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4.1 out of 5 stars
Mafu Cage
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2012
The negative reviews are for the Legacy dvd release from 2005. That dvd is terrible quality (recorded from a jumpy vhs tape.) The 2010 dvd released by Scorpion Releasing is TERRIFIC quality! I don't know why amazon merges all the reviews together- despite the fact that the movie was released twice on 2 very different dvds.

The 2010 dvd also has deleted scenes, and interviews with Lee Grant, Carol Kane, and the director.

The movie tells the very unusual story of two sisters (Lee Grant & Carol Kane) who live together in Southern California. Carol has a pet ape named Mafu. We learn that Carol has a history of violence and mental illness, and whenever she gets upset, she takes out her frustrations by killing her ape. After she kills one, they just buy another, and she names the replacement Mafu too.

Lee Grant's character has several scenes shot on location at the famous observatory in beautiful Griffith Park (a famous park in Los Angeles.)

I highly recommend this unusual movie. I just wish amazon would make a distinction between reviews for the old dvd (which was terrible quality) and the newer, 2010 dvd, which is great quality.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
THE MAFU CAGE is one of those magnificently strange movies that come along every few years. Cissy (Carol Kane) is a mentally disturbed woman who just might be dangerous. Her sister Ellen (Lee Grant from DAMIEN: THE OMEN 2, VISITING HOURS) attempts to take care of Cissy by herself, after their father's death. They have moved stateside from an unspecified region of Africa, and Cissy is unable to cope w/ the outside world. The interior of their suburban home is a recreation of Cissy's african memories, right down to the livingroom jungle, continuous tribal dance music, and various (doomed) primates. Cissy is lost. She cannot adapt to her new surroundings any more than she can accept her father's demise. Add to this that Ellen is wanting to have a relationship w/ a co-worker (James Olson from THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN), and Cissy's already fragile mind goes into total annihilation mode! I kept yelling at Ellen to call a good doctor for her obviously troubled sister, but then, if she'd gotten help there would be no movie. At least, not a good one. So, Cissy degenerates into mental oblivion, and horror ensues. If you enjoy different, even bizarre movies, then I recommend a trip into THE MAFU CAGE...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2005
My rating refers to the 2005 LEGACY DVD, not to the movie itself, and not to the 2010 SCORPION DVD (which sounds great).

I own one of the out of print videocassettes of this movie, which I really enjoyed (I'll post a review on the IMDb). One of my favorite horror movies directed by a woman.

I hoped this DVD would be an upgrade. Unfortunately, it's a bad transfer with no extras. Even my 1989 Magnum Entertainment VHS of it is better. For example, just looking at the opening shots of the movie, a dark kite-shaped African hanging has white markings on it in the VHS; in the DVD it is pretty much completely black. When Carol Kane first comes into shot on the VHS, we see her long red hair hanging down off a hammock. On the DVD, her hair and the background are so dark you can't tell the color or even differentiate the two much. The DVD does have the apparently original title "The Mafu Cage," while the VHS has just "The Cage." Even the box art for the VHS is better. But for people who don't want to shell out for a used copy of the VHS ($10.99-$79.95 on Amazon zShops), I guess the DVD will have to do for now. Karen Arthur and her cinematographer John Bailey can't be happy though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2013
I composed the music for this film
It was my 2nd film with director, Karen Arthur
Recording was done at my house in Thousand Oaks.
Because of the African nature of the story, I used, among other colors, 2 Prepared Pianos [Google John Cage]
I used the pianos to produce "Africn" musical concepts.
We had an Ethnomusicologist in music production and anytime he said, "yes" to any of my musical ideas-----those ideas became part of the score.
The story is disturbing. However, I was excited by the challenge !
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2007
THE MAFU CAGE is one of the strangest films ever made with established actors. It really doesn't fit any category very well. Elements of horror and psychology are mixed with modern gothic melodrama to make a heady brew that has to be seen to be believed. Describing THE MAFU CAGE to others may make them laugh, but showing it to them will have another effect. As odd as it is, this film is compulsively watchable. The viewer is never certain what will happen next. It's always fascinating to watch well known actors involved in off-beat material, and this is one of the very best examples. It's unfortunate that the DVD transfer is somewhat murky and out of aspect ratio. But anyone interested should not be deterred by that.
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on June 22, 2010
The Mafu Cage took me by surprise! I was not expecting it to be as good as it was. I bought this for cheap at a thrift shop and got it not expecting too much for it was cheap and looked like a sucky horror film. Boy was I surprised when i saw it! This old 70s film which is not yet on DVD, does not have a specific genre! At some parts its sad, sometimes funny, and other times it is very creepy! It is very perverse and bizare. When Carol Kane's character becomes insane from being dependent on her sister and is angry with the attention she is not given, this film becomes very frightening because of the consequenses! This is certainly a strange film that is extremely rare. Its very sad that this is not on DVD! Carol Kane's performance is outstanding as well as Lee Grant's.

The Vhs is cheap so just buy bc its definately worth a look if you like horror, even though this is NOT A HORROR FILM, or if you like Dramas! Great movie****
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on March 22, 2014
I'm not about to give away any spoilers, but this is one strange film with two excellent stars (Lee Grant and Carol Kane). If you like your films so unusual that you will be questioning what you see on the screen, this is the film for you. This use to show on TV, but in a highly edited version back in the late-70's & early-80's. Scorpion Releasing does a great job transfering this film from a new negative in its original aspect ratio. Recommended for fans of strange films.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2012
Scorpion Releasing has consistently put out a quality product and The Mafu Cage is no exception. While this DVD transfer is not from the original negative, Scorpion has done a wonderful job finding the best surviving print available; the colors are rich and vibrant and perfectly captures the flamboyantly colorful set and Carol Kane's amazing wardrobe and make-up.

Interestingly, the title card for this DVD transfer reads, "Deviation" and you can clearly see the film breaks as the title flashes on and off the screen, replacing the original film title. Changing a film's name was common practice for many drive-in distributors who hoped to fool their audiences into thinking the film was a current release. Quentin Tarantino paid homage to this ruse in his film, Death Proof.

In addition to a clean, vibrant 1.78:1 transfer, Scorpion has packed this DVD with loads of extras. There are two audio commentary tracks, one with Director Karen Arthur and one with Director of Photography John Bailey and Editor Carol Littleton. There are four separate interviews, a fascinating forty-four minute talk with Karen Arthur (a Hollywood original, who helped pave the way for other female directors like, Kathryn Bigelow), a half-hour interview with John Bailey and Carol Littleton, a fun twenty minute interview with Carol Kane and an incoherent sixteen minute ramble with Lee Grant. Also, there is a deleted scene, alternate title cards and a sixty-one image black and white photo gallery.

Although the soundtrack is mono (the way it was filmed) the sound is crisp and clear and the film's music and score are perfectly balanced; it is specifically powerful during Carol Kane's maniacal scenes.

If you are a fan of The Mafu Cage, you will not be disappointed with the love and care that Scorpion put into this DVD project.
I am very thankful for independent companies like Scorpion and Code Red who are archiving and preserving the underground, drive-in and art films that are, too often, unjustifiably forgotten. Keep up the great work!!!
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on October 15, 2014
Good movie, very unusual.
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