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304 out of 443 people found the following review useful:

Remarkable. What a film!!!

Author: blayzer_trayl from London, England
2 December 2004

I cant believe some people have scathed this great film. It deserves a lot higher rating.

I got this movie out thinking it was going to be a brainless splatter fest. But after watching it in completion I was bowled over ..I wasn't expecting to be challenged by its visuals as well as with the sociological lessons and questions it raised.

The film is real, genuine and honest to the subject topic: 'Barbarity' can be innate in all humans.

It can be argued that humans coming into the homo-sapiens stage of evolution survived and expanded because of what is now considered barbarous savage ways. Savagery was a survival tool. We came from barbarity...and to an extent we still are savages.

Though the acting is poor in most places ...the film director portrays cannabilism and barbarism ...and portrays it rather intelligently.

Obvious connotations can be made to Blair Witch Project. I'm sure the crew that made BWP was inspired by this movie.

The film follows a Professor investigating the disappearance of an American film team (3 guys and girl) that went into the jungle of South America to film a documentary about the native cannibals.

The Professor with a couple of jungle assistants venture into the jungle to trace the lost Americans footsteps. He manages to get on the trail and slowly uncovers the grizzly ways of the jungle tribes! By carefully befriending these natives he captures the lost film reels and returns back to his skyscraper clad conurbation.

In amongst the film there is the media business cogs turning. The dilemma of TV executives battling with the Professor to air the once lost footage on TV for the viewing public. The professor is reluctant.

The professor seems the only person possessed with moral understanding and compassion throughout the film ..everyone else it seems is after ratings, fame, money or blood.

The film commences its ending by playing back the raw footage of what the expedition team filmed...and it is shocking. Questions arise: Who is committing the real 'evil' savagery here?

As for the animal cruelty scenes: Yes they are real and shocking. But should it be anymore shocking than the beef burger that is served up in McDonalds. Cows are slaughtered everyday. Perhaps one needs to watch a bovine neck getting slit before they take it for granted they are eating a nice juicy steak on their plate. The film portrays the reality of human meat consumption...and yes all kinds of animals are killed for the human appetite, especially in the wild - someone will do it! For those who dispute this film on these grounds 'Can you handle life?' This stuff still goes on regardless of whether u see it happen or not.

This film is absolutely brilliant. A cult classic. I can see it making a revival...but don't know when...perhaps in some years time.

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162 out of 197 people found the following review useful:

A clever,disturbing masterpiece of exploitation cinema

Author: DrLenera
21 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Cannibal Holocaust is nasty,sometimes VERY hard to watch,arguably sick,horrible,you name it. It's also a near masterpiece by it's director Ruggero Deodato {who never came near the quality of this film again}. It's a horror film in the most literal sense. It's not scary in the slightest,it doesn't attempt to make you jump. Despite it's scenes of horrendous violence,it's not even a simple 'gross out' a la Braindead. What Deadato attempted with this film is to disturb the viewer, provoke a reaction and make him or her THINK. The film has a powerful message about man's cruelty and violence,and Deodato just tackles it totally head on. This,and the fact that it is so well made{lets face it,some of the so-called 'video nasties' seem laughable now}are probably why the film has had so much censor trouble. Even if you hate it,it sticks with you,it's horrifying images staying in the mind for ages.

And they are indeed many. People being ripped open and eaten,including even a penis being partially torn off. A woman having a foetus torn out of her and it buried in mud. Another woman raped with a dildo and than having a mudball with nails on thrust between her legs too. A brief fake documentary showing disturbingly realistic executions. The list goes on. You would be forgiven for thinking that this is just exploitative nastiness. However, {and this is just one of the many things that separates this film from the many other films of the cannibal subgenre],we are being shown this stuff to get us to think,not just about mankind's violence to each other and his ignorance of other races but also about violence in the news {and oddly enough,the glut of 'reality'shows on TV today also make the film pertinent}. And it also toys with our sympathies in a devilishly clever way. Cannibalism seems horrible to most of us, but at the end aren't we almost pleased to see the protagonists eaten by the natives when they have spent the previous half hour mistreating and abusing them?

The film is oddly structured,with the second half being basically the 'film' which the characters in the first half of the film find. The second half has the most power,even if there are shots which couldn't actually have been taken by the filmmakers. Deodato actually shows great skill in many of the gory effects scenes by showing just enough of the effects to be effective but not dwelling on them so the fakery starts to show,and the climatic orgy of cannibalism is all the more shocking because much of it is only partially glimpsed,making more of an impression. Riz Ortolani's often bleakly beautiful score is superb and even the dubbing of the {good if not great}actors is not bad.

