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on August 26, 2005
`Cannibal Holocaust' is widely regarded as one of the most intense, affecting horror films ever, at least amongst the sorta viewer who would actually have seen this movie. I'd agree with this assessment. This film seems slightly less well known than `Cannibal Ferox', though I can't imagine why. On top of being far better made, it's a lot more outrageous and offensive as well. So, if you've seen that film, and weren't particularly impressed, don't just ignore `Cannibal Holocaust'. Certainly, it's still got many of the flaws that come with low-budget horror film making, mostly being that the acting is often pretty amateurish and the dialogue fairly blasé. But, as H.G. Lewis said, no one ever walked out of `Blood Feast' because the police investigator couldn't act, and I think the same can be said of the guide or professor or whoever in `Cannibal Holocaust'. And, again, these are standard shortcomings of the genre. If you can't live with the acting in this movie, you shouldn't be watching this sorta movie in the first place. But, if you do like this kinda thing, `Cannibal Holocaust is about as good as it gets.

Now, lotsa cheap horror films are fun to watch: They have cool gore or nice atmosphere or camerawork or whatever. But few are really all that powerful or intense. `Cannibal Holocaust' is, partially because of how it is structured. The film concerns the investigation into the disappearance of 4 documentary filmmakers down in South America. This allows for a sort of dual narrative, as we watch a professor and some others go search for them, then, and find that they're dead, but that their film reels survived, and so we watch them during the second half of the movie. This provides an interesting contrast, as the first half of the film is shot pretty as any film of this sort would be shot. It's well done, by the standards of this sort of thing, but not remarkable. But, the second half of the movie, specifically the film within the film, is shot in a very rough, pseudo-documentary style. The transition from the traditional filmmaking style to the mock-documentary is very effective, as the contrast heightens the relative realism of the tape. Of course, the documentary isn't terribly realistic, if you think about it all that much, as the acting is still questionable at times (though definitely better than the rest of the film) and it's all kinda theatrically amateurish, but it still tends to feel very realistic at the time anyway. Though, getting back to that, I actually think the acting by Yates' team is pretty good. Yeah, it's kinda hammy, but it fits their personalities. They've got a totally destructive and adolescent mindset going into the jungle, so their yelling and pranking all actually makes quite a bit of sense.

I can't precisely say what the appeal of this film is. With most gory horror films, I just kinda gawk at the extremity and ingenuity of the violence and the gore fx. As far as I can tell, there is nothing of real world violence in it. But, this is different. `Cannibal Holocaust' addresses violence in a more visceral sense, and it's not a fun movie, but it's got an undeniable appeal. The violence is often more about the violence itself, rather than just the gore, emphasizing the cruelty and brutality of the aggressor. (Most clearly displayed in how they callously hack off their guides leg when he gets bit by a snake, more interested in documenting it then helping him, and how the crew dances around and celebrates as they decimate the Yakumo village, and later how the Yanonamo just continue to hack away at their dismembered corpses, on and on. etc.) What can I say, it's just got a real gruesome intensity that makes it unsettling and yet compelling. Occasionally, I'd say it goes slightly too far, such as the rape scenes that seem to go on forever, and the forced abortion scene, which I really could've lived without.

Some people argue that these cannibal films aren't horror movies, and while it may vary on a film to film basis, `Cannibal Holocaust' is definitely a horror film. There is no adventure in the various treks through the jungle, just horror and death. And it just does a brilliant job of building things up and up, with ever increasing horrors throughout the film within the film. And the climax puts it all together perfectly, with the wild, amateurish camerawork and frantic pacing. The gore effects aren't up to modern standards, but they're extremely good for the time, and are surprisingly convincing. There is quite a bit of animal violence in this film, so if that bothers you ya oughta stay away. I don't find this kinda thing morally offensive, though it can be pretty nasty, particularly the killing and dismembering of a turtle, which is pretty much the grossest thing, ever. Also, there's is a *lot* of sexual violence, so if that bothers you too much, you'll need to steer clear. Suffice to say, if you've ever been offended by any violent movie, you probably oughta give this a pass.

The score is perhaps slightly overbearing, but it's very memorable and quite powerful. Definitely heightens the impact of the more graphic scenes.

