Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Unrated   |    |  Adventure, Horror


Cannibal Holocaust (1980) Poster

During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.


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  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
  • Ruggero Deodato in Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
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7 March 2014 | RomanJamesHoffman
8
| Hearts of Darkness
The original purpose of the Video Nasties list drawn up in the UK in the 1980s was to assuage media driven hysteria originating from movies in the unregulated video market and with explicit and exploitative depictions of gore and/or sex and which, as a result, were seen as a threat to public morality. These days it all seems ever so shrug-worthy as, stripped of the hysteria, most Video Nasties invariably fail to have any effect on the viewer and are revealed to be the bad films they are. 'Cannibal Holocaust' bucks this trend in a major way in both having an intelligent point to express about humanity's savagery (as relevant then as much as now) and doing so in a manner which, despite some patchy acting and directing, retains the power to challenge and shock even the more jaded modern film buff, i.e. me.

The plot of the movie sees Professor Monroe travel into the South American jungle to find out what happened to a group of three documentary film makers who have gone missing. He eventually finds a primitive tribe who seem to have the documentary crew's lost film reels and through befriending the tribe manages to retrieve them. Back in the city the film-reels are shown to some executives and the full horrors of the expedition are revealed. So far, so typical exploitation Video Nasty…but both the realistic depiction of some of the horrors via the found footage format (which this movie basically started and which would go onto to spawn the likes of 'The Blair Witch Project' (1999) and 'Cloverfield' (2008)) are so well done that there is a story that upon finishing the film and returning to Italy the director was suspected of actually killing the actors in the film and had to track them down to prove that it was not a snuff film. Apocryphal or not, the story captures the mood of the film and, indeed, the animal cruelty scenes are actually real and may sincerely disturb some viewers.

However, the violence is not for no good reason. The movie is not about entertainment in any respect and instead sets out to provoke the audience into looking at society with a critical eye as well casting the same critical eye on our own dirty reflections. The film does this by playing with the sympathies of the audience and showing that rather than the cannibals being the primitive savages we imagine them to be at the outset, the "civilized" film-makers and executives are equally, if not more, barbaric and heartless. Furthermore, the film avoids the trap of heavy-handed moralizing and instead shows the sickness and brutality inherent in us all. Heavy stuff, and really not for those of a nervous disposition or those who delight in typical video nasty splatter-fest romps.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ruggero Deodato was inspired to make the movie after seeing his son watch a violent news report on TV. He noticed that the journalists focused on the violence, and believed that some news angles were staged to capture more sensational footage.


Quotes

PABS Reporter: Man is omnipotent; nothing is impossible for him. What seemed like unthinkable undertakings yesterday are history today. The conquest of the moon for example: who talks about it anymore? Today we are already on the threshold of conquering our galaxy...


Goofs

When the cannibals disembowel Jack, the skin-colored plastic trash bags holding in his fake torso and organs are visible.


Crazy Credits

The Grindhouse Releasing (USA) and Siren Visual (Australia) DVDs/Blu-rays omit the United Artists Europa logo in favor of a text crawl regarding the film's violent content: "The following motion picture contains intense scenes of extreme violence and cruelty. As distributors of this film, we wish to state with absolute sincerity that by no means do we condone the artistic decisions employed by the makers of this film. However, as firm believers in the constitutional right of free speech, we do not believe in censorship. To quote Thomas Jefferson, 'it behooves every man who values the liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasion of it in the case of others.' Therefore, we are presenting CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST for the first time in its uncut, uncensored original form, with all sequences photographed by the filmmakers, however offensive and repugnant, presented fully intact. What you will see will definitely shock and offend you. Nonetheless, it should be viewed as a disturbing historical document of a bygone era of extreme irresponsibility which no longer exists, and, hopefully, will never exist again. 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.' - George Santayana"


Alternate Versions

The 2-disc French Collector's Edition from Opening Distribution is uncut, but is also missing several seconds from The Last Road to Hell.

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Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


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Adventure | Horror

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