The one thing about the film that is hardest to defend is the animal cruelty {unless you see the UK DVD,which removes it}. In one particularly notable scene a large turtle is dragged out of the water and in what seems like real time is disembowelled. It probably is sickening that animals were killed for a film,yet this IS how the natives of many places survive,by killing animals and eating them,and is this really any more sickening than the way chickens are couped up in factories, stuffed with food and basically bred to die? Answers on a postcard please.

Cannibal Holocaust is quite simply essential viewing not just for fans of extreme cinema but for adult fans of cinema full stop,as long as of course they can stomach it!

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162 out of 207 people found the following review useful:

Not the campfest I expected

Author: Superunknovvn from Austria, Vienna
22 July 2004

"Cannibal Holocaust" is not the campy little horror flick I expected. It's a "serious" and well-made movie and it's an experience you'll hardly ever forget. According to IMDb's trivia section the movie can "only be seen completely uncut in the EC-UltraBit DVD", which means that I've seen a tamed down version and that, my friends, is insane! "Cannibal Holocaust" is easily one of the most graphic movies I've ever come across. The violence is incredibly realistic. It's no wonder that director Ruggero Deodato was taken to court to prove that he hasn't slain real people for his motion picture. (I still think the real animal slaughtering in the movie was unnecessary. Screw you for that, Deodato!) It's hard to tell if there really is a message or if the "moral" is just an excuse for all the gore. In a strange way the violent scenes somehow speak for themselves and do deliver some kind of message, but that's open for discussion.

If ever a movie deserved the label "disturbing", it's "Cannibal Holocaust". It's controversial, but totally worth watching, if you can take some seriously sick images.

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125 out of 157 people found the following review useful:

A disturbing and damning portrayal of civilised society.

Author: Snake-666 from England
7 September 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Professor Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman aka porn star Richard Bolla) travels into the jungles of South America to try and discover what happened to a group of three documentary film makers who have been missing now for some time. After locating a primitive tribe Monroe manages to strike a deal and salvage what is left of Alan (Gabriel Yorke), Faye (Francesca Ciardi) and Jack (Perry Pirkanen).

They say there is a fine line between genius and insanity and I think in ‘Cannibal Holocaust' director Ruggero Deodatto made that line as thin as possible. To call this movie depraved and sick would only give it half the credit it deserves because ‘Cannibal Holocaust' is meant to be sick as it shows how sickening our own society is but in the most morally corrupt way imaginable. Featuring numerous repulsive acts such as a real live turtle flaying, a foetus being ripped from a woman's body, rape, castration and impalement the film sets about to portray the `civilised' documentary filmmakers as no better than the primitive cannibals. Even though the actors are barely competent enough to do their job it becomes almost enjoyable (in a very sadistic way) to watch them suffer at the hands of those they have wronged. However, from a moralistic standpoint even watching this movie is wrong.

I don't think this is the type of movie you either love or hate on an entertainment basis but you either agree or disagree with how it presents its case. ‘Cannibal Holocaust' is certainly nothing short of an endurance test in viewing as the senses are raped by the foul imagery constantly portrayed within. Filmed on a shoe string budget with virtually no production values evident, ‘Cannibal Holocaust' has a disturbing realistic grittiness that is almost unparalleled by any other movie and a huge influence for ‘The Blair Witch Project' almost twenty years later. I feel that because the movie is so badly made and the very fact it was produced is more damning to society than the events portrayed within many people feel that it is nothing more than a senseless bloodbath with no redeeming features and a hypocritical storyline – and to an extent they are probably right! Whether the viewer appreciates or despises this movie is totally dependant on the viewer and it is unfair for anybody else to make judgements on that person based on their opinion of this movie.

‘Cannibal Holocaust' is not about a sharp storyline, great acting or superb special effects (though the unsimulated effects are generally good). Instead it is about humanity in general. If you believe you can cope with violent and repulsive imagery and scenes of unbelievable cruelty then go ahead and watch it but otherwise it is certainly one to avoid. Some people will probably find the moralising over such repulsive subject matter offensive and I can't say that I blame them. However, there is a message there and this movie makes an extremely bold statement. The question is though whether it was right to make the statement in this way? From an artistic standpoint it holds no real value but remains an interesting movie. My rating for ‘Cannibal Holocaust' – 6/10.

