Cannibal Holocaust

Cannibal Holocaust ★★★★½

How does one go about reviewing this thing? Seriously??
For every positive there is a genuine, often repugnant negative.

I'll tell you about my first experience with Cannibal Holocaust.
When I was a wee nipper of 13 years'o'age (1995) I used to buy pirate movies by the bucketload - specifically horror - at local carboot sales every weekend. The traders we purchased these movies from told us we could definitely find harder, older and better stuff at a monthly film-fair held in Camden's Electric Ballroom

We headed down there later that month and as we descended it's staircase we weren't so impressed. Sure they had old movies but they were mostly of the 'classic' kind. And so much sci fi. Lots of fake signature stalls ect.
Anyway, we were giving up hope when we say a blue curtain with a sign in front of it that said 'Horror'. We stepped in and Jesus Christ were our minds blown. Not only were these guys selling some absolutely despicable shit, but they had mostly original covers too and we were just mesmerized at how grimy a lot of this stuff looked. Endless rows of VHS Video Nasties that were clearly designed to capture the attention of absolute maniac's........ and 13 year old boys.

We desperately wanted to buy everything in sight but being so young, we couldn't. We only had pocket money. Maybe £50 between us and with the films being a) rare b) deeply illegal to sell & c) we being too young & stupid to haggle, we accepted £25-£40 as an acceptable price for pirated VHS gore flicks.

Getting to the point, we asked one of the guys what the best one was and this guy, being the absolute scumbag he was recommended Cannibal Holocaust to us. For £40. We being the idiots we were, bought it.

Two days later and I haven't had the chance to watch it yet. My family were around so I was waiting for the weekend to watch it in secret.
Thursday night comes around and my Brother (15 years old) finds it and decides he wants to watch it. Then my Dad decides he wants to watch it, too. It was a school night for me so I went to bed and decided I'd watch a little bit in the morning before School because the wait was killing me.

Next morning, I get up out of bed and I bounce downstairs to watch this movie but I couldn't find it. Wasn't in the VCR. The box was missing. I searched for twenty minutes before I finally found it in the airing cupboard. At the back. Under a stack of boxes.

Those motherfuckers hid it from me????!!!!
I'd been watching all kinds of nasty shit for years but my parent's never hid anything from me before.

Damn, now I knew I just had to see this.

My Dad was working that night so I watched it alone and I didn't enjoy it in the slightest. My young brain was too simple to understand what the film was really about so it's brilliance went over my head. All I could experience was the bad acting, the alarming amount of wang on show and the nastiness. Oh dear God the nastiness. And the music. I hated it. I really did.

I understood entirely why my Dad hid it and he told me off for owning it. Completely understandable, really. It's a big step up from The Evil Dead.
I spoke with my bro the next day and he said watching it with my Dad was one of the most painfully awkward experiences of his life.
To this day, I wish I coulda been a fly on the wall for that one.

As far as the movie goes; well, I understand it's importance now. The animal stuff cannot be excused and the less said about the hackneyed final line ("I wonder who the real cannibals are??"), the better. But, Cannibal Holocaust is a shock machine, purely designed to push buttons and upset people and in that regard it's very successful. In fact, in spite of Deodato crossing the line on at least three occasions, the film is most definitely a masterpiece that will leave a lasting impression whether you like it or not.


I have a similar story regarding my Dad involving another cannibal movie (Ferox) and a porno but I'll save that anecdote for another day.

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