Written By: Karla Cortes
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Ruggero Deodato – Born May 7, 1939 from Portenza, Italy.
Producers: Franco Palaggi – Born October 30, 1910 from Roma, Italy
Screenplay Writer: Gianfranco Clerici – Born 1966 in an unknown location in Italy.
Release Date: February 7, 1980
Robert Kerman as Professor Harold Manroe
Francesca Ciardi as Faye Daniels
Perry Pirkanen as Jack Anders
Luca Barbareschi as Mark Tomaso
Salvatore Basile as Chaco Losojos
Ricardo Fuentes as Felipe Ocanya
Carl Gabriel Yorke as Alan Yates
Paolo Paoloni as New York Executive
Unknown actor as Miguel
THE GRAVE REVIEW – 3/5 GRAVES
The 1980 cannibal horror film, Cannibal Holocaust, centers around Professor Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman) who sets out to find the crew of five filmmakers who never made it back from the Amazon after venturing out to make a documentary on cannibal tribes. Monroe forms a crew to travel to the amazon, but as a result, is only able to find the crew’s cans of film as well as gruesome remains indicating terrible acts. After coming back with the found footage, an American television station urges to adopt and broadcast the footage as a television special that will gain great attraction and money. Upon viewing the footage, Monroe and the American television station are faced with the horrific acts made by the five missing filmmakers and the consequences that come with their actions.
Cannibal Holocaust is littered with rape scenes, animal cruelty, and intense violence. The animal cruelty in the hour and thirty-eight minute film is completely real. One scene consists of the gruesome dismemberment of a live turtle and another scene entails the mutilation of a small monkey. These are just two of the six live animal killings shown on film. What really set off the public though, was the human rape scenes that seemed almost hard to believe were not real. The notorious “cannibal” girl impaled on a stick was just one out of the many unsettling, mutilating gore factors that also gave rise to public opinion controversy.
Ten days after the film was released, Director, Ruggero Deodato, was immediately arrested and charged for obscenity. In addition, due to the violent and real perception of the scenes, Deodato was temporarily charged with murder, to which he had to call in actors in order to prove that they were alive and well. However, during production, the actor who played Miguel (Unknown) and lost his father. As a result, production was delayed as the actor had to attend to the father’s burial and funeral service.
The Grave Review
Deemed as “The Grandfather of Found Footage,” Cannibal Holocaust is one of the first films in history to not only stir up public controversy, but to also include graphics and uneasy themes that most, if not all, horror movies of the 80s wouldn’t dare to even think of producing.
Cannibal Holocaust was definitely a difficult film to watch. The scenes depicted were not only cruel and unusual, but also outright inhumane. This is not a feel good/happy ending story, but one that leaves you feeling disturbed and very unsettled. It should be noted that production was delayed many times due to deaths, cast dropouts, and mainly, Deodato’s treatment of the cast and natives that were filmed on scene and as part of the film. According to multiple sources, including Kermans’ comments, Deodato was paying the cast far less than what they had agreed upon and was also treating the natives in a sadistic manner. In turn, Deodato faced much backlash from the cast and crew, who were all against the animal cruelty and rape scenes but were forced to succumb to them.
After knowing these details, it is difficult to say that this was a “good” movie. The film is still given notoriety even today, and the production crew and screenwriters really did a fantastic job with the cinematography. As for Deodato, he may be a renowned director for this film, but more so in a notorious way rather than in a positive way. If you are a horror buff, especially in the found footage department, then this is a must-see film that planted the roots for found footage film now of days.
Taking all things into account and provided that this film entails “Snuff” scenes, Grave Reviews gives this film Three out of Five Graves.
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If you liked this, you may also like our review of the film, The Song of Solomon.