During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.
Not that CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST isn't outrageously violent and extremely disturbing at times, but like so many other "serious" exploitation movies (e.g. SALO, MEN BEHIND THE SUN), the filmmakers go so far over the top depicting the spilling of blood and guts that whatever points they purport to want to make are drowned in their own gruesome sensationalism.
This is especially counter-productive in CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST because it is the very thing that director Ruggero Deodatto claims to be satirizing. The movie lacks the sophistication of George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD or Stanley Kubrick's CLOCKWORK ORANGE, two similar movies which tackle their social commentary with wit and style.
It's similar to (and better than) Oliver Stone's NATURAL BORN KILLERS, in that it claims to be a satire of the media's passion for presenting violence and depravity to audiences who eat it up, while it's really just an exploitation of it. Deodatto, like Stone, smacks you over the head with a bludgeon, making his points so obviously and self-righteously that they go right out the window, and the movie winds up being little more than a freakshow of eye-popping special effects and nauseating live animal slaughter.
The animal slaughter in CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is especially offensive, more so than any other of this odd subgenre, because most of it is perpetrated by the explorers and not the (supposedly real) native cannibal tribe. In CANNIBAL FEROX and JUNGLE HOLOCAUST, one can make an attempt to condone the violence against animals only because it appears to be committed by jungle dwelling people as part of their natural routine. One cannot make the same excuse for CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST.
But if you're looking for outlandish sleaze and carnage, look no further than CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. It's definitely a must-see for any self-respecting cannibal movie fan. Everyone else should steer way, way clear.
It was obviously an inspiration for both THE LAST BROADCAST and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.
- Jul 30, 2005