Orgazmo, where he's telling it to Lisa in a flashback sequence.
Trey Parker payed homage to Troma in his film Orgazmo, by having a video store feature several Troma films (including Cannibal!) on a shelf labeled "Classics", having a clip of Cannibal! playing on a TV and a poster all in the same scene, and giving Lloyd a cameo as a doctor at the end.
The foot Terrence cloned for Engineering Week, complete with a bone sticking up from the ankle, looks a lot like Swan's foot, which Humphrey was eating.
The Braniff logo at the end of each South Park episode features the melody to "Shpadoinkle Day."
Matt Stone is Humphrey in the movie and voices Kyle on South Park. Both Humphrey and Kyle wear the same clothes, have the same hair, and share the same voice. The joke featuring Humphrey removing his hat to reveal a large afro was later used in an episode of South Park, when Kyle took his hat off for Picture Day - without the loud "POP" at the end.
"Everyone in this town has ridden your horse!" - this statement, made in the Saguache saloon, is reflected in Mr. Garrison's question after Cartman accuses him of sleeping with his mother: "I admit it! I might have made love to your mother at the Drunken Barn Dance! But who here didn't?!" Incidentally, Cartman made the accusation at the South Park bar. And, both the horse and Cartman's mom are called Liane. Just another nail in Trey's grievance against Liane for sleeping around with other men when they were engaged and the marriage was a month off.
Friends and Family
Trey Parker's dad plays the judge and Jason McHugh's dad plays the clerk at the store.
Stan Brakhadge, the father of avant-garde cinema, has a cameo. He was one of the teachers at their college.
The coat Alferd Packer wears is Trey's great-grandfather's coat from World War I. But no one knows who has it now. It was in the prop department for a while.
Masao Maki is the owner of a sushi restaurant. He was put in the movie so the crew members could get free dinner. He also appears in Orgazmo.
The woman assigned to hold the boom pole, Kimberly Kidder, reportedly received that job due to her large breasts. "Boom slut!" She was Andrew Kemler's ex-girlfriend.
There was a joke in which it was said the Indians invented skiing. The Japanese actors had a hard time with this, trying to ski and all, but they all gave it their best effort.
The bar fight at the end originally included a rap number called "Shatterproof." That number was cut from the final version because Trey thought Packer came off too tough. (Trey mentions how they sound like black people in that scene, and how he removed a large chunk of that scene because it was soo long and it sucked.) It can be heard in the trailer, though.