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117 out of 153 people found the following review useful:

A look into the evil of humanity

Author: Helltopay27 from United States
21 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ruggero Deodato may be the most hated film director on the planet for his disturbing exploitation masterpiece that is Cannibal Holocaust. It's truly one of the few films that lives up to the hype its marketing gives it. The posters scream, "The one that goes all the way!" How true. "Can a movie go too far?" I think in this instance, yes. Cannibal Holocaust is now and will always be the most disturbing motion picture ever made. The brutality in what it shows and the unbelievable disregard for emotion that the film makers portray is enough to make you shudder without actually seeing the movie. Some of the displays in the movie are hard to even believe a human being could think up such vile and putrid acts, and they're shown in raw, uncut form. Deodato doesn't try to stray away from the action or try to censor with camera tricks. He sticks the camera right into the mix and displays some of the most shocking and nauseating images ever put to film. Of course it's perverse, and of course it's putrid, objectionable, and all other vile things you can think of, but despite all this, it's still an incredible film; a true landmark in movie history.

The movie begins with a TV program about the documentarians who go missing - Alan Yates, director; Faye Daniels, script girl and Alan's fiancé; and Mark Tomasso and Jack Anders, both cameramen. NYU anthropology professor Harold Monroe heads to the Amazon to lead the search "team," which consists of a hardened jungle guide and his young, talented assistant. They witness disturbing and shocking rituals by all three local tribes, the Yakumo, Yanomano, and Shamitari, which is the beginning of the moral stand Deodato takes. After gaining some trust with the Yanomanos, Monroe discovers that the documentarian troupe had been killed. Frustrated with the Yanomanos' hostility and brutality, Monroe trades the group's footage (possessed by the Yanomanos) for a tape recorder. Back in New York, he views the material and discovers who the real savages are. As the film starts out, we sympathize with these four who, for the sake of information, go into the jungle for research, only to be savagely mutilated by brutal primitives. However, we come to realize that the natives were the victims of civilized society by being tortured and exploited in incredibly grotesque and inhumane ways by the documentarians, which ultimately lead to their demise in an incredible, horrifying, and disturbing climax. The climax is all the more disturbing that Faye, the script girl, received the full blunt of retribution, when she was, in fact, seemingly innocent and took no participation in the evil (and actually tries to stop it). The trouble is that she's powerless to the three other men in her group. What Deodato's intentions were to include a character like Faye is unclear, other than maybe to heighten the disturbing factor of the film's climax.

It pulls no punches. There is no chance for you to escape. Every time you think you're finally safe, you're slammed with more and more visceral content. It never stops. However, Deodato does make these horrifying and disturbing images into a cinematic masterpiece. What separates Cannibal Holocaust from other exploitative sleaze (other than being competently made and well acted) is the inclusion of subtle social commentary. Had this been a film that was grotesque for the sake of being grotesque (like Lenzi's later Cannibal Ferox), it would be as reprehensible as many claim. However, the movie instead tests our ethics and our stomachs with some of the most realistically gruesome images ever portrayed on film. The message is simple: while we can think of outsiders and, in some cases, primitives as savages, our hate and discrimination can turn US into the savages (such as racist hate of minorities). The film makes us look into ourselves. We came from savagery, and savages we are. The pinnacle of this is during a scene where the film makers impale a young girl that they just raped, and are smiling at the disturbing result. This also reflects what incredibly visceral images we as humans can find as entertaining, and also suggests that the media stages their sensationalized footage (like the film makers in the movie). And if not, it condemns the media for focusing on the violence and exploitation of the news instead of trying for honest journalism. How is easily explained. The team's goal was to produce harrowing and nasty footage, all to make into a "documentary," and obviously, the more shocking, the more unbelievable, the more successful, and staged the footage to achieve this. The all too obvious irony is that this film is in itself morally reprehensible, and still has an incredible following and fan base.

Though it is an incredible film, it's obviously not for everyone, especially the animal activist, as six animals are actually killed on screen, which is probably the most controversial aspect of the film, and the worst part of which is that the animal killings are actually unnecessary, and have no ground in the plot or morals of the rest of the movie. However, the fake human violence alone, whether it's simple gore or horrific rape, is enough to make it the most brutal movie experience ever. Other mainstream shockers such as Texas Chain Saw Massacre pale in comparison to the savagery of what is Cannibal Holocaust. Never have I felt so depressed after viewing a film, which is amplified by Riz Ortolani's beautiful, flowing melody that shocks and disturbs at times by playing during the most disturbing parts of the movie. If you are able to stomach the film enough to see it, hopefully you'll be able to look past the violence, disgusting material, cruel animal killings, and the outright evil this film depicts and see the true nature of a political statement. The downfall of the cannibal genre, Cannibal Holocaust truly stands in a league of its own.

