Rainy Day Pile: Cannibal Holocaust
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Producer: Franco Di Nunzio and Franco Palaggi
Screenplay: Gianfranco Clerici
Luca Giorgio Barbareschi
Production: F.D. Cinematografica
Distribution: United Artists
One of the things I love about my Shudder subscription is The Last Drive In With Joe Bob Briggs. I watched MonsterVision every week from 1993 (at six, and before Joe Bob joined) till its cancellation, and was devastated when it went off the air, it was around the same time took USA Up All Night away from me too. A couple weeks ago one of their movies was one of the most controversial films ever made; Cannibal Holocaust. I’d seen the movie before in 2005; and like Last House On The Left, Audition, and Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, I saw it’s redeeming value. Also like those films, I really didn’t think it was a “put it on when it’s a rainy day” type of movie, but more like an “every five years with a few days to prepare” movie. Watching it now, outside my teenage years when I was just seeing what the fuss is about, I can appreciate how well it tells it’s story and gets it’s point across. so let’s check it out.
An anthropologist named Harold Monroe embarks on an expedition into the part of the Amazon called the “Green Inferno” to see if he can find out what happened to a documentary film crew who disappeared trying to film the indigenous tribes. As he meets what he sees as primitive, cannibalistic tribes, he starts to realize that something bad must have happened between these tribes and the film crew. When he finds the skeletons of the documentarians reassembled into a shrine, he takes the film cannisters back to New York and teams up with the executives at a TV station to review the footage and find out what happened. What they find will shock and horrify them, and challenge their assumptions on who were the real monsters.
Can I recommend this movie to everyone? No, I think even the most hardcore horror fan would have trouble getting through this. Not that it’s a bad movie, but there are six on screen acts of genuine animal cruelty, and murder by rape, and a very convincing gang rape scene, not to mention the film crew doing other horrifying things (besides the before mentioned gang rape). It’s well filmed, and I like the gimmick that it’s a found footage film where most of its screentime is a movie about how the footage was found. I like the mystery that is set up about what happened between the film crew and the tribes that caused their deaths, and uses the found footage aspect to answer it. The acting, though dubbed, is still pretty good.
I would say that if you want to watch the first found footage film, or if you think you can handle a real turtle being disassembled while still alive, I would say go ahead. If you don’t think you could handle it, watch Joe Bob’s interstitials.