Last night I popped in Cannibal Holocaust for for what is my third viewing of it. Now, this film is never easy to view. Madness – Portrait of a Video Nasty, a Facebook group that every year in October, picks a horror them. You can watch any type of horror movie, but get more points for movies that fit the theme. This year it's films that were boycotted band IE stuff that was on England's video nasties list for example. I knew this one would get me a lot of points, and it had been a while since I visited it. Actually the last time was when I bought the DVD at a Chiller. I have to say I was absolutely repulsed by the film back then and still am. Now, there was a contest for on writing a essay on Cannibal Holocaust, but I never really got the chance to write it. Still, having just revisited this Tuesday night, I felt that it was time for me to write my thoughts.to watch really. I sort of popped it in because of the fact that I'm part of the
In viewing the movie this time around, I decided that I needed to get rid of the animal violence. Thank God, he DVD gives you that option. I didn't use it upon the first viewing of the disc; which was actually the second time I had seen the movie, because I felt it needed to revisit complete and uncut. It was still repellent to me. The violence against animals had bothered me ever since I first saw it on VHS ages ago on bootleg. The image cleaned up for DVD did not to make it any better, for me. So this time around and any other time I revisit this film I will always watch the non-cruelty to animals version. Actually, the beginning of the DVD stated that both Robert Kirkman and the director/ writer Ruggero Deodato, had asked Grindhouse to remove it completely, but they wanted the film to be completely uncut. Which I support, I need to leave it up to you just how to watch this film. I never want to see those scenes of animal violence again: the snake, monkey, pig who gets shot, muskrat, etc. I could go on, but the most horrifying scene has to be the turtle getting multilated. For God sakes, I wish Gamera came out of the water and got them for that.
Let's talk about the movie's merits. Without a shadow of a doubt, Cannibal Holocaust is the ultimate extreme horror film. There isn't any film that comes close to touching it. Yes, I have seen quite a few disturbing films like I Spit on Your Grave, Irreversible, Maniac, Necromantic 1 and 2, etc. But, even the most extreme of these still don't reach the gut punch that Cannibal Holocaust does. It's a film that stays in your soul and your mind; it never leaves you. The images of horror in this film are truly disturbing. There is, even devoid of the aforementioned real animal violence, a black heart of a film, a movie is as bleak and dark as it could get. An examination of the extremes acts that man is capable of.
Some of the most mind searing scenes in this film include the village getting burned down, the absolutely horrific punishment given to an adulteress, the sequences of rape, the horrific forced abortion, the stake up to the ass and out the mouth, and the truly harrowing climax. By this point, you think you would be immune to the atrocities in it, but no you're not. This movie just pounds you with it's horrors; it gets into your soul in ways that I don't think any film can.
But, what makes it most interesting perhaps is that it is so well made. In the fact, that it isn't just some empty exploitation piece of shit. Yes it's exploitative, and I'll get to that in a bit, but it's horrific mix and dichotomy of beauty and horror that is perhaps best summed up by the gorgeous score the film has. To me, it's one of the most beautiful, soaring scores I've ever heard.And, to think that it's attached to this film, in particular. One of the things of watching this film originally on a shitty video is the movie looked horrible grainy, like a snuff film. But watching it on the DVD, the cleaned up version really shows you that Deadato is a great cinematic film director. He learned his art of neo-realism by working with Roberto Rosellini. It shows in this film.
This movie is also innovative in the fact that it's the first found footage film. Unlike movies that would be inspired from it, in particular The Blair Witch Project, not all of Cannibal Holocaust is a found footage film. Basically it's only the stuff in the reels of film. But it doesn't matter, because during those moments of found footage, the film is horrifyingly realistic.
It thankfully features very solid acting from the whole cast everyone who are pitch perfect in it. There is really no humor, aside from a little towards the beginning of the film, but that is soon lost. And, that's good because certainly humor is something that is not wanted or needed in this movie.
Now, I say that this film was exploitative as it does feature some very nice nudity from Francesca Ciardi, who, I guess, adds the other beauty element to this film. She looks great nude and has nice little boobies. I would call her the most sympathetic out of that whole crew but she's still not really a likable or good person.
Back in the day, Cannibal Holocaust was not legally available in the US. One would have to watch it on bootleg or the import Japanese laserdisc. Eventually Grindhouse Releasing had a tour of it playing in the theaters, and would release the film on DVD. Over in England, where it was one of the main video nasties, it remains a banned film. The movie has been censored and banned everywhere. It remains a vile must see. But, perhaps not by everyone. It's one of those horror films that while I consider to be one of the finest in the genre; I don't think everyone can handle it. A lot of horror fans think they can deal wit it all, but Cannibal Holocaust is a completely different animal. This is not Saw, Friday the 13th, or even The Evil Dead or Zombie. It just does not fuck around.
As I have, said the animal violence, on its own, could be enough to turn you off. I suppose you could watch this DVD without having to endure that, but that's still doesn't it from in the ultimate extreme horror experience. This truly is the movie that as it quotes itself as being "the one that goes too far". Even watching other cannibal films like Cannibal Ferox ( AKA Make Them Die Slowly) can't prepare you for this film. It is truly the genres' sickest, most horrific, utterly disturbing film, but it remains a high watermark in the extreme horror sub-genre. For those of you have never seen it, I'll leave it up your hands on whether you will or won't. For those of you who have, you already know the power of this film. Personally speaking I would love to hear your opinions your thoughts on it. Do you love it, hate it, both?In the end, Cannibal Holocaust is the classick that has lost none of it's power to revile, sicken, disturb, and shock.