Cannibal Holocaust

Cannibal Holocaust ★★★★½

31 Days of Horror - Oooo Look What I Found!

Cannibal Holocaust is an Italian exploitation movie set during a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest when a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.

It’s so frustrating how close this movie is to being a perfect horror movie. The one major obstacle stopping Cannibal Holocaust being perfect is the disgusting animal cruelty shown far too often throughout its 95 minute runtime. It’s something that’s shown throughout a lot of 70s/80s Italian cannibal movies and I’m really not sure why the filmmakers thought this was okay. Tonight’s rewatch was of a new director’s cut supposedly with a lot of the violence towards animals removed and whilst there was a fair bit removed, there was still far too much left in. With the animal violence aside, it’s still an uncomfortable watch with the sexual violence and horrifying scenes of cannibalism and all of that adds towards why this movie is so effective as a horror film. The use of found footage in this movie does something that many movies of the same format released since have done wrong; it shows you who found the footage and provides a reason as to why the footage is being shown. It’s also far too realistic to the point that director Ruggero Deodato was arrested and charged with obscenity and the murder of the actors involved in the film who had to come out of hiding to get the charges dropped.

The acting in this movie helps a lot towards it’s found footage side of things and make it really understandable as to why everyone believed this was real. The four characters within the found footage scenes are despicable and played so believably by the actors who were all very unknown at the time of this movie’s release with this being all of their acting debuts. Throughout the movie I just found myself wanting them to be picked off one by one by the cannibals. The scene in which Alan Yates, portrayed by Carl Gabriel Yorke, has to be told to act horrified instead of laughing at the site of a girl impaled on a stick really says all you need to know about all four of these characters. Former pornstar Robert Kerman provides an excellent performance as Professor Harold Monroe, the only likeable character in the movie. Harold is pretty much an audience character in the way he goes exploring to find the missing documentary crew and their footage and goes on to say how disgusted he is with their behaviour.

The violence in this movie is so over the top and so effective thanks to the impressive practical effects. It all looks horrifyingly realistic to the point that on both times watching this it had me looking away from the screen. The penis chopping scene looks far too real and never fails to shock me. Every single death scene in this movie is brutal and very graphic and requires a viewer with a very strong stomach. This movie is very beautifully shot, boasting stunning cinematography and gorgeous location choices. This adds another level of fear to the movie considering it goes against conventions; every single piece of terror within this movie occurs during daylight. The soundtrack is phenomenal and my favourite part of the entire movie. The main theme song is by far one of my favourite horror theme songs of all time. The rest of the score is extremely atmospheric and fits the movie perfectly.

Overall, Cannibal Holocaust is amongst some of the most controversial movies of all time and rightfully so. Animal violence aside, this is a fantastic horror movie that truly delivers on shock, schlock and terror. This is definitely an essential watch for any horror fan.

🎥🎥🎥🎥 & 1/2 / 🎥🎥🎥🎥🎥