This film is not yet released in Region 1, but Grindhouse is supposed to be putting it out in late October. This may yet be delayed, however, as a couple companies have refused to print it due to the offensive artwork. (Presumably, it's the naked, impaled native chick that's on the cover which is making them balk. And, of course, the guys over at Grindhouse are crying censorship, and claiming the cover is 'banned', which is bullcrap. They're aren't preventing the DVD from being produced, they're just refusing to help. Claiming that is censorship is like claiming that your censoring a graffitti artist if you refuse to let him spray paint all over your house. Of course, they're also claiming this is the 'most controversial film ever' which is ridiculous, so maybe they're just trying to be showmen and hype this up as much as possible. But, whatever) Anyway, I doubt it'll be too long, and that version is doubtless going to be the best one in any Region. Personally, I have the Region 0 EC Entertainment version, and it looks pretty good, but I'm sure the Grindhouse one will top it in all areas.

Worthy of its reputation. I'm done.

Grade: A
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When "Entertainment Weekly" put out a feature earlier this year naming the 25 most controversial films of all time, there were only a couple that I hadn't seen. Of course, me being me, I immediately went out and bought those titles--one of which was "Cannibal Holocaust." Now I realize that any list of this type is somewhat arbitrary, but the DVD packaging itself proclaims this to be "The Most Controversial Movie Ever Made." Indeed, the film is made in a pseudo-documentary style that caused many to believe the atrocities depicted had actually happened. The filmmakers were arrested and required to produce the cast members (who had died in the film) to disprove the film's "reality"--oh, the innocence of 1980. Subsequently, the film was banned many places internationally (or cut up). Quite a history. Well, I've never been accused of skirting controversy--so I jumped into "Cannibal Holocaust" head first.

Often cited as a huge influence on "The Blair Witch Project," "Cannibal" is shot with hand held cameras and filmed from the perspective of the fictional filmmakers. Four documentarians enter the South American jungles hoping to locate and record footage of actual flesh-eaters that still reside in the modern world. Aided by local guides, they integrate with different tribes as they go deeper into their quest. And being modern white men and women, they go with their usual bravado and superiority.

Of course, the crew will meet more than they expect! An interesting aspect of the film is that the quartet of "heroes" are not presented in a particularly good light. No, they are modern "savages" who value those they encounter as less than human. Much of the film's nastiness comes from the white "protagonists" as they pillage, plunder, and assault the natives. So even as you know they are headed for disaster, there is almost a retribution factor to it when it actually happens. The performances are surprisingly good, but the characters are far from likable. Not for the squeamish, "Cannibal Holocaust" features real animal kills, much gore, rape, brutality, and plenty of good old-fashioned eating sequences.

Many people will debate whether this film qualifies as "entertainment"--and I can see that there would be equal camps on either side of this issue. It is, indeed, an unpleasant experience. It will generate feelings one way or another. I can't imagine someone sitting through "Cannibal Holocaust" and being apathetic--no, there will be shock, disgust, disappointment, or relief. The power to evoke real emotion is the strength of the movie, and whether you love it or hate it--there is no denying its visceral impact and that it has stirred some reaction from you (generally a strong one). "Cannibal" doesn't qualify as "high art," but it is a successful underground film. It has been much studied and much copied in the lexicon of horror filmmaking. For that reason alone, it deserves its notoriety. The handsome and informative 2 disc set is an added bonus. But at 3 stars, I'm telling you that this isn't for the casual viewer. I can't say that "Cannibal Holocaust" is my new favorite movie, but I understand its place in film history. KGHarris, 12/06.
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on September 18, 2005
Filmed in the deep, harsh jungles of Amazonia in 1979, Ruggero Deodato's cannibal tale is a gritty film that also has something to say about it's own excesses and extremes when taken in regards to the media and how it portrays violence.

Grindhouse Releasing's new October 25th release, which has been dealt with much critisiscm due to it's numerous delays, has had 8 printers worldwide refuse handling their artwork due to the supposed offensive nature of the inside of the cover art. This would not be the first time this film has been met with such regard; Deodato and company were originally hauled off to court to prove the all-to-convincing effects weren't real.

The film is purportedly banned in over 60 countries, and that simple fact alone has only added to it's notoriety; in 1995, Lucertola Media in Germany printed only 1000 copies of it's haunting, incredible soundtrack, which may be one of the best ever realized for this kind of film. The film itself has popped up in many countries, in a surprising amount of cropped and various forms, leaving some left in wonder and doubt as to what it's true uncut form really is. Many believed at one point there was a version including the infamous "pirahna baiting" sequence, but it has since been learned that scene was only photographed, and never actually shot.

There are two narratives which drive the film; it's second half takes on a pseudo-documentary style exactly as that seen in "The Blair Witch Project." This is also the most harrowing part of the film. It's first half consists of a New York City Professor who is sent to the jungles in search of four missing documentary filmmakers. He is led on this journey by a guide and a Yacumo prisoner, who "is like a passport into the green inferno."

The Last Road To Hell sequence, notorious and infamous in it's own right due to the fact that much of the footage is supposedly real, (shot out of Uganda), and this sequence is the very bridge that fills gap between the first and second half. This is the sequence that introduces us to the "footage" that is found by the filmmakers, which in turn, leads us into the films most devestating aspects. There are many ghastly atrocities commited in the first half of the film, but what proceeds to unfold in it's final half hour/45 minutes is nothing compared ot the first.

The film still stands today as a grueling testimony to the ugliness of 70's ultra violent exploitation filmmaking; it is remarkable viewing, but it's also not for everyone. Everything you have heard about this film stands true on it's own terms, and is a must see for anybody with the stomach to take it.

One of the most devastating atrocities ever commited to cinema. A true nightmare.
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on January 1, 2008
I went into Cannibal Holocaust expecting it to have very little dignity, and a whole lot of shocking gore and violence. However, what I saw was quite the opposite: The gore was just as bad as any other movie, except for in the very end, and this movie actually had a very powerful message, and alot of artistic integrity. It seems like it soars over alot of other reviewer's heads, although it's pretty obvious. With scenes like two of the adventurers having sex right after they massacre a peaceful tribe, and one of them cracking a smile at seeing a native impaled on a stake, it becomes clear that there really are no "civilized" characters in the movie.

I highly reccomend it, not to those who expect to see an over the top gorefest, but those looking for a very powerful although not scary horror movie.
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on March 25, 2010
Just thought I'd pass on the word, that this 2008 edition of Cannibal Holocaust from Grindhouse, is in fact the 25th anniversary edition ( just with a new cover and no limited edition numbering).

The discs have the same "film reel" design art work, and even the insert from the 25th anniversary edition is included.

So now you can get your cannibal jollies, without having to pay the close to $100 asking price, for the out of print 25th anniversary edition.
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on November 23, 2014
Grindhouse Releasing outdid themselves with the amazing BD release of Cannibal Holocaust.
Set includes a thick cardboard slipcase, original CD soundtrack in its own separate case, in depth booklet insert, reversible cover art and 2 discs packed with fiery goodness!
This release even gives you the option to watch the movie with or without animal cruelty.
review image
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on August 8, 2008
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST will be a cheap exploitation film to some. And a complete grab your blanky and hot co-co to others(like me :)_ This starts off with a warning note on the movie you are about to see(a lot like another HORROR masterpiece did in 74)while the warning is being shown you are hearing some of the most HAUNTING music put to celluloid. We then are in a plane flying over the coffee like water of the Amazon(No! Not this Amazon) we then jump scenes to New York where a T.V.commentator is telling you the viewer that a so few hours flight can take you to the life of Cannibals(DA DA DUN) We are introduced to 4 very young and brave individuals who will fly to what they call the Green Inferno and document the lives of Cannibals(DA DA DUN)well they don't come back and a T.V. station hires a professor to find them with a search party. To make a long story short he finds cans of film and brings them back to N.Y. to view them. What he and the others(including you the viewer)see is truly HORRIFYING!!! I can only tell you this...I have a vast HORROR collection and no HORROR film has done to me what CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST has done! I'm not saying it is the grossest horror film,nor am I saying its the best horror film. But I will say their is a scene in this movie that made me pause the DVD and get up to go to the bathroom splash water on my face and say YOUR O.K. Clint c'mon just actors having a good time"COUGH"get a hold of yourself...Thats a good lad. If you are looking for blood,blood,BLOOD! Then you might be disappointed. If you are looking for a movie that will make you be grateful for the life you have and cherish each breath you take then my dear friend this is the movie for you...THE ONE THAT GOES ALL THE WAY!!! LONG LIVE THE CAUST!!!!!!!!!!!
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on August 3, 2007
I recently purchased this movie based off of the rave and disturbing reviews I heard about it. Having liked disgusting horror movies in the past I thought I'd give this one a try to test my mettle. I had heard about the animal killings and rape scenes and nudity galore, so I figuerd what the heck. This movie, by far was the most disturbing film I've witnessed. I have a very strong stomach, but even I found myself becoming sick when watching the "turtle" scene.

