Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

In this homage to cinéma vérité Ruggero Deodato, a self confessed disciple of Jacopetti, was so successful at directing a convincing and authentic feeling cannibal movie that it resulted in a court case where the actors had to be brought forward to prove that this was in fact no snuff movie. Cannibal Holocaust does however contain a number of executions in a movie within a move that utilizes documentary footage.

By using real weapons, in this instance to shoot a pig, the viewer is conditioned to believe that all the killings in the movie are real. They are not. However in one exceptionally effective special effect Cannibal Holocaust manages to convincingly create the illusion of a woman being impaled on a pole.

There are a number of real animal deaths in the movie, a pig is snuffed out quickly and a coati, that is wrongly referred to in the feature as a muskrat, is not so lucky as it suffers a slow and all too real death as the camera lingers. We hear the creature's pitiful squeals as it is dispatched in the name of entertainment.

Cannibal Holocaust is an extremely effective and nasty feature and potential first time viewers should be forewarned that it contains haunting and disturbing imagery that will remain with the viewer for a long time. Those seeking out the thrills of increasingly shocking cinema may well realise at this point that they have pushed a little too far when viewing this one. Watching a movie such as Cannibal Holocaust is no game and as such it is an impossible film to be recommended to the uninitiated. Treat this one with caution. This is not a challenge and if you are unsure about this then steer clear.


Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics