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HALL OF FAMEon September 12, 2007
"Cannibal Holocaust" showed up in the mail this week and as I got into the movie I found myself wondering why this was in my queue, and then I remembered. In some online discussion regarding the relative merits of the torture-porn films that are presenting themselves as the cutting edge of contemporary horror cinema, there was a consensus of sorts among those who had seen "Cannibal Holocaust" that this was the film that would get you if you had never been gotten by a horror film. By that standard, this 1980 film delivers as promised. The advertisements for this film back then lauded it as the movie that goes all the way, and most viewers will agree that is indeed the case. For some that will be the gruesome deaths of some of the native women and for others it will be what happens to the turtle. What it probably will not be is the death of the faux documentary film crew, because what you see pretty much convinces you that they get what is coming to them.

Professor Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman) is persuaded to go to the jungles of the Amazon and lead the search for a missing documentary film crew that consists of director Alan Yates (Gabriel Yorke), his girlfriend and script girl Faye Daniels (Francesca Ciardi), and their friends cameramen Jack Anders (Perry Pirkanen) and Mark Tomaso (Luca Barbareschi). Monroe travels to the rainforest and in the first half of the film is eventually able to recover the equipment and footage taken by the missing team. The second half of the film takes place back in New York City where the Pan American Broadcast Company wants Monroe to host the broadcast of the found footage. However, Monroe insists on seeing all of the footage first and is informed that Yates and his crew were award-winning documentarians who often staged their most exciting footage. In that context we see both the footage the network wants to air and that which they did not want Monroe to see. The footage proves to be shockingly graphic and reveals not only what happened to Yates and the others, but why.

Yes, I can appreciate that the people who came up with "The Blair Witch Project" probably saw this film. You do have the whole bit about a documentary film crew disappearing and finding the film that reveals what happens to them, but in the end "Blair Witch" proved to be almost a shaggy dog story, because you never really see anything, and that is most certainly not the case with "Cannibal Holocaust." What gave "Blair Witch" its power was that it was constantly giving the audience cinematic clues that something was about to happen, without getting to that moment. Essentially the audience is as taunt as can be for over an hour while watching that film. "Cannibal Holocaust" gives you amply opportunity to lose your lunch, and the film of recent vintage that I was remind of more was "Vacancy," specifically the snuff films that we see on the videos on the television (and which are a bonus feature on the DVD). Both have the same grainy, cinema veritie quality, and both produce disquiet because of their style as well as their substance.

I know that I came across this film because it was mentioned as being superior to "Hostel," "Wolf Creek," and other torture-porn films, but clearly it is more of an exploitation film than a horror film. I am also old enough to remember "Mondo Cane," which they actually showed us in high school, and clearly "Cannibal Holocaust" is in that tradition. It has been three decades since I saw "Mondo Cane" and I still remember the guy with the machete decapitating the bull, people eating insects, and the Oscar nominated song "More." However, nothing in that film compares to what happens when the "documentarians" drag a turtle from the river in the scene that could make you eject the film from your DVD player before it is even half over. This becomes the most disquieting scene in the film because it is totally real. What happens to the human beings in this film might look real, and Ruggero Deodato was actually accused of making a snuff film (he made his actors sign contracts to "disappear" for a year to maintain the illusion they were real people who were killed and not just actors), but it is all faked, albeit in an extremely effective manner.

While I am convinced "Cannibal Holocaust" is rightfully considered an exploitation film rather than a horror film, the harder question to graphic with is whether it should also be considered social commentary. The documentary film crew goes to the Amazon rainforests to show the barbarity of these cannibal tribes, but it is the Americans who are revealed to be the monsters. Is this social criticism or a convenient excuse for all the blood and gore? After all, when Monroe goes to South America he sees evidence of how brutal the natives can be when he sees a man punishing to death is wife for adultery. It is telling that what happens to Yates and the others does not bother us as much as the atrocities these supposedly civilized people inflict on the "cannibals." The conclusion of the film ultimately convinces me that the social criticism aspects are just to allow Deodato to get away with the blood and gore. This film might be in a class by itself as an exploitation film, but that is what it is in the end, and by that standard it belongs on the dubious A-list that exists for such movies.

