46 of 58 people found the following review helpful
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!!!!!!!!!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
OK, the title for this review has nothing to do w/ my overall opinion of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. However, I feel compelled to say that I HATE the scenes of animal slaughter in this film! I prefer my mutilations to be done through special FX, and NOT in reality! As for the movie itself, it is a classic cannibal movie, far better than any of its imitators (CANNIBAL FEROX, SLAVE OF THE CANNIBAL GOD, etc.). The "found footage" approach was quite fresh and arresting in 1980. The message of "who are the true cannibals? (the tree people? the journalists? The viewers?)" is well presented. The (human on human) violence and gore are extreme, yet necessary to the narrative. HOLOCAUST is meant to be shocking, as well as shaming to our rancid, media-obsessed culture. Should the kids or granny see it? No, unless shown to them by a sadistic psychopath! I'm glad I watched it, but I'm certainly in no hurry to see it again!...
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2014
Definitely the darkest film I've ever watched uncut. It was the only film I've ever felt that I wanted to shower in Napalm after watching and the end is definitely the kicker. Where do I start?
Well I'm not sure this DVD shown here has the alternate cut versions, one sans animal violence and the other a "clean" version minus all the stuff that made this film notorious.
The violence in this film makes SAW look tame and HOSTEL look like a 3 year old's nightmare. I was shocked and horrified despite it's slow pace. It was just brutal from some of the rape sequences to impaling scene, by far animal lovers will probably die watching them dismember the sea turtle. Of all the death in the film, the animals were actually killed on screen including the endangered sea turtle which landed the director a hefty fine.
Overall it's an over-the-top film that has strangely happy music during the most horrible of sequences. I thought I was shocked when they burned the hut down with villagers inside, but that didn't compare to the end. The end was where I began questioning who was really the monster and who was the victims.
DEFINITELY NOT A POPCORN FILM! I recommend watching on an empty stomach, lest you find yourself emptying it later. I think the real terror begins during the end which feels like a documentary gone to hell, when one of the characters screams "We're screwed!" Then the bloodshed begins. The only other film I can recall seeing a castration of a human being was I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (2010), this film was the first.
If you can stomach it, watch it. Otherwise, have a therapist on speed-dial. you're going to need it!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2013
Seeing Ruggero Deodato’s infamous CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST again has heightened further my respect for the film. It’s without doubt the finest film of its genre and one of the few, IMHO, that can withstand severe artistic scrutiny. Am I saying it’s not an exploitation film? Not in the least. HOLOCAUST is a veritable singularity of contradictions. Through the mouthpiece of a character, the film chastises the ironic barbarism of so-called civilized society, denounces our cultural voyeurism of violence (recall that ‘Nam was in the very recent past when this was made), speaks with enlightened anthropological eloquence – all while feeding the very culture it criticizes with the very content it appears to revile. Irony piles upon irony, contradictions entwine serpentine into a Gordian knot. Beyond the catalog of horrors – some of which cause ME to flinch and look away from the screen, and this is not my first time seeing this film – past the guts and grisliness, there is meat for thinking, food for thought. My writing is starting to coil upon itself just like this movie. But the ouroboros of apparent contradictions that magnify the twist of the tail-devouring serpent of archetypal yore are part of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST’s transcendence. It’s just as much daring arthouse as greedy grindhouse. It’s brilliant for the brave viewer willing to plumb its layers. Regarding the film from a creative and technical standpoint, its use of found footage beats “Blair Witch” to the punch by decades – though the footage has a wraparound story also, lacking in BW but which enriches CH – and is more effective. This is partly of course due to the horrifying content – both on the surface and beneath – of HOLOCAUST versus the “Witch”. (No offense to BW, btw, I thought it was a good movie.) But Deodato is also a maestro of horror. His horror is graphic and visually vicious by design, but also equally masterminded is the visceral connection the visceral acts of horror have with emotional, psychological and even spiritual components of his victims the viewers. Deodato, in other words, does what few horror filmmakers have done, by horrifying us on every level, from base gross-out to sublime gut terror, from grisly gore to existential absolute zero, all at once. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST really deserves the “emotional rollercoaster” quote too quickly applied to other, far less impacting films. I would dare say HOLOCAUST is among the upper echelon of truly great horror films. It belongs on the same shelf, call me blasphemer if you will, as the likes of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” and William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist.” It stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of Fulci or Argento. This is stratospheric praise from me. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is a great horror film because it is not only a great horror film but because it transcends genre boundaries by being vivid, searing art. Art is art. Great art is great art. Regardless of its phenomenal form. And GRINDHOUSE RELEASING has given the film a release it deserves. TWO discs and bonus features piled up like innards in a gutmuncher flick. Even an article by the great Chas Balun AND a mini CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST POSTER. The DVDs look like film rolls and are labeled Reel 1 and Reel 2. It’s a badass package from the main guts to the special treats. A smorgasborg of smart horror.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2006
First, I don't know how to effectively rate this, so I'll put five star for the cheer effectiveness of it, but that's irrelevant. I'm not sure it's a movie that's made to be rated in any normal way.
