156 of 188 people found the following review helpful
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.
70 of 83 people found the following review helpful
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.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
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.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Where do I even begin? This one will shake you to the core. I went into this mentally preparing myself to see the most disturbing horror film of all time and reading reviews about how people had to turn off the movie or look away during some scenes. I went into it scared and it got worse when the opening scene rolled. 'The Disclaimer' warning viewers of what they are about to see scared me. During the first 20 minutes it was somewhat boring and i was there anticipating on what could happen next. I managed to get through the whole thing without looking away or turning off the tv in a somewhat apathetic state about the whole thing. Ive seen many horror films and this one was some parts documentary, media and what humans are capable of.
The film centers around some filmmakers who head into the south american jungle to find some cannibals. A professor manages to get the footage of these filmmakers who never returned. What they find on that film you will most likely never forget and never want to remember again.
The young filmmakers in this movie are asking for trouble by taking advantage and setting the cannibals huts on fire and doing unspeakable acts to them. In a sense they are almost as bad as the cannibals, you dont know who to side with. Most definitely not the cannibals but also i dont see how anyone can have sympathy for the victims until maybe the end when they suffer a horrible and disturbing fate.
The most disturbing scenes were the turtle and the blonde guy at the end who gets it from the cannibals. Now during the film im telling myself this stuff has most likely happened in the past, maybe even in more recent times somewhere out there and to view it with an objective mind. Animals are killed all the time but that does not excuse the animal cruelty. The turtle scene was unecessary in my opinion.
I didnt realize the impact this film had on me until after it was all over. Let me put this way, i couldnt eat for 2 days, i could barely look at food and i could sit through 'Dead alive' eating something. If you dont know what Dead Alive is its probably one of the most gory films of all time though more comedic.
Cannibal Holocaust is not what i would call 'scary' per se. Im sure if i was there to experience this nightmare I would be scared but I can only describe this film using one word- Disturbing.. to the max. As for me, not so much while watching but after is when the majority of feelings came into play. This is a cruel violent yet realistic in a sense movie. This is hard to swallow and i cant say i would recommend this unless you are a HARDCORE horror film lover. I am and this one had some kind of effect on me. During the turtle scene i was thinking, hmm, who would enjoy this movie? a certain serial killer came to mind. If you have a stomach of steel and can handle brutality and gore unsurpassed then maybe you should watch it. If you want to call this horror then its 4 out of 5 stars but im going to leave it at 3 and let you decide on your own.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
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.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
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...
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2006
During the 1970's, Italian cinema, which was not subject to the usual copyright laws, embarked on a spate of copycat productions based on the success of US movies in Italian movie houses. For instance, after George Romero's 'Dawn of the Dead', or 'Zombi', as it was known in Italy went through the roof, a ton of celluloid was devoted to numerous "Morti Viventi" schlock, such as Lucio Fulci's rather good 'Zombi 2', or 'Zombie Flesh Eaters', as it was known outside Italy and Bruno Mattei's 'Zombie Creeping Flesh'. Both of these films, among others, increased Romero's onscreen blood and guts fetish a few notches and generally tried to outdo the American director's 1978 opus. Each production tried to out-gore the other and up the ante a little more every time. These spaghetti "zombi" films thrived on ridiculous story lines, fabulous make up and horrific death and kept the undead alive in cinema well into the 80's.
Alongside the zombie massacres, arose another more home-grown attempt at pushing the barriers of cinematic revulsion. The Cannibal movie subgenre, initiated in 1972 by Umberto Lenzi's 'Deep River Savages' and Ruggero Deodato's 'Cannibal' in 1976, owed little to the living dead or US box office success, even though both types are often linked together. The "mondo movie" was the real father of the Italian cannibal cycle and the undertones of "mondo" can be seen in most cannibal movies.
