I'm a freelance writer living in Perth, Western Australia.
Published November 10th 2016
It's snack time
Cannibal Holocaust has always been an interesting film to me, not for its immense violence and controversy, but for its hauntingly beautiful theme music, composed by the late, great Riz Ortolani and stunning footage of the Amazon Rainforest from the late 70's and early 80's.
This film is absolutely not for the squeamish and is definitely reserved for the more "hard core" horror fans among you.
Infamous for its controversy, Cannibal Holocaust is an Italian made "cannibal exploitation horror film", which was made in 1980 by Ruggero Deodato, (House on the Edge of The Park and The Barbarians), who adapted the story from a screenplay by Gianfranco Clerici, (The New York Ripper and Murder-Rock: Dancing Death).
The actors in the film did a spectacular job of portraying their disturbingly believable and realistic characters and starred Carl Gabriel Yorke, (Apollo 31 and Jack the Bear), Robert Kerman, (2002's Spider-Man and Eaten Alive!), Francesca Ciardi, (Death Walks and Farewell Moscow), Perry Pirkanen, (City of the Living Dead and Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws) and former member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies; Luca Barbareschi, (The Mercury Conspiracy and The International).
This one of a kind film is said to be inspired by the Italian media's portrayal of the Red Brigade terrorist groups, which the director believed to be staged. This became the main aspect of the film.
It tells the story of a famous documentary crew, who have gone missing while on location of their much anticipated film about the cannibal tribes of the Amazon, The film follows their rescue team, led by an anthropologist from New York, named Professor Harold Monroe, (Played by: Robert Kerman), who soon discovers that not everything they tell you in the media is true.
Hailed as the original found footage film, it uses the "lost footage" of the ill-fated documentary crew, in a flashback style, to show the professor and its viewers exactly what the crew were up to in the jungle and it isn't a pretty sight!
This new found footage style of film making was so believable at the time, that many people thought they were watching real and factual atrocities which had occurred.
After its Italian premiere, the film was ordered to be seized by a local magistrate and the director was arrested on obscenity charges and was later charged with making a Snuff Film, due to rumours which quickly circulated, claiming that many of the actors were really murdered on film. This was easy to believe at the time, as many of the actors had signed contracts, which stated that they were to keep out of the media at all costs in order to fuel said rumours and drum up more publicity for the film. Hence the courts were only convinced of the director's innocence, once the contracts were cancelled and the actors appeared on television as proof.
The director also had to prove that the most disturbing scene of the film, where a young woman is impaled on a pole, was indeed made with special effects and had to show the court photos of her interacting with the crew after the scene was filmed, in order to have all of his murder charged dropped.
Despite all the human actors in the film being alive and well, I am very sad to inform you that all the animals which were killed during the making of the film, were real deaths and were part of the reason that the director, producer, some of their starring actors and the representative for United Artists Europa at the time were all convicted of obscenity and violence and given a four-month suspended sentence and their film was banned.
After 3 years, the film was unbanned in Italy, but for many years was only released in a cut print, which has since been updated to its fully uncut glory.
Its portrayal of terrible animal cruelty is the reason for this film still being banned in many countries to this day and even the director himself, has since come out saying that he was "stupid" for introducing animals into these scenes.
It was only in 2005 that Cannibal Holocaust finally had its long-running ban revoked in Australia and is now legally available in its fully uncut state, on both Blu-Ray and DVD.
Cannibal Holocaust is rated R and is for adults only, as it contains high-level sexual violence, high-level violence, nudity and animal cruelty.