Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You: The Inevitable Cannibal Holocaust Review

Yes, I watched Cannibal Holocaust by choice.

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Cannibal Holocaust cover

This is a film that was consistently banned and shows real animals being slaughtered on-screen. The graphic obscenity led to director Ruggero Dedato being brought to court to prove that it wasn’t a snuff film in which people are actually killed. He even had to bring the actors to court to show that they were still alive. But it sure is a snuff film if you’re a woodland creature.

After asking friends about it and scouring the internet for reviews, I was EXTREMELY freaked out after reading numerous reports that stated: “I love gore, guts, slashing, people eating each other, chopping up my grandma etc etc… but I still had to fast-forward the rape/animal massacre scenes in Cannibal Holocaust”.

Yes, I love horror, but for me suspense will always overide slashing and I still can’t watch the Achilles heel scene in Hostel without heaving. How the feck was I to survive the most ‘controversial film ever made’?!

One of the tamer scenes
Cannibal Holocaust

The film is split into two segments. After four documentary filmakers go missing in the Amazon rainforest in 1979, an anthropologist, Professor Harold Moore, ventures back there to try and discover what happened. The first half shows Moore’s brief adventures with the tribes (including a bizarre scene where he frolics naked in a river with some tribe girls: be warned this film is far too full of genitalia). The second shows the footage of the missing filmakers that he finds and brings back to New York.

The first half of the film is pretty ridiculous, almost akin to some kind of bizarre spoof (until the particularly shocking rape scene). There are stumbling tribespeople looking for a snack, constant derogatory talk about them being ‘uncivilised’, absolutely no character development whatsoever and a soundtrack that resembles a cross between Ross Geller’s keyboard techniques and a creepy romantic comedy.

Responsible for the soundtrack?
Ross Geller Keyboards

The second half ups the gore but not the substance. The plot never develops. There is a distinct lack of suspense. The characters are one-dimensional racist misogynists who treat the natives with such incomprehensible disrespect that you almost feel relieved when the cannibals get their hands on them. Almost. The male filmakers rape a native girl (while the female filmaker quips about them wasting film!?) and they burn down the natives’ hut – while the natives are still in it.

Abba-lookalike filmaker fancies a snack
Abba fancies a snack - Cannibal Holocaust

Cannibal Holocaust doesn’t actually have all that much cannibalism. It should be renamed Turtle-Snuff-Rape Holocaust. Despite the realistic and disturbing nature of the rape and torture scenes, at least we know that they’re not actually happening. The graphic turtle slaughter and pig shooting, however, are real. Watching the filmakers kill and rip apart a turtle’s intestines (YES a REAL turtle!) is highly disturbing and I can’t even imagine how messed up those actors must be to have that forever captured on film. They also kill a snake and a monkey amongst other poor creatures.

The real victims of Cannibal Holocaust – slaughtered animals
The real victims of Cannibal Holocaust

Overall the unnecessary violence is beyond ridiculous, particularly in the final scenes. The Abba-lookalike filmaker gets castrated, while the female filmaker is graphically raped by the tribesmen before being beaten to death and beheaded. I could keep going but you get the point. Oh yeah, and unlike most horror films, you see EVERYTHING. You’ll be grateful for the shaky camera work.

The film ends with the lines “I wonder who the real cannibals are,” spoken by Professor Moore after watching the found footage. Deep man, real deep. This final attempt to make the film seem more like a profound comment on society fails to distract from what it actually is: barely as deep as a puddle and about nothing more than pure, disgusting and above all unnecessary shock value.

Watch at your own peril. Let this final picture be a warning.

Cannibal Holocaust scene

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7 Responses to “Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You: The Inevitable Cannibal Holocaust Review”

  1. Catherine Says:

    I have to agree that this film has a very heavy “ick” factor and is hard to get through if you’re not (or even if you are) prepared for it.

  2. Ash Percival Says:

    I kind of want to watch it out of intrigue now. Just for the Ross Geller sound track. What you do think about the notion of banning films though HMK?

  3. hannahmayk Says:

    I’m a bit apathetic about films being banned. Extreme gore and violence doesn’t really bother me on a personal level, if a violent film still has an engaging plot and some substance then some shocking scenes can add to it.
    The thing about Cannibal Holocaust is that it’s not even a good film. And chopping up creatures for the sake of it definitely deserves a banning, just to show the directors/writers that they can’t get away with it. Although they clearly did.

  4. Clock Lovin’ Cannibals: ‘We Are What We Are’ Review. | The Awesome Art of Horror Says:

    […] The Awesome Art of Horror Casting an eye and an ear over Horror in the arts Skip to content HomeAbout Awesome Art ← Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You: The Inevitable Cannibal Holocaust Review […]

  5. Olivia Says:

    Well im currently watching the movie… I just watched the entire turtle seen. It’s very gruesome. The drag the poor thing to the surface chop off its head and they

  6. Olivia Says:

    attempt to cut off its legs (the turtle is still moving even though its dead makes it even more disturbing) but that doesnt work. So then they cut off the bottom half of its shell and rip out its guts (the turtle is still moving). I wanted to throw up. And when they killed the muskrat… It was just brutal. THEY ARE USING REAL AND ALIVE ANIMALS! The cries of the muskrat were real…:(

  7. brandon Says:

    im 14, and i sat through this film just fine

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