No use rehashing what the plot is once more, suffice to say it's very efficient and was, at the time, pretty innovative. But the plot device would have been moot were it not for the stunning craftsmanship of Ruggero Deodato and co. It's an extremely well done production, and I have never seen anything like it before or since. One of the main protagonist of the movie is often overlooked: the Amazon jungle. It's probably one of the most terrifying place ever rendered in any movie. Cannibal Holocaust wouldn't be half the movie it is were it not for the permanent sense of foreboding one feels amidst the oppressive scenery. It's easy to have empathy, at least on that level, with the film crew. Deodato makes the viewer feel like he's lost in the middle of nowhere, in an incredibly dangerous environment where everything can happen, at any time. By ricochet, this sense of terrible isolation takes its toll on Alan Yates and friends, and is also part of why they snap and produce mayhem on the tribes they later encounter.
The last reel of the crew's footage is probably the most intense thing I've seen on a screen. It is apocalyptic, disorienting, sordid and heartbreaking. In more than one way indeed, Cannibal Holocaust is a sad, despairing movie. And even though, by that time, the viewer is supposed to despise the film crew, it is quite disturbing to see anyone end up that way. The Pirkanen scene is a moment of such savagery, of such disregard for a human being that it stays with you for a long, long time. From his castration to his complete dismembering, it's a vision that will make anyone suffer, one of the most haunting scenes in any film.
I have to add that these scenes, and most of the rest of the movie, wouldn't pack such a punch if it were not for the incredible score by Riz Ortolani, which is the soul of the movie, and the reason why some parts are so hard to watch.
On the touchy subject of the abominable animal killings: perhaps everything and its contrary have already been said about those, but there are some precisions to add.
The "they were killed for food" line of defense doesn't hold under scrutiny, I'm afraid. The shot baby pig wasn't eaten afterwards, but left for dead as is, for one. Secondly, the infamous monkey scene had to be shot twice, so they in effect killed two animals. I highly doubt the friendly tribesmen stuffed their face twice with monkey meat because of the movie's needs, their love of monkey brains notwithstanding. Same as, I'm not quite convinced that tribes people do have goofy fun with turtle guts prior to eating it, when they hunt one. When I saw Pirkanen enjoying his fun and playing with the turtle's severed head (still gasping for air) in front of the camera, I somehow doubt it made his food better.
Same as I'm at a failure to understand how viciously kicking a pig twice before shooting it at close range will make it more tasty, but that's just me.
For those who have the Grindhouse DVD edition, it's said in a crawling text introducing the feature that this matter has been "a subject of regret for everyone involved, Ruggero Deodato included". Allow me to highly doubt that, to say the least. As "recently" as 2003, when the one-hour documentary on the feature was shot for an Italian release, none of the crew involved seemed to regret anything in that area, to put it mildly. Barbareschi (who is the one who shoots the pig, among others) goes even so far as saying he simply didn't give a s*** at the time, and still thinks today that the scenes and the movie "called for it" (i.e. the animal butchering). So please. Enough hypocrisy already. It seems to me that the crawl text regarding the so-called regret of the makers was put there by Grindhouse only to justify what is otherwise a good idea, i.e. offering an "animal-cruelty free" version of the film on the DVD. I don't believe for one second that it is a sincere comment, though. The only ones apparently genuinely disturbed by this aspect of the movie are Carl Yorke and Robert Kerman ("it was like they had pierced heaven," as he put it, in reference to the coatimundi's cries of pain and anguish as it is being slowly and painfully sliced open). Not Deodato, not Barbareschi, despite everything they might tentatively say to the contrary. I also don't find his latest "regrets" (as exposed in the bonuses in a more recent UK blu-ray edition) that much more convincing. One may be a visionary and technically gifted director, and be a slimy hypocrite, cynical bastard as a person at the same time. Which I believe Deodato is.
As it stands, I think the film suffers much from the animal killing crap, and hampers its message provided it does have one. It's the movie's major drawback, as has been said repeatedly before.
No matter what the "message" is, annihilating lives for entertainment's sake is vulgar, cowardly, and inelegant. It's a cheap shot, and plain lazy film-making. Case closed.
All that being said, I think the point is not to like or hate this movie. Its qualities are obvious, as are its few but very nasty drawbacks. The point being, it's an experience unlike anything else in cinema. Whether one wants to have that experience or not should really be an informed decision. The first time I saw it, 25 years ago, I wasn't in the least aware of what was ahead, and at the time I deeply regretted having seen this. Watching it again recently has put, of course, a perspective on the way I see the film, if only because I've read so many things about it since I first saw it, but even so, many of the old sensations came back as the film unfolded when I watched it again.
This is a very, very potent piece of film-making. This is something you can't ever unsee, and it's very unlikely you'll be able to forget some of the imagery once you've seen it, so proceed with caution and don't presume of your resistance to awfulness. This one has shocked many a gore hound...
