CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST | MOVIE REVIEW

I have seen a lot of depraved movies in my life, I even bought tickets to the premiere of SALO when I was about 25 with a mate after it got released from it’s banning in Australia. I sat through that and watched my mate leave the cinema multiple times to vomit, I was fascinated and glued to the screen, even own my own copy of that one (still trying to work out how to review it though :)). This one was released in 1980 and after release the director was arrested for making a snuff film. The visuals and effects are so real, that still to this day it is classified as one in the top three of the 50 Most Disturbing Movie of All Time (Complex) and also in the top 5 of nearly every other similar list, it should be noted he was acquitted. When a Blu Ray collector’s edition was sent to me this year (the film’s ban in Australia was only lifted in 2005) I put it on my shelf urging myself to see it, I just couldn’t do it. I sent the copy to Kernel Andrew, surprisingly he had seen it as a younger version of himself, he is the horror guru, and he enjoys the movie, win win, he scored a present I do not want back. It is at this point I will warn you the first time – this movie is horrific – I mean FUCKING HORRIFIC, I have specifically included horrendous images in the article because if you even want to know about this movie, if you ever want to see it, be comfortable with what Andrew discusses and with the images below, because this film is NOT FOR EVERYONE!! It is not BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, although it should be mentioned this is for all accounts, purposes and searching, the very first “found footage” movie. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is out now, can be bought from JB or other online places, is rated a very heavy R18+ and runs for 95mins. Salty Popcorn received the copy with thanks to Siren Visual.  

 

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

Thirty five years ago Ruggero Deodata helmed a movie which many still regard as one of the most controversial movie ever made. The film in question is CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. This movie is now being re-released for you to “enjoy” in the comfort of your own living rooms. I first saw this movie as a teenager and quite literally can still remember the visceral reactions that it provoked in me. I moved from outright revulsion to sick fascination.

The movie in essence is something that we have seen many many times over the years. But back in 1980 this type of movie was virtually unheard of. I would go so far to say that CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST started the trend in “found footage” movies. The movie follows a team of American film-makers into the Amazon basin. This team is in search of a previous expedition who disappeared without a trace after making contact with a cannibal tribe. The movie that we see is for all intents and purposes the found footage not of the first expedition but of the second and events that lead to their grisly demise. I would warn even at this early stage if you are at all offended (and many times I questioned my own sensibilities in this area) to degrading scenes of  rape, murder, torture, sex,  mass killing and castration you really have stumbled into the wrong movie. There is no let up, no subtle winks to the camera that this is just “make believe” it is all too sickeningly real. Perhaps this is in essence CANNIBAL HOLOCAUSTS power? Deodato even sprinkles the found footage with actual footage of these kinds of acts along with real executions.

 

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST MOVIE IMAGE
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE IMAGE

 

For me the hardest part of the movie to explain to my own inner conscience is the actual depiction of wild animals being slaughtered. Doing a bit of research into the movie this is the only part of the movie that Deodato himself regrets filming. I know of no other movie where animals are literally killed in front of your eyes. I can’t really comment, I am a die-hard carnivore and have even killed animals myself. But always for food as painlessly as possible never for “entertainment”. Deodato explained that the death of these animals was used to shock the urban mindset of the viewing audience.That in the movie the animals being slaughtered were in service to feeding the fictional film crew. Nonetheless it is shockingly horrific and all to real.

But there is some thin veil of morality to the proceedings. For instance when the film-makers actually encounter the tribe they are depicted as the actual savages. They are shown as the ones instigating rape and killing in order to obtain the sensational footage they know will play well to domestic audiences in their comfortable urban lives back home. Deodato even points out in the commentaries that this was the exact reaction to his dailies when he screened them to his producers. The financiers would witness the rushes and basically bay for more blood, more gore and more killing. Perhaps in his own way Deodato was making an ironic statement about the whole thing.

 

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST MOVIE IMAGE
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE IMAGE

 

Make no mistake the brutality of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is ever present and unrelenting. So much so that when the movie wrapped Deodato was put on trial in Italy for murder. It was believed he actually killed people as well as animals in the making of this picture. So real were the depictions. He was found innocent by eventually being allowed to bring all the actors in the movie to court. He was nonetheless fined heavily for animal cruelty and had his movie banned for over 3 years in Italy. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST was banned in over 40 countries with the Australia only lifting the ban in 2005.

No matter what you think of this movie it has had a profound effect on film-makers. Directors such as Oliver Stone and Tarantino regularly discuss it as a movie that profoundly affected them and made them question the whole medium. One can see it’s marked impact as well on the horror genre overall. In fact it spurred a whole lot of cannibal movies in its homeland of Italy. Each though are just degenerate versions with none of the impact. They all have a veneer where you know what you are watching is not real. This cannot be said of this particular movie.

 

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST MOVIE IMAGE
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE IMAGE

 

I would just like to warn people once again that CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is not under any circumstances a typical horror movie. I am a horror head and there are parts of this movie that are honestly psychologically disturbing. I seriously can’t recall ever having seen a film so morally questionable, so uncompromising in its viciousness. It is so unflinching in the unrelenting atrocities that it brings to the screen. I think in my entire movie watching life I have not been so profoundly disturbed by this level of brutality. Those that know me realise that is a lot as I have regularly chuckled my way through Hostel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other horrors.

As a landmark I have to give this 4 pops. Whatever the mark it is a movie that stays with you and perhaps not in a good way.

 

4 Pops