"Cannibal Holocaust" is an unforgettable film, which might be why some of you will never want to see it, and hopefully those of you who need to be warned have been. This 2-disc DVD certainly tries to defend, if not explain, its place in the history of exploitation cinema. There is a commentary track and a different on camera commentary version of the film, so you can just listen to Deodato or you can watch him watch the film and listen to him. There is an Animal Cruelty-Free Version of the film that you can see, but while I can understand wanting to refrain from seeing the turtle scene ever again, it is, of course, impossible to judge "Cannibal Holocaust" on its own terms if you see an edited version (even if the deletions reflect the regrets of the director and others for having included them in the first place). The shooting script is also available as a DVD-Rom extra so that you can see how much "worse the film could have been." "Inside the Green Inferno" continues the conceit with title card the biographies of the filmmakers, the search team, the three cannibal tribes, and an alternative version of "Last Road to Hell," the film-within-the-film viewed by Professor Monroe before he goes off in search of the lost documentarians.
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on September 17, 2005
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.
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on October 5, 2013
If you are a Collector and Absolutely need this Movie in your Collection, Then Buy this Version of Cannibal Holocaust. It's Perfect, the Cover is Probably the most Popular and when you open this Thing up, You will see 2 Disks. The Disk's covers are Camera Reels. It's like you own the Actual Camera Reels from the Film! Then you will find that the case is clear and You can see from the inside, the girl Impaled on the Pole. Great case. Also I think it will come with the Fold-out poster of the Impaled girl and it will say 'Holocausto Canibal' That's Pretty Awesome. Now the Content, on the First Reel, (Disk 1) Features the Uncut Version of Cannibal Holocaust and the Animal Cruelty-Free Version. Now let me tell you the quality is Freaking Amazing! It's very clear and the Audio is very strong. On the Second Reel, (Disk 2) There is a bunch of Bonus Features to Watch, Such as a Long Documentary on the Making of Cannibal Holocaust and Interviews with Ruggero Deodato (Director), Robert Kerman (Harold Munroe), and Gabriel Yorke (Allan Yates). There is the Original Trailers, The Shooting Script, Select On-Camera Commentary, Audio Commentary with The Director and Robert Kerman and there is a Poster and Still Gallery and Biographies. What more could you ask for! This is a Perfect Version of this Film and Contains Everything. The Film itself is a Classic Horror Film. Its Extremely Powerful the First time you see it and it's so shocking that the Director and Producer were Arrested! Throughout the Film you see very Brutal Rape, Cannibalism, and of course, the REAL Animal Killings. The effects are so good that they Might Not Even be Effects at all... So in Other Words, If you like Amazing, Powerful and Classic Horror Films, this is a Keeper! The Composition by Riz Ortolani is a Masterpiece too, The Beautiful Opening theme sets you in a layed-back mood and takes your shields down. When the Horror starts, the Sinister Music and the Disturbing Images hit you like a 'Shotgun Blast to the Senses!' So go ahead and Sit back with your Buds and a Drink in your hand and Prepare for Extreme Horror!
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on June 19, 2015
This is a COMMENT rather than a review. If you bothered to do a GOOGLE search for comparisons of the many different versions...this "Shameless version" is a new one. We should be looking for the version released by GRINDHOUSE (which interestingly enough was partly owned by Sylvester Stallone's now deceased son Sasha). It's a 3-disc R1 bluray. Is this one as good? I don't know. Only has 2 discs...never heard any reviews outside of
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on July 17, 2015
Awesome transfer visually and audibly. Extreme in every way yet still manages to be a very touching and profound film with its message. Artwork and special features included are an exclusive and interesting must have for any lovers or collectors Grindhouse and horror cinema.
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on September 5, 2007
Cannibal Holocaust will affect you. It is shocking, disgusting, and actually scary.
The Grindhouse Relasing Deluxe Edition DVD is great. The sound and picture are fantastic, and there are tons of extras. It even comes with a poster!
You may have to take a shower after viewing Cannibal Holocaust, it does not leave you with a good feeling.

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on February 17, 2006
Don't believe the hype with this one folks. If you're looking for gore you're better off watching documentaries on actual wars or checking out an uncensored PETA video. They're far more disturbing and won't cost you anywhere near as much.
This movie was a total flop. The only thing this movie had going for it was the story, which needed to be fleshed out (pardon the pun) a lot more. It's a pretty cool tale about a professor who goes to South America to learn the whereabouts of some of his students who traveled down south to make a documentary on cannibal tribes in the Amazon. He luckily befriends one of the cannibal tribes and retieves the footage. Upon returning to New York with the footage he discovers that the students who went to make the documentary were slaughtered by the tribe because they were a bunch of a$$holes and tried to massacre the tribe. This is the biggest flaw in the movie because it makes you almost glad when the students get slaughtered because they were such jerks, thereby completely defeating the shock value of how the tribe dismembers them and eats them. Other problems with the movie include atrocious acting, irritating camera shots (very much like "The Blair Witch Project"), and a pathetic attempt at posing the philosophical question of "I wonder who the real cannibals are...?"
All in all this movie blew chunks. It deserves a place in cinimatic history only because of what happened to the director and other crew after its release. For a somewhat jaded viewer of the 21st century this movie is nothing more than a waste of 1 hour and a half. If you're a sick little puppy and you're looking for gore you're better off watching the latest slasher flick out of Hollywood, which isn't saying much, or being brave enough to watch actual footage on the internet of actual events.
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on March 25, 2010
Just thought I'd pass on the word, that this 2008 edition of Cannibal Holocaust from Grindhouse, is in fact the 25th anniversary edition ( just with a new cover and no limited edition numbering).

The discs have the same "film reel" design art work, and even the insert from the 25th anniversary edition is included.

So now you can get your cannibal jollies, without having to pay the close to $100 asking price, for the out of print 25th anniversary edition.
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on September 6, 2011
This has to be equally shocking as Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly). Even though I thought that it is more gruesom as the H.G Lewis movies Blood Feast; 2000 Maniacs; Color Me Blood Red; The Gruesome Twosome; The WIzard of Gore and The Gore Gore Girls. How about a remake without animals and fictional gore? I think this should be done because more people would prefer to see a remake without animals.
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on March 10, 2011
This is by far, the best product i bought on amazon this year.
I knew i had bought a special edition film but this is THE special edition of cannibal holocaust!
Only thing is that it took 14 days before i got it...
Except from that perfect PERFECT and perfect.
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