Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cannibal Holocaust

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Cannibal Holocaust - 2 out of 5

I had heard about this film years ago but never saw it.  It is considered one of the most offensive and controversial films of all time.  It wasn't until a friend reminded me of its existence did I finally seek it out and actually watch it.

Cannibal Holocaust is about a film crew that goes missing while doing a documentary on cannibals in the Amazon.  A New York professor goes out to try and find them only to discover that they have left this mortal coil and all that remains is the footage they filmed.  The professor returns to the Big Apple and starts to put together a documentary about the lost film team.  However, after actually viewing what went on, he begins to have second thoughts...

Creepy molesting uncle or evil genius out to take over the world?

Why was this film so controversial and still banned in some countries to this day?  Well, when it came out, the death scenes seemed so real and authentic that the director was brought up on charges of indecency and murder.  I know this idea that people can be fooled into think a movie is real and not fiction seems like a silly idea--and even seems silly for 1980 when the movie came out--but bear in mind that there are people in the world who didn't know the Titanic was a real ship.  In order to sell the fantasy of the movie, the director made the actors who played the doomed film crew sign a contract that stated they would have to disappear for a year.  However, being pulled into court, director Ruggero Deodato quickly shredded the contracts to prove his innocence.  Once it was seen the actors were alive and well, the murder charges were dropped.  However the rumors that the film was an actual snuff film still exist to this day.

It was hard to find stills that didn't contain nudity, violence or death.
So...enjoy this building.

But Deodato didn't get away clean and free...

Within the film, graphic depictions of animal mutilations can be seen (and boy are they hard to watch).  Because of this, the film has been condemned and bashed for these scenes of animal cruelty.  However, it just goes to show you that as long as your film is critically acclaimed and wins Academy Awards because it has Marlon Brando in it *Cough--Apocalypse Now--Cough*, you can get away with killing real animals in your movie without being criticized for it.

Hey, is that Louis Gossett Jr.?

With all the controversy and hype behind the film, it's no wonder it achieved cult status and it is in this status that I enjoy the film.  This may sound odd but I actually don't like the movie.  It's grotesque and hard to sit through and the subject material is unpleasant to say the least.  However, unlike other films that are shocking for the sole purpose of being shocking *Another Cough--The Human Centipede II--Cough* this movie wasn't created to be just something to make the audience squirm.  Those behind Cannibal Holocaust were really out to do something different--something different that just so happens to contain scenes that would make an audience fidget.

Most shocking thing about this film...that man is drinking Miller High Life
from a glass.

Unlike most shock films, this movie actually has a story that is stronger than a piece of string that connects the brutal scenes together.  Even more unique is the fact that this film contains elements of the "found footage" genre long before the idea of "found footage" became an actual genre and meant we have to endure the unpleasantness of uncreative people and bad actors setting up camcorders to make gimmicky bad movies.  Even more interesting:  Porn actor Robert Kerman was in this as he attempted to get out of the adult film industry.  Sadly, this movie almost destroyed that legitimate career and he went back to banging ladies on film.

Uh oh, Kerman's porn instincts are kicking in.

Truth be told, I didn't enjoy Cannibal Holocaust as a film.  I enjoy it from a technical aspect, a film historical aspect and from a perspective of what it means for Free Speech.  The movie went into territory that was new and groundbreaking for the world of shock horror.  Sure we can blame it for giving us the awful Paranormal Activity movies but how were they to know that they were going to be kicking a hornet's nest when they added the fresh element of 1st person perspective.  The fact the movie has achieved cult status and the controversy that surrounded its production and release is another element I enjoy about it.  Anytime a movie, song or a piece of art can get people's collective panties in a tight wad is both fascinating and amusing to me--not to mention the fact the movie has been attempted to be censored all these years only to still exist in its uncut form is the ultimate victory of Free Speech.  I don't like Cannibal Holocaust because it's disturbing to watch and the story isn't really a cup of tea I'm comfortable with consuming but the fact it was made despite the naysayers trying to cover it up is what I like about it.  Unlike other films meant to just shock you and whether or not you agree, Cannibal Holocaust is a work of macabre art in the world of cinema.

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