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2013
Only watch if you have a stomach/ interested in movies like this
Nothing scary about this movie if that's what your wondering it's just really graphic
It's really awesome the last sentence of the movie will have you questioning life !
warning the beginning is kinda boring but you need to watch it to fully understand what's going on !
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2015
This film is Disturbingly graphic and at times painfull to watch, however it is the definition of a cinematic adventure. The gritty realism of this film remains unrivaled, leaving the viewer with sobering sence of life and death. However I recommend only those with strong stomachs view this film as it has earned its reputation.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2010
I think the stigma that still floats around this film--ie. claims that it is the most "shocking", "banned", and "controversial" film of all time, or Grindhouse's fallacious claim that this is the film "that goes all the way!"--is actually doing it a disservice. I would also argue that these claims are grossly inaccurate in this day and age.
True, there were multiple waves of chaos and outrage stemming from the film's release. In fact, Deodato was thought of as a murderer or a "snuff director" and had to produce the living actors in the film in order to clear his name with Italian authorities.
But there is also more to this film than shock, gore, and over-the-top violence. This is what separates Cannibal Holocaust from every other film in this genre. The cover, the description, and the assumed basis of the film lies to you. This is not a shock film about watching tribes cannibalize others.
Robert Kerman makes a pretty good transition from the world of pornography into the world of cannibals. He plays Professor Monroe, "NYU's noted anthropologist", who is commissioned to travel to South American Amazonia to determine the fate of a documentary crew comprised of 4 young adult documentarians. These "brave children of the space age" are partly artists, partly thrill-seekers, and partly sadists. The crew became lost while documenting two primitive tribes on the Orinoco River. Monore is fairly excited about getting in the jungle, and nobody that has been exposed to the jungle can see what interest he could possibly have in the "Green Inferno" (the Rainforest) or in the Amazon "savages".
The film is shot in "found footage" or "gonzo" fashion. This adds a gritty, yet intriguing quality. Perhaps one of the main points that comes across in this film is the uneasiness of the cast. Sure, there was supposed to be some tension built into the script. However, there is a very real, very palpable tension that becomes pervasive and supersedes the actor's roles.
There was a lot of sub-textual communication and struggle evident in the film. The actors appear to have become drained, both physically and mentally, both on and (presumably) off-camera. There was a lot of unintended tension and sorrow that inadvertently 'contaminated' the final print of this film. This adds a dimension that extinguishes the novelty of the cannibal movie genre and casts this flick into a different territory altogether.
There are some negative things about this movie I would be hard-pressed to ignore. The animal violence can be troubling, as Deodato went through 2 monkeys, a river turtle, a pig, a "muskrat" (a South American coatimundi), a snake, and a tarantula (I think). The graphic, up-close cannibal dinner scenes are plentiful. And the documentary team from the new world act as savages in their own right in some very difficult, non-palatable, and chaotic scenes.
While the film has it's share of hard-to-stomach scenes, it also reflects a somewhat simple innocence throughout, highlighted by a better-than-expected soundtrack. Monroe, Chaco, and Miguel are like little kids on a treasure hunt. In this hunt, we observe a savage way of life, but the difficult imagery forces us to question the basis for our contextual morals.
Does modern Westernized society really exemplify human progress and development at the core? Is there really a divide between the state of nature and the exploits of "advanced" thrill-seekers, adrenaline junkies, and exploitative 'artists'? Who are the real antagonists in this story? These are the questions that Kerman's character, and by extension Deodato, force us to confront.
If you are looking for a simple and semi-ridiculous cannibal tale, check out "Cannibal Ferox" (Kerman's other major offering in the cannibal genre), "Eaten Alive", or any other of the cannibal-exploitation era's notable offerings. If you are looking for a thought provoking, challenging, and curious film, give this one a chance.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2009
Robert Kerman, aka porn star R. Bolla, plays a famous anthropologist Dr. Monroe who travels to the Amazon jungle to try on rescue mission for four documentarians who journeyed into the jungle to film indigenous tribes. Two months later, Dr. Monroe, attempts to locate the four and eventually recovers and views their lost cans of film which reaveal the missing filmmakers fate... and their atrocities!
This film was directed by Ruggero Deodato in a semi-documentary style, and Entertainment Weekly has hailed "Cannibal holocaust" the 20th most contraversial film ever made, that includes six real life animal killings, including a muskrat, turtle and pig. But the real controversey is perhaps on the set. There are stories of verbal arguments between the director, Deodato and the cast, especially Kerman. Even with his crew onthe issue of the animal killings. Even the actor originally playing Alan quit, and production was delayed two weeks until a new actor was found. This film as been said to have been banned in over 50 countries, but their is no way of verification.
Aside from the controversial animal cruelity, and the apparant fights and arguements on set this is a rather good film. It is a somewhat shocking and in serval scenes very disturbing images to behold. All in all, this is perhaps one of the best "Cannibal" films ever made and highly recommended.
Compared to many of todays violent films, this is somewhat tame, with the exception of the cruelity to animals issue. Even I looked away in digust to the animal killings. A truely must see film!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2013
expectatins were high, and this movie exceeded them. highly recommended ifyou can handle it. they dont make them like this anymore