Ruggero Deodato's 'Cannibal Holocaust' was one of those movies that made it clear that Italian cannibal productions were born out of the dubious onscreen delights of the likes of 'Mondo Cane', even including a nod to Mondo's inhibition to placing faked footage alongside genuine documentary footage. One of the Deodato's characters even states that obvious genuine documentary footage of people being executed was being "faked" by Alan Yates (Gabriel Yorke), the leader of a documentary film crew who are at the centre of the movie.
'Cannibal Holocaust' concerns itself with disappearance of the aforementioned TV crew, who made their names with hard hitting documentaries about Africa and Cambodia. The crew went missing while filming their current project, 'The Green Inferno', a travelogue expose of the cannibal tribes of the Yamamonos and the Shamataris in South America.
Professor Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman) of New York University is tasked with finding out what happened to Yates and his crew. His search leads him to uncover evidence that the TV crew were, in fact, dead. But, he manages to recoup some of the film footage that was shot by them and returns to New York with the un-processed film cans. Thus ends the first half of the film. All fairly harmless so far.
The second half of 'Cannibal Holocaust' deals with Monroe's viewing of Yates' film and his growing reluctance to have anything to do with the project. Yates' footage is presented in a very convincing hand-held "documentary" fashion, giving the later half of the movie (including its gory effect's) a quite realistic and genuinely disturbing feel.
Yates' documentary reveals the extreme lengths that he and his crew went through to achieve the "fame" they desired. Yates and Co. go deeper and deeper into depravity, pushing native tribes people to the point where they eventually turn on the TV crew with a vicious retribution, resulting in the liberal use of some very effective gore prosthetics. This is really all you need to know about the second half of 'Cannibal Holocaust' and I don't wish to give too much away to a potential viewer.
'Cannibal Holocaust' is no polished production as one would expect from a film of this type. But, somewhat surprisingly, it's no turkey either. The acting of the first half is generally mediocre to bad, which is to be expected in a production of this sort. But the goofball / depraved antics of Yates' TV crew in the second "documentary footage" half suits the piece well. This depravity is showcased well in the famous scene, where the TV crew come across an impaled native girl and Yates has to be warned to stop smiling as the camera is rolling. The joy expressed at this truly classic 80's "video nasty" image by Yates is indicative of the mindset of the people we are dealing with.
There's not many movies like 'Cannibal Holocaust' and that's one of the reasons it deserves its 4 stars. For those with the stomach, the film exhibits a genuinely creepy and disturbing atmosphere throughout its running time, helped no end by Riz Ortolani's weird and compelling score. Its convincing atrocity, violent rape, murder, gut chomping and appalling real animal slaughter take the viewer to a level that few movies can manage, or should even attempt. In short, it does exactly what it says on the tin. In fact, it did it so well that the film was "outed" in some quarters as a genuine "snuff" movie. The director was even taken to court over the "death" of the documentary teams actors! This backfired spectacularly when the actors in question were actually subpoenaed and had to appear in the courtroom.
Despite (or perhaps because of) all the nonsense, 'Cannibal Holocaust' was a notable success in Italy, but was either cut heavily or banned outright in many other countries. It topped the list in Britain during the hysterical (and politically motivated) "video nasties" bill of 1984 and remained unavailable for many years, gaining more and more notoriety every time the film was mentioned. All of this seems rather silly now, as mainstream Hollywood productions have continued to push various cinematic taboos throughout the period. But as mentioned earlier 'Cannibal Holocaust' offers something that will not be contained in the average Hollywood horror flick or any other flick for that matter and it's unlikely that such material will be produced in the same manner again. For that reason alone, it's a film that should be viewed by people who are interested in the horror genre or cinema in general. Of course, everyone who approaches it should be aware of its content. But few people who'll look at this film will be unaware of its past or reputation.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2006
Ruggero Deodato made a couple of dozens of movies, and hardcore horror fans might know some of them, but in cinematic history he will be forever remembered as the creator of "Cannibal Holocaust" - one of the most disturbing and nauseating flicks ever made. By the way unlike many other "most disturbing" movies this one, made a quarter of century ago, still shocks. Seems like time doesn't affect it at all.
