Cannibal Holocaust (1979)
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Robert Kerman/Professor Harold
A team led by pipe aficionado Harold (Kerman) head into the Brazilian jungle to find a missing lot of unlikable twat documentary filmmakers. They eventually find the twats’ film canisters in a tribal village and when they get to watching the found footage, they see that the missing crew cut the edge via a spree of multiple rapes, excessive murders and good old fashioned animal snuff. I guess these guys never heard of throwing a keg party to unwind!
After years of people pushing me in a corner like the class nerd, urging me to watch the infamous “Cannibal Holocaust”, telling me that I HAD to see it otherwise I couldn’t call myself a true horror fan, I finally broke my water and watched the damn thing (uncut version). When the end credits rolled, my first thoughts were: “This was the movie that was supposed to shock me to oblivion? The movie that I would never forget?” Shit…talk about over-hyped!
I’ll give this perverted attention seeking bastard this: the overall storyline was decent enough in its simplicity and the film succeeded in its “mockcumentary” ambitions, with the "found footage” in particular feeling very genuine, and therefore, giving it more impact. But if there was one thing that truly stood out in this abattoir, it was hand downs, the excessive gore which was astounding in its realism. Some of the red grub on display here simply baffled my one cell brain! Taking into account the low budget and the time frame in which the film was shot...that was quite a feat! How the hell did they pull off that penis cutting scene? Or the impaled through her vagina out of her mouth naked broad? Wow…solid freaking work! Props to the latex and Karo guy Aldo Gasparri! Somebody buy this guy a pint and a gold Swatch now! He deserves it.
Where the film failed me was that I never got to warm up to any of the one-layer characters and in consequence, the weight of the nutty events was considerably lessened. I just felt so detached from it all! Let’s see what we got: a “blah” anthropologist, his pipe, his boys and his annoying New York based peers. I didn’t give a bitches ass about any of them…nice pipe though…NICE PIPE! Then we had the despicable “evil” twits that were the missing crew. Well, the only pleasure I derived from these mo-mos was finally seeing them get slaughtered in mucho vicious ways. Man, I loathed that gang! Lastly, we had the joyous “tribe people" who once more confirmed to me that seeing adults act like naïve, bunny-hopping, gibberish-talking, simpletons is just not my cup of plasma. Buy some clothes and get jobs already! You know, join the McDonalds tribe and get 6 beans an hour!
As for the substance of this effort, well, it mostly consisted of multiple committed atrocities with the camera constantly ZOOMING in real close to make sure that we’re getting all of it. Now although I got a few kicks out of some of the bloody carnage, I must admit that most of it, surprisingly, bored me. My thought pattern went a little bit like this: “Ok…another rape, another kill, I don’t care about the story, the characters suck, the acting often blows, the New York scenes lag, why are they getting off on killing animals, I need a head job, so that’s what an abortion looks like…another rape, another kill… zippee de doo da, like I give a flying fuck". Get my drift? Tag to all that, a weak “look how civilized beings can be more savage than the savages” jive posing as a social message and you get a movie that’s basically a buck and half excuse to show disgusting stuff set to an annoying score.
"Cannibal Holocaust" did teach me two things about myself though: 1) I guess I’m not a big fan of hardcore exploitation films if there’s no heart or any semblance of purpose behind them. Take “Irreversible” for example, it showcased violence and rape extensively, but the film had something strong to say and moved me emotionally. Here, I had nada invested so all that ugliness unraveling before me was solely that...ugliness for the sake of it. 2) I must be mucho desensitized to violence because I wasn’t put off half as much as I should’ve been by the brutality tossed in my face. What’s wrong with me? "Cannibal Holocaust"…the most shocking movie ever? I’ve received fan mail more disturbing than this genre smut-hut! ABORT THIS!
Aldo Gasparri's FX work was beyond stellar! We get a cut arm, the eating of a severed hand, mucho human remains, lots of puke, an eviscerated woman, a cut off leg, a live abortion, a girl being raped by a homemade rock dildo (don’t ask), lots of stoning on the head, a cut off penis, guts munching galore, a girl impaled through her vagina and yes…more!
Then there was the animal snuff where a yelping rodent was gutted alive, a snake beheaded, a pig shot in the head and a big turtle eviscerated. While seeing those scenes, fantasies of having the filmmakers and the actors locked in a room with me and my machete came to mind. Let me “close up” on you after I cut off YOUR head to see how YOU freaking wiggle…I’D BUY THAT FOR A DOLLAR!
Robert Kerman (Professor Harold) was the better actor here only upstaged by his glorious pipe. GREAT PIPE! Gabriel Yorke (Alan Yates) played his one dimensional role well. Francesca Ciardi’s (Faye Daniels) “I’m pissed” performance grated me. Perry Perkinan (Jack Danvers) let his moustache do most of the acting. It should be said that all the acting that took place in New York was embarrassingly bad.
T & A
Who knew that constant nudity would, one day, turn me off? We get lots of fully nude gals (Francesca Ciardi being one of them) and the ladies get a slew of miniscule penises. The nudity was usually not set within “pleasant” circumstances, so it didn’t appeal to me.
Deodato shot his tale in a simple manner with ample handheld camera shots and eager beaver ZOOM INS on everything that was gory or perverse. Although the documentary footage was well put together, and I dug some of the aerial shots, I found the bulk of it all to be pretty standard...nothing stand out.
Riz Ortolani's score either didn’t match the tone of the scenes at hand or almost drove me to madness with its incessant “Ptoo Ptoo” sounds. What was that shit all about? “Ptoo Ptoo”! “Ptoo Ptoo”! “Ptoo Ptoo!” …ARRRRGGGGGHH! Watch it on mute!
"Cannibal Holocaust" didn’t live up to its hype and failed in shocking, engaging or thrilling me full blast. Instead, it bored me half the time with only the occasional mucho groovy brutal shenanigans keeping me somewhat interested. Was I the only one who felt like the flick was akin to a toddler pissing on himself to get mommy's attention? It put out some truly disgusting scenarios with the clear intent of “shocking” my ass, but since its “game” was so freakin' obvious...it had the opposite effect on me. I found its “Look at me! Look at me!” ways pretty sad. To each his own, never resonated so true! See it for the gore if you’re a MAJOR gore hound! See it for the rep, just to say you saw it! As for me, I’ll be forgetting "Cannibal Holocaust" in 9-8-7-6-5-4…..it's forgotten.
Director Ruggero Deodato had to go to court to prove that the actors in the film weren’t really killed.
Rumor has it that they used real dead bodies, i.e. medical cadavers, for some of the more disgusting scenes in this film.
The documentary within the film called "The Road to Hell", which features several executions, consists of authentic footage. Funny thing, in the film they claim that the footage is fake. Yup, Deodato is fucking with our heads.
I can now see how "The Blair Witch Project" owes so much to this flick. They stole a heap load of plot conventions from it.