Four years before he convinced a generation of comics they were sharp-witted political pundits on Politically Incorrect, and over a decade prior to his current gig railing against “woke” college kids and Islam via Real Time, Bill Maher was a rising stand-up comic who popped up in bit parts on TV shows like Murder, She Wrote and B-movies.
One of those films was Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death.
Released in 1989, it marked the feature directorial debut of J.F. Lawton (under the pseudonym J.D. Athens), who would go on to write Pretty Woman and Under Siege. When the Piranha tribe of cannibal women—who cook and eat men—begin disrupting the avocado supply, the U.S. government tasks feminist-studies professor Margo Hunt (Shannon Tweed) to venture into the Avocado Jungle to try and stop them. She’s joined in her quest by Jim (Maher), a dim-witted chauvinist modeled after Michael Douglas’ Jack in Romancing the Stone, and Bunny (Karen Mistal), a spaced-out undergrad. A demented parody of Apocalypse Now and send-up of second-wave feminism, the movie, which was filmed in two weeks in Riverside, California, has since attracted a cult following.
Much of this is thanks to Maher, who easily slips into the role of a vainglorious, sexist pig, and at one point gets cooked in a cauldron by a group of scantily clad cannibal women.
“There’s still some real men left in this world,” his Jim says to Margo. “Men who haven’t been castrated by the years of feminist propaganda that corrupted the public school system and infected primetime television. Men who believed that nature designed women to cook, nurture children, and pose for Penthouse magazine. Real men see our role in this world is to love, protect, and yes, I’m not afraid to say it, dominate women.”
Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death is one of several rare cult classics offered in the FilmRise Horror app—and the FilmRise Horror channel on Roku—as part of their Summer Horror Highlights series.
Below is a trio of exclusive clips of Maher like you’ve (probably) never seen him before: