Cannibal the Musical was Trey Parker and Matt Stone's first film.
The film begins with a reenactment of the gruesome events of cannibalism as described by the prosecuting attorney during Alferd Packer's trial in 1883. Packer insists that things happened differently than what has been recounted, and begins to tell his story to journalist Polly Pry (Toddy Walters) through flashback.
In 1873 a group of miners in Provo, Utah hear of new gold discoveries in Breckenridge and decide to travel to Colorado Territory to stake a claim. After the original guide dies from a lightning strike, Packer is nominated as the replacement since he claimed knowledge of the area. He and his trusty horse, Liane, set off with five miners, Shannon Wilson Bell, James Humphrey, Frank Miller, George Noon, and Israel Swan, on what Packer estimates will be a three week journey.
Four weeks later, they become convinced they are lost. At a nearby frontier post, they run into a group of three fur trappers, led by the diminutive Frenchy Cabazon. The trappers despise the miners, “diggers” as they call them, yet seem to like Packer’s horse. They tell the group they are heading towards Saguache. The next day, Packer wakes up to discover his horse and friend, Liane, is missing. The men press on and cross the Green River near the Utah border. The group asks Packer if there are any other big rivers that they will have to cross to which he replies, “Oh no, just the Colorado River.”
Eventually, the Packer party is spotted by two “Nihonjin” Indians (obviously played by Asians and speaking Japanese). They are taken back to the tribe where they learn the trappers are waiting for the winter storm to pass as recommended by the chief.
The story returns to the present time, where Polly continues her research of Packer’s story by herself. The next day, Packer is sentenced to death by hanging. Polly visits Packer once again in prison, where he continues his story, and she reveals her growing affection for him through song.
The men set out in the wilderness after Packer learns the trappers have already left. The group begins to suspect that Packer is really only interested in following the trappers to find his horse. They soldier on until they encounter the foreboding Cyclops who recalls how a Union soldier shot out his eye in the Civil War. He realizes Packer's men are not “Southern boys” after they can not finish the lyrics to Dixie. They escape and the badly frostbitten Swan tries to cheer everybody up with a song about building a snowman.
They soon run out of food, resorting to eating their shoes as they become lost in the snow covered Rocky Mountains. Out of frustration, Bell shoots Swan in the head because he does not appreciate his (Swan's) Pollyanna-esque perspective on their predicament. The men discuss their dire situation that night over the fire, speaking of the cannibalism that the Donner Party had to resort to in California. They decide to consume the body of their dead companion, but “not the butt”. Only Bell refuses. A few more days leads to talk of sacrificing one of their own. Packer convinces them for one more chance for a scouting trip, but when he returns, Bell has killed the others. Packer is forced to kill Bell.
The sheriff of Saguache finds and arrests Packer for cannibalism. Liane has taken to Frenchy Cabazon. Packer is saved at the gallows by the effort of Liane and Polly. They had gotten a stay of execution from the governor which states that Packer could not be convicted of a state crime since Colorado was not a state at the time of the incident. Cabazon tries to trigger the gallows. The Indian chief saves Packer and kills Cabazon. Polly and Packer kiss only to be attacked by a still-alive Bell.
The film began as a 3-minute trailer made for film class which drew much attention. Parker and Stone began shooting the full-length movie after raising about $70,000. The film was shot during weekends and on spring break in 1993, and according to Ian Keldin (Bell), most of the crew failed their film history class as a result. Early in shooting, Trey Parker was thrown from one of the horses playing "Lianne", fracturing his hip.
This film was originally titled Alferd Packer: The Musical in 1993. It was not released until 1996, however, when Troma Entertainment picked it up and renamed it Cannibal! The Musical out of concern that not enough people outside of Colorado knew who Packer was. Few people outside of Colorado ever saw the film since Troma did not distribute it widely. Parker and Stone's animated satire South Park debuted the following year.
Following Matt and Trey's success with South Park, Troma re-released the movie on VHS and DVD and it has enjoyed a cult following. The DVD contains a "Drunken Director's Commentary" where Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with most of the cast get drunk as they watch the movie, although there are a few times when the commentary cuts out (either because the recorder was turned off or they spoke of things they later decided nobody should hear).
Several live productions of the show have been mounted, with excerpts from one live version available on the DVD.
This movie has since been released on UMD for the Sony PSP. A special edition 13th anniversary DVD was released by Troma with added features, including all new interviews with the cast and crew. (See below.)
John Hegel as Isreal Swan
Ian Harden as Shannon Wilson Bell
Robert Muratore as Frenchy Cabazon
Andrew Kemler as Preston Nutter
Edward Henwood as O.D. Loutzenheizer
Masao Maki as the Cheif
variouse horses as Liane
All the songs in the movie were written by Trey Parker.
Shpadoinkle Day- Performed by Trey Parker
Shpadoinkle Day Reprise- Performed by Ian Harden, Dian Bacher, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and John Hegel
All I'm Askin For-Performed by Dian Bacher, Ian Harden, Matt Stone, John Hegel, Trey Parker and Jason McHugh
On Top Of You- Performed by Trey Parker
Trapper Song- Performed by Trey Parker (dubbing Robert Muratore's voice) Edward Henwood and Andrew Kemler
This Side of Me- Performed by Toddy Walters
Lets Build a Snowman- Performed by John Hegel
Lets Build a Snowman Reprise- Performed by John Hegel
Thats All I'm Askin For Reprise- Performed by Trey Parker, Ian Harden, Dian Bacher, Jason McHugh and Matt Stone
Hang the Bastard- Performed by the town of Saughache
On Top of You Reprise- Performed by Toddy Walters
Shpadoinkle Finale- Performed by Trey Parker and Toddy Walters
There have been several amateur productions of Cannibal! The Musical since 1996.
In 2008, The Rival Theatre Company produced the first large-scale professional production. The show ran from July 31 to August 25 at the George Square Theatre, Edinburgh for a total of 26 performances. It starred Aimie Atkinson as Polly Pry and James Topping as Alferd Packer. Original film cast member Jason McHugh made a guest appearance as Mr. Mills. .
Another production was planned in London, England but Jason McHugh pulled the rights a week before the show was ment to open. Appently theres a production planned by McHugh. Infact the only company that was allowed to do the play after this announcment was the "Stink Bomb" production in Winnipeg, Manitoba which starred and was produced by teens.
There was also a popular Las Vegas show that featured Eric Cartman as a character for some reason.