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Captured by Cannibals
"De cannibals is hungry and de whites am in a stew."
Little Nemo (1908 musical version), "Cannibal Barbecue"

One specific, discredited version of I'm a Humanitarian is the idea that when missionaries or other people from the "civilized world" encounter "natives" in a locality, they are in danger of being eaten by them. They may initially think they are being treated as a respected guest or even a god, but then, without fail, out come the pots and the chanting.

Jungle Drums and a Tribal Carry may well be involved. If they escape, they can expect to be Chased by Angry Natives.

Sometimes, the eating aspect isn't as stressed, but the idea remains that the outsider will be attacked and sacrificed instantly upon entering foreign territory.

See also Wacky Wayside Tribe, Cannibal Tribe, Cannibal Clan, Hollywood Natives.


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  • There exists a whole mini-genre of exploitation films centred on this trope; for examples, see Cannibal Film.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean had this with a tribe that captured Jack and several of his crew. This example is a good illustration of this trope being discredited. At first, the natives doing this were identified as Caribs, and the few surviving Caribs complained that they were cannibals is a false accusation against them.
  • Muppet Treasure Island has an isle of wild boars who worship Benjamina Gunn (Miss Piggy) as a god, and attempt to cook the heroes. Naturally, the Swedish Chef is on the island as their chef. Definitely played for laughs.
  • Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are captured by cannibals in Road to Zanzibar. The cannibals think Hope and Crosby are white gods... until, that is, the cannibals decide to test their divinity by having Hope get into a sidesplittingly hilarious wrestling match with a gorilla.
  • Spoofed in Surf's Up. Chicken Joe is captured by native penguins who put him in a pot, which the oblivious Joe mistakes for a hot tub. He eventually befriends them with roast squid on a stick, which the natives find it Tastes Like Chicken.
  • The 1985 movie of King Solomon's Mines has The Hero and The Chick being thrown into an enormous cooking pot. They escape by swimming back and forth until the pot turns over and they roll away downhill.
  • Played with in the second Crocodile Dundee movie in this scene where Mick's Aborigine friends (one of which is called Charlie by Mick) are holding some of the drug lord's men prisoner.
    [Aborigine speaks in Aborigine]
    Charlie: No mate we just hold them.
    Sue: What did he say?
    Charlie: [winking] He wants to know if we're allowed to eat these men.

  • Actually used fairly straight in two novels of The Culture. In Consider Phlebas, the protagonist encounters a group of natives who are at first welcoming, but then try to eat him. He literally pulls Regret Eating Me on them, as his Bloody Murder powers ensure death to anyone taking a bite of him. Also, in Use of Weapons, the protagonist is tortured and sacrificed by natives on a planet he lands on, and is down to Losing Your Head by the time he is rescued, and needs a new body as a result.
  • In Evelyn Waugh's novel Black Mischief, the black tribesman are cannibals in the fictional East African country in which the novel is set. Ultimately, one group of characters has a plane crash/is slaughtered by them, and one of the protagonists ends up eating them, not realizing what or who he is eating until the natives tell him.
  • A non-culinary example: In Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Burning Tower, Arshur the Wanderer enters Aztlan with the other heroes and is immediately crowned king. He's given four virgins as body servants, a palace to live in, everyone in the city follows his every order... and a week later he's drugged, dragged to the top of a pyramid, and is "sent to the gods" by having his heart cut out and sealed in a stucco wall.
  • This is one of the biggest fears of Robinson Crusoe. He eventually acquires one of the cannibals as a faithful servant he names Friday, but 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 children's book series Koziolek Matolek has most of the fourth book devoted to Matołek captured by a cannibal tribe in Africa. He manages to save himself by winning a riddle contest with the chieftain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of The Goodies had the lads placed in a native cooking-pot. They got out of it by encouraging the natives to cook "human clear soup" - the point being that when cooking clear soup you remove the meat before serving.
  • In one of the more recent Jonathan Creek episodes, the titular character's boss had got in trouble with the media for saying words to the effect of "We'll be eaten alive" while visiting an African nation (He was, apparently, talking about locusts).
  • The Torchwood episode "Countrycide" had the team investigating missing persons. They ended up finding out what happened to the people who went missing when they got captured themselves.
    Tosh: We're food.
  • Captain Redbeard Rum's (offscreen) fate in Blackadder II.
    Blackadder: He was a third-rate captain, but a first-rate second course.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. The crew of Voyager are stranded on a planet, and are captured by a primitive tribe. Neelix says, "They're trying to work out what to make of us...not in a culinary sense, I hope."

  • This is a recurring theme of "Duck" Edwing's one-page "Tales from the Duck Side" comics in MAD magazine.

  • Voltaire's "Cannibal Buffet" is all about this.

  • Appears with the add-on "Devil's Island" table for Balls of Steel, along with a threatening giant scorpion.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Happened a number of times to Little Nemo and his friends. One time a missionary showed up, trying convert the natives to vegetarianism.
  • Disney does not like talking about the way Africans were portrayed in their 1930's Mickey Mouse comics. This trope has a lot to do with that.
  • One comic spoofed this by having an expedition come across the famous lost explorer they were searching for, inside a cooking pot over a fire. After they charge in to rescue him, the indignant explorer complains that he was just having a bath.

    Western Animation 
  • Happened to Rocky and Bullwinkle. Lampshaded and Subverted when they pointed out that since they're not human it's technically not cannibalism.
    • This also happened to Sherman and Mr. Peabody during one of their segments on a trip to meet Dr. David Livingston. Peabody got them out of it by impressing the cannibals with some showmanship.
  • Mystery, Inc. is captured by cannibals in Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword. The boys are going to be eaten and the girls are going to be married to the chief.
  • The Legend of Korra: It's implied that this happened to Bumi. While walking around the fog with his siblings, he started having flashbacks of this event. Even though his siblings believed that his stories were fabricated, it's pretty clear that this one really did happen.

  • Subverted with the vegetarian "cannibals" in the the Monkey Island series. They still capture Guybrush, but afterwards they stand around and debate whether or not it would be healthy to eat him. They're also notably more annoyed by the fact that you stole their bananas than anything else.
    • In Curse of Monkey Island, the cannibals have relocated... and gone vegetarian. Doesn't stop them from trying to Appease the Volcano God, but fortunately the volcano is lactose-intolerant and on a very carefully regulated diet.
  • Your explorer can be captured by a cannibal tribe in a certain Random Event in The Wager. They won't eat you, but if you don't have the proper items or pick the right choices in the event, some of your crew may suffer horrible fates.
  • Jungle Hunt combines this trope with Save the Princess.
  • In one Leisure Suit Larry game, there's a part where Larry runs off into a jungle and the player assumes control of his girlfriend, at which point she has to find him, and help him escape from lesbian cannibals.
  • The Last of Us has this be the setup for the winter section.

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Captain CrashAdded Alliterative AppealCar Cushion

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