Cannibal Holocaust (1979)
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An anthropologist heads a rescue party into the South American jungle to find a missing film team making a documentary on cannibal tribes but can only return with their footage, which reveals their crueler intentions.
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Critic Reviews for Cannibal Holocaust
Its pointed attack on exploitative film-making seems somewhat rich in the circumstances, but this is well made, uniquely unpleasant and almost deserving of its huge cult status.
Rough, but it's an interesting type of sensationalism from a (thankfully) bygone production era. It's not a film to be enjoyed, but it certainly offers a singular genre bite that's impressively gonzo.
An enormous master work from Ruggero Deodato whose own film has pretty much guaranteed to outlive its creator.
[VIDEO ESSAY] Apart from being a truly disturbing film, "Cannibal Holocaust" serves up a cold plate of scathing social commentary.
Cannibal Holocaust is certainly unpleasant, uncomfortable, even offensive - which is to say that it is uncompromisingly true to its genre - but that is not to undermine its fierce, probing intelligence.
Deodato became confused and made the very thing he was ostensibly criticising.
Basically perfect: it achieves its goals in virtually every respect. Deodato made a movie whose purpose is to make me feel awful, and I do.
This is, bar none, the most revolting, weird and disturbing cannibal film I have ever seen.
Ruggero Deodato's purposefully unwatchable opus questions the film image's validity while debasing it
The completely heinous nature of the film...is exposed through its own inconsistencies.
The effect is now familiar, but back then it was incredibly shocking, as most viewers believed every word of it.
... specious commentary on the manipulation of violence in news and documentary footage and the exploitation of sordid spectacle for entertainment.
Most of the enduring grindhouse movies lose the residue of sweaty misanthropy through the simple, inevitable obsolescence of their hard-candied centers of shock value.
The actual savages involved with Cannibal Holocaust are the ones behind the camera.
Whether or not it was his intention, it is also possible to discern a message amid the cruelty: read this as a savage indictment of the power of the media in general, and exploitative documentary filmmaking in particular.
Audience Reviews for Cannibal Holocaust
A crew of filmmakers goes into the Amazon jungle, torments a primitive tribe, and then gets the tables turned on them. The irony of this disturbing movie is that it posits that modern society is more savage than the primitive cannibals, then proves it by filming sadistic scenes of real animal killing. Unique, and effective at times, but utterly reprehensible.More
It's an ironically venomous counterpoint to have melodic, almost beautifully serene music to play over pornographically violent images and Deodato masters it. In the sprawling jungle, barbaric, "backwards" tribes live by their own "rules of conduct" which include a baneful punishment for adultery and cannibalism. This is one of the first examples of cinema verite for horror and while it's influential and certainly jolting in its ultra-realistic mutilation, it's only moderately successful. The appearance of validity is definitely virtuoso (ex. Some of the production "rushes" are devoid of NAT sound) and most of the animal vivisection was not simulated (a turtle is cruelly eviscerated). Deodato is stupendous at unwinding the haughty American ego of creating the news when none is extant and underestimating the superstitious locals who believe Kerman captured someone's soul on a tape recorder. The auteur director and his accomplices' comeuppances are outlandishly raw in a fly-on-the-wall vantage point. Overall, the film admirably skirts camp value and retains a disturbing verisimilitude despite the desynchronized dubbing and lack of emotional attachment to the filmmakers who torch the village to spur the cannibals' retribution.More
There is no possible way to walk away from watching Italian horror maestro Ruggero Deodato's magnum opus, Cannibal Holocaust, without being changed by it. Quite possibly one of the hardest and most savagely unwatchable films I have ever struggled to watch succeeds what it sets out to do, make the audience feel completely awful that they are watching this movie. The acting is unbelievably realistic, adding to the further hyperrealism horror that this film is so famous for, and with the actual killing of seven animals, all filmed, the animal cruelty in this film cannot be matched by any film I have seen (From a pig being kicked and shot with a rifle to a turtle being decapitated and disemboweled). This is one of the most horribly graphic films made and it is made even more disturbing by Riz Ortolani's score, and most prominently the frequently reoccurring love theme song. The footage is shot using the cinéma vérité technique, thus adding further realism and depth to the characters and environment, but this also increases the realism of the graphic violence, gang rape and cannibalism. This is like the works of David Cronenburg and Pier Paolo Pasolini, much less of a horror film and much more of an endurance test, how much can you watch before you cannot stomach it any further. A recommendation for only the most die-hard horror and gore fans, because this compared to Saw or Hostel is like comparing Care Bears with The Exorcist, others don't compare in the slightest.More
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