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164 out of 248 people found the following review useful:

A must see experience

Author: Zombie79 from Oxford, Uk
10 December 1999

Cannibal holocaust is a truly charged viewing experience; in all its 20 years of existence no other non mondo film (until maybe Men behind the sun) had such a reputation to shock, even today it is believed by some at the UKs trading standards to be an actual snuff film. CH is not the goriest film ever made, but in terms of themes and narrative its still the cruellest, most fascinatingly harsh piece of filmaking in the horror genre. Ive seen all the Traces of death, the men behind the sun films, and the Guinea pigs and I still think this is king. It is simply so well made, acted, atmospheric and the brilliant score by Riz Ortalani sets the scene so well. The fake documentary style never slips up. But perhaps the most unsettling thing about CH is that it is an exploitation film, and the scenes of animal cruelty (and even human) unsettle because they are being shown to promote a response...should you look away or not?Like I said Cannibal Holocaust is a truly unique experience, not some Gory novelty like Cannibal Ferox, and in this time of increased media coverage of true life atrocity maybe its pertinent? Maybe its just nasty cruelty, maybe it even dissapoints just have to see it to gauge you're own response. For me at least its a classic.

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98 out of 143 people found the following review useful:

Deodato's compelling, soul-grinding, matchless masterpiece

Author: TC Raymond from England
14 January 2004

Finally available in a slightly edited form in the UK, Ruggero Deodato's infamous 'video nasty' stands apart from almost every other banned title by virtue of the fact that it looks stunning, is well-directed, unflinchingly acted and stops at nothing to get its message across. Not since the notoriously disturbing documentary THE ANIMALS FILM (1981) or Mick Jackson's harrowing THREADS (1984) has a movie so comprehensively knocked the stuffing out of me with its grim-faced persistence, huge swathes of seething anger and sheer kinetic energy.

I sat down to watch Cannibal Holocaust one evening and was captivated from the outset, as Deodato's camera glides across the Amazon to Riz Ortolani's enormously haunting score. When the film ended, it seemed as if only half an hour or so had passed, because all my attention had been with the events unfolding on the screen. Deodato does not allow room for the viewer to breathe, let alone become distracted, as he pummels us with moments of shattering brutality, amazing tranquility, adrenalin-soaked fear and escalating madness. Whilst the point Deodato has to make is simple - that our 'civilized society' is every bit as rapacious and disgusting as the primitive society of the jungle tribes - the way he chooses to make it is anything but, effortlessly juggling the real and the imagined (the line between the two becomes even more blurred with the introduction of the infamous 'Last Road To Hell' sequence), turning the audience against the supposed good guys and forcing us by fair means or foul to re-evaluate where we stand in relation to the issues raised with every frame that passes. Cannibal Holocaust is NOT a film to be taken lightly, or watched with friends as a Friday night beer-and-burgers movie. It deserves your undivided attention and utmost seriousness, because only then will its raw power and unremitting intensity hit you as hard as the director intended.

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75 out of 99 people found the following review useful:

Sympathy for the devil

Author: Tristan ( from Seattle, WA, United States
2 January 2004

Cannibal Holocaust was, first and foremost, a disgusting movie with more violence than I have ever seen. Despite this, it is also one of my favorite movies. It gives a feeling of Blair Witch done right, even though there are some very obviously contrived scenes in which nobody is holding the camera, but despite some small cosmetic problems this is the best horror movie I have ever seen.

Unlike most "shock" films, such as the Guinea Pig movies, Cannibal Holocaust has a very well written plot and a definite progression. The focus is still on making the audience ill, but we don't even see any violence until fairly late in the movie, so the emphasis on plot is much stronger. The story told is a deep one, showing the lengths at which people will go for some goal, the example given being fame and fortune. The theme is reflected in parallel story lines through the second half of the movie, as Alan and his crew go to more and more desperate lengths for fame, and the professor struggles against a big media company to suppress the release of their footage. Even in a "meta" sense, we see the theme appear once again in the lengths the director of Cannibal Holocaust itself went, going so far as to kill and butcher four animals on camera.

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105 out of 174 people found the following review useful:

perhaps the most brilliant, beautiful, and disturbing "horror" film of all time.

