There are few films out there that can break through the desensitized glaze we have constructed as a national immunity. The genre of “gore” has always been at the forefront of shock cinema, and the 1980 film “Cannibal Holocaust” is the granddaddy of the gore films.
The premise of “Cannibal Holocaust” is four film students go missing after departing to a strange primitive island inhabited by cannibalistic tribes. A recon team is sent in to find the missing students, but to no avail. Instead the film canisters are salvaged and this footage makes up a greater portion of the film.
If this sounds familiar it may have to do with the blockbuster film “The Blair Which project” which shares the same marketing strategy as “Cannibal Holocaust” in the respect that both films were popularized by pre released rumors of the films being “real”. Although neither films were real, “Holocaust” was as close to real as you could get. The scenes of rape, murder, and animal cruelty are vivid and disturbing.
Although Deodato was acquitted on charges of murder and allegations of several other crimes, the allegations of animal cruelty turned out to be real, the actors taking place in the killing of several animals in the movie, in a inhumane manner.
Deodato was known as a very temperamental director that would scream at his cast members, and show little emotion for the animal cruelty he demanded in the film.
The court trials that followed in Italy, accused Deodato of murder and basically creating a “snuff” film. Later it was uncovered that Deodato had his actors sign a contract that would keep them out of any commercials or films for a year, a marketing move to generate a buzz that the actors were in fact murdered.
Deodato’s vision was cut short when several countries banned the movie. But those countries has since lifted the ban on the movie, and it still shocks people today.
“Cannibal” is supposed to be a look at the sinister nature of man, and his utter disrespect for life and other cultures, the movie becomes hypocritical though when by demonstrating the evils of man, it in itself commits those atrocities and revels in it. The message is lost in the film, and all your left with is a revolting sensation that you just witnessed something vile and strange. The film itself is a testament to special effects (providing they are effects) and definitely sets the bar high for competing gore films. If your looking for something truly unnerving, this film is the one to see.