The R-Rated Violent Comedy That Made South Park Possible, Stream Without Netflix

By Robert Scucci | Published

  • Cannibal! The Musical is streaming for free on Tubi.
  • Trey Parker of South Park fame directed what was originally called Alferd Packer: The Musical while in college.
  • Troma Entertainment picked up Parker’s film and renamed it Cannibal! The Musical.
  • After South Park blew up, Troma re-released Cannibal for a wider home release.

Can you call yourself a true South Park fan if you’ve never watched Cannibal the Musical? The answer to this rhetorical question is “no,” because to truly understand the warped minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, you need to understand their origin story. That’s right, origin stories aren’t strictly reserved for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Cannibal the Musical is the origin story that you need to eat up just like Alferd Packer (allegedly) ate up his traveling companions as portrayed in the film. 

The Life (Sort Of) Of Alferd Griner Packer

cannibal the musical

Based very loosely on the life of Alferd Griner Packer, who was the sole survivor of a mountain traversing expedition across Colorado Territory during the winter of 1874, Cannibal the Musical is a graphic satirical retelling of how things happened as Trey Parker imagines in his directorial debut. 

From College Project To Studio Release

Cannibal the Musical was shot on a shoe-string budget of $125,000 during weekends and spring break while Parker and Stone were attending University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993. Originally bearing the name Alferd Packer: The Musical, it was renamed in 1996 when Troma Entertainment picked up the distribution rights and gave it a general home media release. Troma feared that not enough people outside of Colorado would know who Alferd Packer was, and felt that the updated name would help the movie sell better to a broader audience.

Trey Parker, in his infinite wisdom, credited himself as Juan Schwartz, which was the real-life alias Packer used while hiding from authorities in Wyoming after resorting to cannibalism. 

The Cannibal Sings

cannibal the musical

Cannibal the Musicals plot is exactly how it sounds: people get eaten, and while they’re getting eaten you’ll find yourself dancing along to some seriously certified bangers likeShpadoinkle,” “That’s All I’m Asking For,” and “Let’s Build a Snowman.” 

A Story About Friends Eating Friends

Cannibal the Musical isn’t just about cannibalism, however, but rather the friends Alferd Packer made, lost, and ate along the way during his ill-fated journey. Over the course of several weeks, Packer and his crew find themselves lost in the wilderness, get injured by bear traps laid out by trappers, have intense arguments about music theory (namely the use of relative minor modes in relation to their tonic key signatures), and ultimately turn on each other as they run low on supplies and resort to cannibalism. 

Trey And Liane

cannibal the musical

But there is also a love story found within Cannibal the Musical’s narrative. Alferd Packer’s horse, Liane, is actually named after Trey Parker’s ex-fiancée, Lianne Adamo, who Parker discovered was cheating on him shortly before their wedding. Funnily enough, Parker was also hurt by the fictional Liane and endured a hairline hip fracture after being thrown from one of the many horses used during production.

Knowing this backstory elevates the humor found within Cannibal the Musical because when Parker’s Packer passionately sings “When I Was on Top of You,” it’s hard to ignore the obvious double entendre. 

The Predictable Reception

If you’re familiar with the rest of Troma Entertainment’s catalog, then you won’t be surprised that Cannibal the Musical was a hit with audiences, but not seen as favorably by critics. To date, this Parker and Stone creation has an 82 percent audience score across thousands of ratings compared to its less-than-desirable 63 percent critical score across 19 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

After South Park

After South Park achieved an unthinkable amount of mainstream success, Troma Entertainment re-released Cannibal the Musical on DVD in 2008, giving it a much wider distribution compared to previous releases. South Park fans who were unaware of Cannibal the Musical were finally able to own and celebrate the cult-classic that kicked off both Parker and Stone’s creative partnership. Presently, Cannibal the Musical can be streamed in all of its absurd violent glory on Tubi.