The rape scenes are rather outrageous and a little too long for my liking(any amount of raping in movies disturbs me, but this was asinine). The countless bashings in the head and dimemberments were nicely done and were what I was expecting all along. But nevertheless, the animal killings will get to you the most, especially if you love the little critters like I do. Rightfully so, I believe the crew that went filming this "documentary" got what they had coming to them. With their torturing of the animals and the tribes' people,I kind of enjoyed watching these sick pukes get what they deserved. What goes around comes around, I suppose.

While this movie did disturb me, I can't help thinking what possesed me to buy it in the first place. I guess I just wanted to see what a true "shockumentary" looked like, and I definitely got it with the film. This flick and the revolting scenes of torture, killings, cannibalism, and animal cruelty will fry your senses. Not for the faint of heart or queazy, this film will stay embedded in your brain for quite some time. I'm nervous to bring this home to my wife once I return from Iraq. She would probably throw up all over me if I made her view it. Maybe it's best if I just sell it to the next private or sergeant coming in. LOL.

I gave this movie 4 stars opposed to five as I found the acting very laughable and cheesy, as well as the voice-overs to be quite bad at times. But that is expected in a film such as this. The gory parts are suprisingly realistic and very well done for that time period. No CGI, so kudos on that to the filmmakers. Overall, you get what you pay for-a sick, twisted, haunting depiction of cannibalism and torture, mixed in with rape and animal cruelty scenes aplenty. If you want a film that will stick with you and make your skin crawl for weeks and weeks to come, this is your scene. Pleasantly disturbing, but one viewing is enough for me. Enjoy.
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on June 6, 2013
I bought the double disc special edition of this movie movie after reading a lot about it. I messed up big time! If I had heeded the warnings of others & went into it blind, I would've enjoyed it much more. The animal killings are just awful (i can still hear that muskrat screaming) and so is some of the subject matter (adulterous woman) but this movie has to be seen & demands your attention. If u are a true horror fan, watch it just to say you've seen it. Just keep in mind that this by gone era of movie making is long gone & theres nothing u can do for those poor animals now. Wow, what does it say when u pity animals more than humans in a movie about cannibalism? I felt nothing for the four people that go off into the jungle & manipulate, stage their own horror & rape the land & people for cinematic value except...they get what they deserve. And rightly so. Ruggero Deodato did a fine job & whether or not u think hes genius or an insane monstrosity, this film is the standard by what "found footage" movies are based and made over 30yrs ago, had some captivating ideas & was before its time in making people believe this was real horror, just not on our continent. People dont want real any more & they didnt then, they only think they do. The real horror movies based on true life, such as An American Crime, are the ones that make us believe that Man is the true Boogeyman. Thats why Henry is on most top 10 lists. Why Inside is such a scary movie. Deodato brings that to light much better than he is credited for. this movie isnt just for shock value but has a message. I just hope u can find it.
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on August 28, 2007
Let me just say this. This movie goes over the limits of any horror movie i've ever seen, and then some. The realism of this film is terrifying, the aspect is disturbing, and the special effects are great. At some points in the movie, you think it's very interesting, and at other points you try to find out why on earth your watching it. This film is also very draining, which I found very unique for a horror movie. After you watch this, the images of it stick in your mind. You basically feel like your mind was raped. This film is DEFINATELY NOT for the weak at heart. I have a very strong stomach when it comes to horror movies, and this even made me squirm. From animal cruelty, to rape, to forced abortion, this film's every aspect will have a great effect on your mind. Forget what you ever thought about films. This may be the first horror movie to ACTUALLY go over the limits. Enjoy it, if you dare to watch it, and let the nightmarish thoughts kick in...
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