Author: wesley c covey (SWANKSTAR2000) from new york, new york
25 August 2001

directed by italian maestro ruggero deodato, 'cannibal holocaust' is a haunting, beautifully filmed masterpiece. deodato, known for a spattering of mostly laughable eroto-horror, hit the mark with a few wonderful pictures, notably 'house by the edge of the park,' 'jungle holocaust,' and this, his greatest film. contrasting powerful, horrific imagery with a gorgeous, melodic soundtrack by composer riz ortolani. the most impressive aspect of the film, however, is it's remarkable super-realism. i have seen very few horror films, if any, that are acted with such passion and naturality. the film is exploitative, extreme, brutal, and marvelous... see it!

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53 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

A brutal cinematic masterpiece that you will not want to watch again, but will still feel that urge to watch it again

Author: isaac-cady from United States
25 December 2007

Cannibal Holocaust is very deserving of it's controversy, but it is definitely not tacky and for pure shock value, something I half expected (I discovered this movie while reading about the August Underground movies and was way more intrigued by a controversial movie with meaning and plot). It's in your face, it at least seems real (and is real in some parts). Never have I ever seen such convincing special effects in a movie and this was a low-budget 70s movie, CGI will never recreate it. But beyond the special effects there is a message and meaning and very engaging story.

I'll break down the review into sections.

Plot/story (9/10): Think of The Blair Witch Project, except not trying to put itself off as real. A group of 4 documenters go into the amazon jungle to film the "savages" and cannibals that live there. They do not return and it is up to an anthropologist to find them or at least what was left of them. Throughout the movie we learn of the documentary crew's tendency to push and bribe people into committing extreme acts of violence through actual footage from people being killed by soldiers in Nigeria. The movie portrays it as if it was a documentary shot by the crew in which they payed the soldiers off to kill innocent people execution style. As the story progresses the viewer is forced to try and comprehend who exactly are the real savages. Not to mention the social overtones of how modern society ties into all of this. It loses a point, though, because the dialog sometimes is very iffy, even though you can tell they were trying to be realistic, but this hinders the actors, especially with their lack of experience.

Acting (7/10): This is where the movie suffers. It gets better as the movie progresses and things get more intense (this may be do to the actual moralities of the actors and how they felt about the movie showing through in their characters). But when it starts out, I'm almost reminded of campy b-movies. The cinematic presentation and pure intrigue is what kept me going. Again, though, the script writing obviously provided some challenges for the actors.

Cinematography (10/10): Speaking of cinematic presentation, this movie does it beautifully, even from the opening shot from a helicopter flying over the rain-forest. The studio and movie-style aspects of the film are very convincing and very well-done. Hollywood couldn't do better with a 10 million dollar budget. The creativity and use of close-ups really pulls you in, and you begin to question the reality of even the part of the movie that is presented as fictional. And that doesn't even cover the great mockumentary work. The director's understanding of how documentaries are made and how they work is extremely convincing. the use of normal scenes of the crew kind of doddling around really help to present a feeling of reality. And the aspects of limited film and the amateurish/spontaneous filming style are almost convincing enough to make the viewer think they used real footage to build a fictional movie around.

Audio (10/10) Again, I'm reminded of Apocalypse Now. The music is melodic and somewhat peaceful, adding a real eerie tone to the serious and macabre theme of the movie. It is very 70s though, and I would not expect to here the same soundtrack in a new movie, although some of the musical flavors are indeed timeless. And there are some more intense scores in the film, but they are not over-intense like most Hollywood today. Then we get into sound design, which is very convincing, the tearing and the screaming all sound real, or as I would expect them to sound. The new mixing with stereo is well and really helps immerse the viewer.

On the animal violence: This is something that I thought would disturb me. The animal scenes in Amorres Perros disturbed me even though they were not real, but this was real and I wasn't that perturbed by them. People have said that the killing of the animals is useless and doesn't help the plot of the movie, but I feel otherwise. It brings into light that you do have to kill to survive. The documenters kill 6 animals (one is a spider, which some may not count, I do) on screen and 1 is killed off screen. And it obviously irks the actors a little bit (note: when you see vomit, it is indeed real). But the animals are eaten. And all of this adds to the reality of the documentary. It would have been hard fake some most of that. Plus, think of the meat industry today. Hundreds of thousands of cows and pigs slaughtered and millions of chickens and turkeys slaughtered every day in gruesome ways, just so we can eat them. "Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen". Our society frowns upon killing animals, but that burger doesn't magically appear. Blood had to be spilled for our dining pleasure.

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