Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Cannibal Holocaust”
By: Brian Cotnoir
Regarded as one of the most controversial films of all-time, “Cannibal Holocaust” tells the story of an anthropologist, named Harold Monroe, who goes to the Amazon in search of four young documentary makers who went missing while they were filming indigenous tribes. Monroe eventually locates the tribe that the documentarians were filming and at first the tribes greet Dr. Monroe and his group with fear and hostility, but eventually they come to peace. Monroe leans that the four people he went searching for were murdered by the tribe. Fortunately, for Monroe the tribe still had saved the documentarian’s film reels. After viewing the reels, Monroe learns about what really happened to the young filmmakers and how they met their most unfortunate demise.
This film shows a lot of horrible things. It’s excessively, violent and graphic to point of nausea. The film’s director, Ruggero Deodato, went as far as to have live animals killed for this film. Let me just say you never EVER want to hear a turtle or cotamundi scream out in pain. This film has been banned in many different countries; including the United States (the ban was lifted in 1985). I think if the film didn’t show actual animals being killed than it would probably be one of my favorite films because I like the films story and the special effects are some of the best I have ever seen; when they show scenes where one of the characters is being murdered it actually looks very realistic and you could swear that a person was actually killed. The effects are so good that many people who first saw “Cannibal Holocaust” thought that it was an actual documentary and Deodato was put on trial for murder in Italy. Members of the cast had to appear in court to show that they were still alive, so Deodato could be acquitted. Anyone who makes a film so realistic that they get put on trial for murder has got to have talent.
I’m absolutely clueless as to whether I should recommend this film to people because I personally liked parts of it, but again there were those few things that made me think I was going to vomit, and it wasn’t just animal deaths that made me feel nauseas. There’s a scene that shows one of the villagers being impaled and another where one of the documentarians is castrated by the tribe and it all looks so real! I’ve shown this film to four other people and it left them all completely speechless, but the one thought they all had was “I’m-not-quite-sure-how-I-felt-about-the-things-I-saw-in-this-movie”. So if you’re feeling a daring (and can actually find a DVD copy of the film) I wish you the best of luck, but be forewarned, there isn’t any movie like this out there that I can compare it to, and I don’t think another movie this graphic and this violent will ever be made again.