Once upon a time, it was pretty much a given that any dark-skinned, non-Christian native tribes encountered by a European explorer hero
would be consumers of human flesh
. The stereotypical Cannibal Tribe are Always Chaotic Evil
, dress in very little
but for the Skeletons in the Coat Closet
, and live in wooden huts around a large fire with an enormous cooking pot sitting on top of it.
may be already there, trying to make them change their ways, or he might be in our hero's party... or those might be his bones adorning the chief's throne.
Often provide the Angry Natives for a Chased by Angry Natives
scene. Contrast Noble Savage
Supertrope of Captured By Cannibals
and the related exploitation film
genre, Cannibal Film
. Contrast with Cannibal Clan
, where the cannibals are just a family. Subtrope of Humans Are Bastards
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- Several stories in the early years of The Phantom featured cannibal tribes, including a few tribes in the Phantom's own neighborhood who were officially reformed, but prone to backsliding when they thought he wasn't looking. One later story ends with the Phantom placing the villain of the piece in the custody of one of these tribes, encouraging good behaviour by warning him of their history. He carefully neglects to mention that since then, not only have they kicked the cannibalism, but they have all become vegetarians.
- In the Savage Sword of Conan comics, Conan encountered a cannibal tribe who believe they can become invincible for a short time by "eating the moon", which they accomplish by devouring the flesh of a Human Sacrifice bathed in moonlight. They're absolutely correct, though their invulnerability may be powered by belief. Conan defeats them by "slaying" the moon — he releases a cloud of smoke from a special pellet, which completely obscures the night sky.
- There's a Cannibal Tribe in Nation, but aside from being terrifying raiders who take human prisoners for slaves (and dinner), they're really quite reasonable... and not nearly as terrifying as First Mate Cox.
- Elements of this turn up in the South Seas Treasure Game from the 1981 novel Dream Park.
- Heart of Darkness: one of the only African characters Marlow describes as an individual is among a group of rowers for the European explorers (for lack of a better term), and they are described as being cannibals, but considerate enough not to practice that while Europeans are watching.
- Friday's tribe in Robinson Crusoe. Despite his friendship with Friday, Crusoe remains convinced that Friday's people will eat him if he ever ventures over there, despite Friday's insistence otherwise. They later rescue a Spaniard and Friday's father from being eaten by another group of cannibals.
- The natives of Tsalal in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.
- The Wendol in The 13th Warrior.
- Courtship Rite features the very rare non-villainous version; the entire population of Geta has been forced into cannibalism, and, over the centuries, has made it a proud part of their culture.
Live Action TV
- Rolemaster Shadow World setting supplement Star Crown Empire and the Sea of Fates. They like to eat explorers searching for the Elephants' Graveyard in the Chimen jungle in G'thal.
- Kingdom Rush Frontiers features these as the vast majority of the enemies you face in the jungle stage.
- Monkey Island features a former Cannibal Tribe that has since turned towards vegetarianism.