Cannibal Holocaust is a horror movie that claims to go as far as you can without being banned. Unfortunately, this film ended up being banned by numerous countries and many believe it to be one of the most controversial films of all time. Being a Grindhouse Release, there is no doubt that this film is hard to get through and after watching it once, you will probably not want to ever watch it again. While this film may garner a lot of its positive feedback based on reputation, it does have some great aspects that add a lot to horror island.
The lead character, Mr. Harold Monroe, is an anthropologist from New York who travels into the Amazon rainforest in order to track down a previous team that went into the jungle to shoot a documentary. This footage is meant to be brought back to New York in order to make an edited movie that the public can watch. What he finds is a film reel that shows the true nature of the exploration carried out by the crew. I have personally never been to the Amazon jungle, but if it is anything like this movie depicts, then I will never be going there. Ritualistic rape, slaughtering, and abortions are seen throughout the movie. Furthermore, much of the movie is seen through the eyes of a handheld camera, which makes the viewer feel as if they are voyeuristically watching the atrocious crimes that ensue. Many people viewed this film as a snuff film and the director and cast were actually sought out by police personnel in Italy. This movie is not a snuff film, but it does show real footage of animal slaughter. If PETA were as big then as it is now, this movie never would have made it out of the drawing room.
Some positives about the film are its soundtrack and realism. There is nothing original about the score and it almost seems cheap or humorous at times, but this movie is meant to depict raw footage of a very primitive region of the world. There is nothing sophisticated going on in the film, so it seems appropriate to have a primitive score. The acting in this movie is also well done. There is a reason the people actually thought it was a snuff film; in fact, the reactions of the individuals being tortured and the surprisingly realistic effects make this movie about as real life as it can be. Without a doubt, the greatest part of this movie is also its greatest flaw. By the end of the movie, the viewer will not be sure who the real villain is. Is it the primitive savages who eat people or the snobbish and sociopathic westerners who manipulate and torture primitive tribes? I think the greatest thing to take away from this movie is that it's not the act of eating people that is truly horrific, but it is the amount of pleasure one gainsfrom eating or torturing another person.
If you are into movies that push your boundaries, then this movie is right for you. If you like movies that make you question your faith in society, then this movie is also right for you. This film may up the population of cannibals on horror island, but these cannibals don’t necessarily eat humans. Instead, they gobble up and consume all that is primitive and throw it up as something considered artsy and sophisticated.
If you liked Cannibal Holocaust, you might also like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Texas Chainsaw or The Hills Have Eyes.