Monday, June 6, 2011


There are some movies that I feel like I maybe would have been better off having never seen.

Cannibal Holocaust is probably one of them.

I really ate up the hype (no pun intended)...this movie was so controversial and realistic, that the director, Ruggero Deodato,  was actually arrested and had to stand trial.  He had to bring the actors into the courtroom to prove that he didn't make a "snuff film".  To me, that makes a movie beyond scary.  When real life is blurred so much with a movie that people can't tell the difference.

Here's the trailer, but before you watch it be forewarned that there is nudity in it...odd for a theatrical trailer these days but eh, what can you do:

This movie is like the original Blair Witch, except way more violent. It depicts the "real" disappearance of a group of documentary filmmakers who had gone missing after traveling to the Amazon to film indigenous tribes.

An anthropologist from NYU decides to lead a rescue team to go and locate the missing filmmakers, but instead discovers a reel can that holds the evidence of their demise.

Throughout the movie this song is playing, at what seems like the most inopportune times. It doesn't really go with the movie itself:

Weird. It's like being in the waiting room at a dentist's office, no?

Anyway,  the guy who goes to rescue them discovers that they weren't very respectful of the tribes and he ends the movie being unsure of "who the real cannibals are".

Now, the movie itself wasn't what interested me, it was the controversy surrounding it.

First of all, there was so much animosity during filming that it's almost like a reality show within itself. There was so much tension during filming that I'm surprised this movie was even made. Cast members didn't get along, people kept getting shorted on pay, Columbians being paid in lunches instead of money and being forced to sit in a burning hut to get a "realistic effect", and most of all...the animal deaths being real.

I love animals. 

Couldn't they have found some props to use instead? Like a rubber chicken or something?

And this brings me to the controversies of this movie:

1. Snuff Film. When the movie was released, it was actually confiscated and Deodato was arrested because it was believed that the actors really were killed. All actors had signed contracts to not appear in any promotional type of media to keep up the appearance that they were really killed, and authorities were fooled. Deodato had to void the contracts and bring the actors into the courtroom to avoid life in prison.

2. Impalement. The "impalement scene" was actually examined by the courts because it was believed that she was really killed in that manner. Deodato had to explain how he created the special effect: "a bicycle seat was attached to the end of an iron pole, upon which the actress sat. She then held a short length of balsa wood in her mouth and looked skyward, thus giving the appearance of impalement"-

3. Grisly sexual violence scenes. There is alot of this in this movie. Rape, gang rape, genital mutilation, this movie had it all...yikes. It caused many countries to have difficulty rating it during censorship, some even banned it.

4. Animal cruelty. 7 animals were killed, and 6 were presented onscreen (taken from Wikipedia):
* A coatimundi (mistaken as a muskrat in the film) has its jugular veins cut open by the character Miguel.
* A large turtle (about one meter long) is captured in the water and dragged to shore, where it is then decapitated and its limbs, shell, and entrails are removed. The actors proceed to cook and eat the turtle.
* A large spider is killed with a machete.
* A snake is killed with a machete.
* A squirrel monkey has the top of its skull chopped off with a machete.
* A pig is kicked twice and then shot.

These were the scenes that I physically could not watch. It's too disturbing. Deodato has since condemned the fact that he had chosen to kill live animals, but since it's forever on film it makes me pretty upset. Not only the fact that they were killed, but the manner in which they are killed is horrifying.

So that's Cannibal Holocaust in a nutshell.  Pretty disturbing stuff!