What more can be said of this film that hasn't been said already? Doubtless, this is one film whose reputation precedes it, and any cult film fan familiar with the Italian Cannibal films of the 70's has probably seen the infamous publicity still of the native girl impaled on the stake, or heard of the animal cruelty contained within the film. Yet, dispite the sleaze, some amateur performances, and overall hypocrisy of the film's message, I challenge anyone to not be deeply moved by this film.
As a first time veiwer myself, I felt disgust, fascination, and ultimatly a haunting sadness. Deodato is something of a 'method' director here, becoming his dispicable, glory- seeking filmakers and seeing(with the audience)through their lenses. Yet it is precicely this reason why the film works as well as it does. The film toys with our perception of what is authentic and what is not, as evidenced by the 'Last Road to Hell' segment, and the animal snuff. Deodato's juxtaposition of a reporter commenting on 'uncivillized cannibal tribes' over bustling footage of New York speaks louder than any discourse by Professor Monroe. Yet what makes the horror profound, and lasting, is the way it is balanced with moments of beauty; the haunting score, the lush greens of the jungle, Monroe's bonding with the tribe's daughters in the river. Those who avoid the genre tend to think of films like this (and most horror films) as exploitive trash, yet there is much craft involved in creating imagery that enthralls as much as it repulses. Not enough light with the dark and you wind up with 'August Underground'. With 'Cannibal Holocaust', Ruggero Deodato leaves us with the thought that though the jungles may be asphalt now, they're still jungles... and he slaps us hard enough to leave a mark.
After much anticipation, Grindhouse has finally released what promises to be the definitive edition of C.H. So by all means, if you value your film nerd credentials, watch this film. Buy it. Buy two.