Thursday, July 14, 2011
bad/awesome flixxx review: Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
"I wonder who the real cannibals are."- Prof. Monroe
"I've seen the rest of the material, you haven't. You haven't seen the stuff that even your editors didn't have the stomach to put together, and if you had, you wouldn't hesitate but to agree with me."- Prof. Monroe
"The only thing I know is we're gonna risk our lives to save those fuckers. Let's go see the Yacumo."- Chaco
**************************** WARNING ************************************
This is the most disturbing movie I've ever seen.
At first I thought it was going to be a Troma flick, funny, campy horror done at no one's expense. I was wrong. This is (according to how you look at it) either one of the scariest films of all time, or one of the most exploitive. In a sense its both. I have good things to say and bad things to say. Its definitely hard to watch. There are things in here that director Ruggero Deodato put in here just for the sake of shock value. But then again, in these countries, these indigenous tribes eat an kill animals in the way some of these scenes portray. The film can also be construed as racist as the tribes depicted here are not and never were mortal enemies of each other. This was all a story... put together in a similar way that the characters depicted in the film piece their story together how they want it to be seen... But we'll get to that. Touted as the most controversial film of all time, once banned in over 50 countries, where the director was accused of killing the actors and actually had to go to court to prove his innocence, I present to you: CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST!!!
Ok, so the film is lambasted for having many disturbing scenes. The quick of it is a team of documentarians go to the Amazon to film tribes that still practice cannibalism. They've been warned that many teams have gone there and never came back, but they are young and cocky and have a reputation of not taking no for an answer. The team has been lost for 5 or 6 weeks when the film begins and a rescue team is being organized. They get a dude named Professor Monroe who knows about indigenous tribes to be the main guy and give him some jungle guides. They begin into the jungle and here's where the shocks begin.
First of all they chop a "muskrat" up, which is really a coatimundi, and he's screaming and cute and its REALLY hard to watch. BUT... in their defense, if you are a meat eater, which a lot of people are not, but even those who don't realize that all over the world, animals are killed for food. We don't like to think about how they are killed. We don't want to even know about it, and sometimes when one does think about it for the first time, they don't eat meat anymore. The team catches a Yacumo kid, and takes him to exchange him for information and to gain entry to their village. Then they head out deeper to see the other tribes. The other tribes are warring, and they help one tribe over the other, and the tree tribe take them back to their tree house. There they try to learn what happened to the film crew, because they keep seeing clues. Finally, the professor gets naked with the tribe women and they take him to the bones. Then in a last ditch effort, he wows them with a tape recorder of chanting and they trade the tape deck for the undamaged film cannisters, the last information of the film crew.
When they get back to NYC, the executives (who I guess sent them out there in the first place- the "suits") want to use the professor to host the documentary once they've edited down the footage. Then they begin to watch the footage. The film crew turn out to be a nasty bunch of people. They watch another film they've done before called 'THE LAST ROAD TO HELL' with heavy footage of soldiers killing people and hauling them off. Then the chick tells him its all fake. So then they get into the amazon footage. They kill a huge turtle and its not that bad, but its disturbing and very graphic as the turtle's legs are kicking after his head's been chopped off. HEAVY. Then the guide gets bit by a snake, and they immediately chop his leg off. Then it shows them burying him shallowly. Then they find some of the natives, shoot one to follow him to the village, then treat the natives terribly. They make them get into a hut and burn it down to fake an incident between the "warring" tribes. The professor tells the lady that they shouldn't use this footage, that its bad news, and just bad all around. The families seemed to know they were bad, the dad called his own kid a sonofabitch.
Finally Professor Monroe tells the bigwigs that they absolutely should not show the footage. They are fighting him and he says well, I've seen how it ends, you haven't, I'll bet you won't show it when you do. And then they go watch it in the screening room. The film crew end up raping a chick while the girl on the team fights them, and then they see the girl impaled, which is heavy. Then there's a weird abortion scene, and then finally they are attacked by the tree people. The one dude takes a spear to the chest, but instead of helping him, Alan the dickhead leader shoots him to see what the tribe does. They cut off his weiner and disembowel him and eat him. Then they come after the others, rape the girl, and behead her, and finally they get the other two. Disgusted, the head exec walks out, the other one orders the film destroyed. Professor Monroe walks off wondering to himself, "who are the real cannibals?" Prompting us to think about the film viewed in the theme of civility. Who's civil, who is uncivil? Its a heavy film, with heavy scenes, and heavy shit. Not sure that I would recommend it to anyone to watch really. Its rough.