Cannibal Holocaust

Cannibal Holocaust ★★★★½

You know how you sometimes finally see a movie (or hear a band) that's credited by other artists you like as being very influential to them, but it ends up being disappointing by comparison?

This is NOT that.

Cannibal Holocaust had me right from the start. I fell in love with that overly-sentimental music playing during the opening credits (the rest of the score was pretty kick-ass too). And I loved the voice-over about cannibals in the jungle played over establishing shots of Manhattan (especially the shots of the Twin Towers). I loved the mix of traditionally shot narrative footage with found footage and documentary footage.

I especially loved how the use of real footage of executions and animal killing upset me so that when the white documentarians start raping and murdering, I felt palpable disgust instead of just intellectual disapproval. Instead of a safe movie experience where I can walk away clean and righteous in my moral condemnation of fictional characters, I'm left feeling dirty and complicit in the myriad crimes of the "civilized" world.

Last thing I want to comment on is the found footage aspect. I've had a love affair with found footage since The Blair Witch Project came out. Shortly after that I stumbled onto Man Bites Dog. It's amazing to see how everything I love about the genre can be traced back to this movie made 20 years earlier. Even some of the stuff I don't love ("Why are they still shooting?" and "Who added the movie score to this footage?").

So glad I squeezed this one in before my Shudder subscription expires.

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