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Cannibal Holocaust (1979)

Cast: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, more...
Director: Ruggero Deodato, Ruggero Deodato
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Grindhouse Releasing, Grindhouse
Genre: Cult, Horror, Italian Horror, Wilderness & Nature, Cannibals
Languages: English

Synopsis
While Umberto Lenzi began the Italian-made cycle of brutal Amazonian cannibal horrors with Il Paese del Sesso Selvaggio and effectively ended it with the nauseating Cannibal Ferox, it was Ruggero Deodato who directed the subgenre's most enduring film. This popular bloodbath features a fetus ripped from a woman's body, people impaled on spikes, a genuine tortoise-flaying, and numerous other indignities, both real and simulated. The plot concerns the efforts of a group of American explorers to discover the fate of a missing documentary film crew. They receive a scratchy film-reel containing the bloody truth from a tribe of tree-dwelling natives, and the reel's contents make up the bulk of the film. Advertisements claimed that "the crew who filmed it were actually devoured alive by cannibals," yet most of them were spotted alive in future unsavory gore films. While the film is undoubtedly gruesome enough to satisfy fans, its mixture of nauseating mondo animal slaughter, repulsive sexual violence, and pie-faced attempts at socially conscious moralizing make it rather distasteful morally as well. The fact that the film's sole spokesperson for the anti-exploitation perspective is played by porno star Richard Bolla should give an indication of where its sympathies lie. ~ Robert Firsching, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Ratings

Cannibal Holocaust (1979)
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7.09 (97 votes)
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Cannibal Holocaust (Bonus Disc) (1979)
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7.48 (25 votes)
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GreenCine Member Reviews

Not what I expected by dakuwaqa73 December 18, 2006 - 1:38 PM PST
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1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Having read about the nastiness of this "video nasty" I was expecting to be so repulsed that I would not be able to watch the movie. However, I found the movie to be kind of tame... certainly not as nasty and gruesome as I had read about. The most disturbing part of the film was how the film crew in the movie behaved - I didn't feel sorry for them at all. And frankly I think htye got what they deserved.

All said and done, I'm glad I saw it. Although not as gruesome as I had expected, I think it's a pretty good movie.

One of the most effective horror films ever made by carlykristen October 13, 2006 - 4:26 PM PDT
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4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
*** May contain possible Spoilers ***

At the beginning of the movie, I was treated to a very long disclaimer from the distributor that they do not want to be blamed for the content provided by the filmmakers. (They do, however, want to make loads of money off of it.) They even went so far as to quote Thomas Jefferson (?!?!), play the opening credits, then provide another disclaimer.

This film has the most interesting history behind. It is famous for the real animal slayings and for being accused of killing real humans. Deodato went to court to prove the film was not snuff and appeared on TV with his actors to prove they were still alive. The film grossed $1.9 million ($5 million today) in the first 10 days of it's opening before the film was banned in it's native country of Italy. Besides for the sheer cruelty and "realness" of the film, they put fake documentary information on their DVD Extras and website (www.cannibalholocaust.net) to pretend this was real. I am not surprised the filmmaker was accused of making snuff.

The basic plot is this: A Professor and Explorers discover the fate of a missing documentary crew that disappeared in the jungle. They locate the missing footage and learn what really happened with the "savages". The Professor finds that after the crew finds the tribe to be docile, they push them to the brink of madness for the sake of good film-making, with disastrous consequences.

It is hard to side with anyone other than the Professor in this. The young crew members are shown at first as just young filmmakers looking for the truth. They have fun together, fall in love, and want to expose the truth. The real truth comes when the Professor discovers their footage and watches their slow decent into chaos. They become savage themselves by first killing animals, then the people. They suffer a horrible fate by the end.

Deodato should be proud for blurring the lines. The direction here is excellent. There is a social commentary at the nasty little heart of this film. It speaks volumes of civilization, the effect of media on society, ethics, morals, etc. This is not a sleazefest as you would think by its outward appearance. There are nuances added to every scene that adds something new to the story. For instance, in one scene the couple in the crew is having sex in the jungle. What adds to the creepiness is when you realize that their friend is filming it. The camera slowly turns and you can see that they forced about 50 villagers to watch this happen to "teach them how Americans have sex." The sex was not put in this film to draw attention, but to draw attention to the complete disregard of humanity.

{Portion of review removed to stay within word limit. View full review at HorrorYearbook.com}

This is an incredibly effective and powerful film. It is too realistic to be considered entertaining, but it is the first film in a long time that made me feel something real. Horror films disappoint many adult lovers of horror today. They can no longer make you squirm or give you nightmares. Well, this one hit home for me. It might be today's events (War on Iraq, Genocide in Africa, Bordertown in Mexico, etc.) that make this all too real. I felt shell-shocked when it was over. I felt like a victim watching this as though I was assaulted too as these are crimes against all of humanity. At the same time, I felt guilty for watching as though I was committing the crimes myself by not intervening. There is a huge blame placed on the rest of society because these crimes do occur everyday and we sit and watch the news and believe everything that is told to us without question. This film will make you either hate mankind or want to hug your neighbor.

I should mention the animal slayings. These are all real. The camera looms over the animals with the gore shown in detail. The worst part is hearing the animals screaming. The muskrat killing was the worst and almost brought me to tears. It took multiple stabbings before it was killed.

The sound quality was decent considering it was shot in a jungle, but there was weird transitioning between dialogue and background noise causing a bit of "popping" in a couple scenes. The film quality of course was fantastic. The look and feel of the film was real giving the viewer the sensation that they were watching actual footage.

Favorite Quote: One of the main characters says, "It's Survival of the Fittest. The strong overcoming the weak," as a little piglet is tied to a stake in the ground, kicked repeatedly, falls down squealing, then is shot for no reason at all. This scene is real. It is said that the actor practiced his lines repeatedly then flubbed them due to the nastiness of this scene. They could not reshoot it as they could not find any more pigs to kill.

DVD Extras: Audio Options, Commentary, and Trailers. "Inside the Green Inferno" gives detailed fake bios for each character, tribes, "New Findings", and the original script.

Bottom Line: Do I think it should be Banned? No. For the disillusioned horror fan of today, I highly recommend this. It will blow your mind. The 25th Year Anniversary Collectors Edition is being released now. But for the weak of heart with weak stomachs, most definitely pass on this. Animal lovers beware.

Rating: 0/10 for the Atrocities and a Perfect 10/10 for Effectiveness.

Molly Celaschi
www.HorrorYearbook.com
MySpace.com/HorrorYearbook

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