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Home > Cannibal Holocaust (1980): A Review

Cannibal Holocaust (1980): A Review

Cannibal Holocaust

Cannibal Holocaust is Not For The Fainthearted or Squeamish

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) is one of the few movies to start with a content warning, so beware there are extreme visuals ahead. However, I was prepared as I was given an earlier suggestion from a friend and colleague. Cannibal Holocaust was suggested based on its wild subject matter, the yardstick being Human Centipede (2009). So, I readied myself and said let the entertainment begin!

The Director

Cannibal Holocaust is a 1980 film under the cinematic direction of Rogero Deodato. This was not Deodato’s first work and would not be his last. As to his name, he has 36 directorial credits, many of which came after Cannibal Holocaust. His latest film, Deathcember, was released in 2019. Cannibal Holocaust is certainly one of the most alarming of his works.  

Red Alert

Cannibal Holocaust is not for the feeble at heart or squeamish. If the sight of animal cruelty, human defilement, and debasement causes you to clutch hold of your pearls, then this film is not for you. Cannibal Holocaust is not for those who clings to their sensibilities, as this feature tests every one of them. This movie is sheer madness! And if you can stick in there until the end, you will wonder if you are mad. This made me give great attention to the fact that this film received a 5.8/10 rating on IMDB.com. But, alas, I could hang on to my rationality despite this monstrosity of a film. 

Made to Shock Your Socks Off 

This film comes off as a mockumentary reminiscent of an early Jane Goodall film. However, there is nothing wholesome or warmhearted about this movie. Cannibal Holocaust is better categorized as a shockumentary. Yes, that is precisely what this film is. A shockumentary is a film designed to shock its viewers by every means possible. My goodness, the approach worked. My mouth hung agog almost the entire movie. 

All Guts But No Glory

Like many of our current movies filmed as live footage, Cannibal Holocaust does the same, starting as a broadcast. Weirdly, I did not recall this artistic approach in the ’80s, but that could be because I was five years old in the ’80s. 

In the beginning footage of the film, a reporter is covering a case which focuses on the Amazonian Rainforest and primitive tribes. The tribes found in the Green inferno were believed to be responsible for the disappearance of investigative teams entering the jungle for research. Like all good documentaries, a team with grandiose dreams and overt invincibility complex ventured into Amazon. We are introduced to the crew as Jack, Faye, Mark, and Allen one by one. 

The Doomed

Despite the group’s bravado, the odds are already not in their favor. Like other teams, they ventured into the jungle to never be heard again. But, as one might guess, they don’t fare so well either. Five minutes into the film, they are missing and a professor takes it upon himself to discover the truth behind their disappearance. 

Cannibal Holocaust

Gore And Deplorability

This motion picture doesn’t play within six minutes; viewers see a native tribe engaged in a deep dine on human remains, every gory bit. But what else is expected from a film entitled Cannibal Holocaust? Then moments later, the tribe members are surrounded by guerilla forces who execute many of them. The flick has barely started and we are going over 150 mph. Then we rock n roll into the film’s meat. The professor is now on a mission to find the missing team. The viewers follow his journey into the heart of the bush. 

Nothing is Civilized About This Cinematic Work

Cannibal Holocaust breaks every rule of civil viewership. If one prefers to feast on gratuitous violent imagery, graphic nudity, or bestial treatment, this film is for you. In this unmistakable 1980 cinematic presentation, the camera never shies away from the horrors. Instead, the videographer zooms in to get closer angles as if the intensity of shock equivocates to Oscar-winning credit.

The imagery was one thing, but the soundtrack is also cringeworthy. Some of the shrill sounds earlier in the film mimic a banshee. This film is unforgiving in these areas.

What’s Found in The Jungle Should Stay in The Jungle.

There is no need to say they found the rotted remains. As it is well known, an investigator’s trade is curiosity. Whether it cost them limb or life, they are driven to do the most foolish thing possible, like stay amongst cannibals. Why would anyone do that? Well, to find a rationale for the murder and desecration of the investigative team. Unlike other films of this nature, the professor manages to get the information he seeks…. and it isn’t very reassuring. 

It turns out the savage tribe aren’t the only savages. The team’s acts of brutality paralleled the primitive tribes’ cannibalistic acts: Both were insane!

Final Musings

Cannibal Holocaust is one of the saddest and most tragic films I have ever seen. This movie outshines the Human Centipede in showing how debased people can be. Savagery is the element of horror omnipresent in this film. This is one horror movie that does not need monsters or supernatural elements to scare the bejeezus out of you. The psychotic and deplorable nature of this film makes it almost unwatchable. But, hey, fans all desire different types of tea; this cup isn’t for me. So, I proffer, watch it if you dare but fundamentally it’s one of those films individuals should stay away from at all costs.

Cannibal Holocaust

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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I am a writing enthusiast and Entertainment journalist. I live life with unbridled passion. And I live by the mantra love what you do, and do what you love!