Probably "CH" was originally intended to be another exploitation film - like "Cannibal Ferox", "The Last Cannibal World" of Deodato again, "Eaten Alive" - to pertain to this subgenre of cannibal horror. But somehow Deodato managed to make it out of the genre's framework, and "CH" now I think may be viewed not just by gorehounds around the globe but by more general audience in spite of the fact that it's really gory and violent.
If to compare "CH" to Umberto Lenzi's "Cannibal Ferox" you'll see that the latter copies and echoes Deodato's film practically frame by frame, line by line, but nevertheless
"CF" has no sense - it's simple and stupid exploitation schlock. But "CH" has some meaning if you will. I strongly believe those who say all the film's torture, mutilation, mayhem and brutality was gratuitous are wrong. They were director's instruments to show the inadequacy of today's world. To show the corruption and vice of "civilized" people who would do anything for money and fame. Who'd maim and rape just to get their 15 minutes. And all the cannibals' cruelty is just an act of self-defence - by means appropriate TO THEM. It's their savage world, it's what they used to. By the way we can clearly see the difference in how distinctly cannibals accept intruders. When they are visited by people with no evil intentions they welcome them and no one dies.
We see the greed of TV-officials who want to air the brutal "cannibal documentary" no matter what to get their poll numbers. Even knowing it's a pseudo-documentary, knowing beforehand what their relentless crew was capable of. Only professor Monroe played by Robert Kerman tries to study out the situation and prevent the notorious documentary from being aired.
So I saw much more to "CH" than it seemed at first. And I guess most of the people don't get it right, their eyes being shadowed by all that violence. But when you watch it draw your attention to the music which marks the most shocking scenes - I'm pretty sure this downbeat sounds were to emphasize their effect. When you hear this music you realize all the brutality was not gratuitous - the director knew quite well what he was doing, and he was doing it for a reason.
And finally I have to say: think twice before you watch it. If you're squeamish better don't. It's utterly disturbing at moments just like some docu-footage of wartime atrocities. By the way (and this is a well-known fact) all the animal cruelty in the film was real. But the Grindhouse Releasing edition has a feature letting you to skip all those scenes. Anyway if you could handle "August Underground", "Men Behind the Sun" or "Scrapbook" you'll manage "CH".
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2005
Grindhouse is slowly becoming the Criterion Collection of sleazy, drive-in cult classics. Ruggero Deodato's CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST has lied in limbo for quite some time. Just like Pasolini's SALO, both controversal films have not been banned in the USA, but a proper DVD has eluded us...until now!
Grindhouse did an excellent job here:
Picture: [A] HD remaster is superb though its not up to the standards of modern HD programming, its still nice to look at. A lot of effort went into this.
Sound: [A] Every line of dialogue, sound, and music cue came in loud and clear. Very nice. The music may sound different from earlier "bootleg" versions, perhaps a new orchestration but its not really noticeable.
Packaging: [B] DVD comes in a slip cover which reveals a slim case with the two discs on each side. No booklet or linear notes but instead a mini poster that on the other side has a greeting to the DVD buyer. A worthy introduction. Warning to those with children: The case is quite gory and unpleasant throughout.
Extras: [A+] here's where it gets really good! A commentary by Deodato and Robert Kerman with a video feed option, trailers from around the world, engaging documenatry and interviews, and even a music video. Some of it is in Italian with subtitles, so wacth out. Oh, and there are some still galleries but they play like slideshows overlaid with Riz Ortolani's creepy soundtrack. Check around for easter eggs. Hint: look for bonus trailers in the filmographies. The previews for possible future Grindhouse DVD's look nice and shlocky (the way I like it!).
Finally, the thing that really made me give the supplements extra points was the "Animal Cruelty Free" viewing option on the first disc containing the film. Kudos to Grindhouse for at least trying to make the film more accessible being that the animal torture scenes turned off many horror fans.
Get one now, supplies are limited. Mine was like 9777/11,111. So, they're on their way of being sold out. Don't get stuck with knockoffs, cheap imitations, and ridiculously high prices.