Cannibal Holocaust

Here it is, folks, in its ugly, all-too-human glory: the most impossibly nasty of all the Video Nasties, without question. Indeed, viewers who think they’ve seen it all will find Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust to be the closest thing to a genuine emotional “holocaust” ever captured in a fiction film. Its groundbreaking, pre-Blair Witch premise: when four arrogant American filmmakers disappear without a trace in the Amazon, a rescue team follows their bloody footsteps — only to recover the lost footage. While most cannibal films can be dismissed thanks to their kitschy special effects and laughable dialogue, this is a far more challenging and dangerous animal. Here, Deodato intentionally blurs the line between cinema and actual mondo doc filmmaking with great skill, brutally tearing preconceptions about Mondo Cane-style practices to shreds — with the verisimilitude of certain sequences causing the viewer to question the reality of everything else onscreen. Love it or hate it, this is an important, vital work; no other film has more horrifically captured the feeling of being lost in the middle of the wilderness, surrounded by forces whose only intent is to track you down and kill you. Its last fifteen minutes, made even more wrenching by Riz Ortolani’s rhapsodic score, have yet to be topped for sheer gut-punch nihilism. Potent and startling, grim and unrelentlessly nasty, Cannibal Holocaust will rip your dick off and shit on it.
Dir. Ruggero Deodato, 1980, 35mm, 96 min. (35mm print courtesy of Grindhouse Releasing)

Watch the trailer for “Cannibal Holocaust”!
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