Cannibal Holocaust (1980) – Film

“Cannibal Holocaust”

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Professor Harold Monroe goes to the Amazon on a rescue mission to find 4 young documentary filmmakers, who had been filming the cannibal tribes of the rainforest, and had disappeared 2 months before.  He finds their remains, recovers the footage, and returns to New York.  When the footage is reviewed, it reveals some awful truths.

One of the most infamous films ever made with one hell of a powerful message.  This low budget, indie, Italian, exploitation horror has been scrutinized, criticized, accused, banned, and lauded over the years.  Yes, the acting isn’t that great (for the most part), yet it was convincing enough to get the filmmaker arrested on suspicion of making a snuff film 10 days after it’s initial release.  The practical effects are truly impressive and hold up, even now.  The footage of slaughtering animals (even though those animals were used as food for the villagers) for added violence and shock effect, shows as questionable ethics of  the actual filmmakers and actors part, as it was intended to question the ethics of the characters.  Would the film have been as shocking without these sequences or without the footage from the in-film documentary snip (actual execution footage) “The Last Road to Hell?”   Probably.

Shock effect aside, the story is an excellent commentary about how sometimes journalists, reporters, documentary filmmakers, people in general, focus more on the violence of a situation rather than the truth of what actually happens.  We see this clearly in the story through the difference of the Professor’s visit to the Amazon, his approach and experiences with the cannibal tribes, as opposed to that of the 4 young documentary filmmakers.

I gave this 4 straight up shots.  Even though exploitation isn’t strictly my preference in movie styles, I have full appreciation for the fact that this movie did exactly what it intended to do: shock the hell out of the viewer while making the viewer question who are the true savages.

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