Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Hailed as the film banned in the most countries, Cannibal Holocaust is not for the meek. It usually takes a lot to offend or bother me, and this one did.

So be warned, if you decide to settle in for this one – you shouldn’t watch this during dinner, and it’s very visual in it’s violence, sexual assaults, murder, and of course, cannibalism.

Long before The Blair Witch Project came along, this film utilized the idea of found footage. And while I actually like most of the story, and the themes represented therein, some of the film making   choices I’m less than pleased about. Of course over the years, the director has publicly apologized for the worst of them.

Directed by Ruggero Deodato the film follows New York professor Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman) as he hunts down what happened to a documentary crew that came to the Amazon to investigate some of the cannibal tribes that exist in the deep South American jungles.

With his guides, he encounters all the wonders and the terrors of the jungle, including the assault and brutal murder of a tribal woman. Finally arriving in one of the camps up the Tree People, they come across the skeleton shrine made from the documentary crew, as well as their film canisters.

He returns to the steel and concrete jungle and cannibals of a different kind, tv executives, who are eager to broadcast the recovered footage.

With Monroe and his editor we take a look at the footage, and it’s disturbing to say the least. The crew actually go looking for trouble, stirring the pot, and even burning down a village to get the shots they want.

These people are more savage and primitive than the they believe the people they are seeking are, reveling in their perceived superiority and firepower. They are downright gleeful when they come across a poor woman who has been impaled on a pole, until they are reminded the camera is rolling and then behave appropriately somber.

Finally they fall victim to the Tree People, and suffer brutally for all they have done.

The special effects and make-up are so good and realistic that the director was going to be sentenced to jail for murder, until he produced the cast. The same could not be said for a number of animals in the film. Sadly, and shockingly their deaths are real, and graphic, the most infamous of which is the turtle scene.

Oh boy.

Still, I can now say I’ve seen it, and I will most assuredly not see it again. This one I will be happy to slip into the realms of forgetfulness.

And I will once again emphasize that this film is definitely not for the easily offended.

Still the 101 Horror Movies continue…

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