Cannibal Holocaust (Siren)

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Well this is the big one. Perhaps one of the most morally repugnant, realistic gore ridden and sadistic films ever made. It’s very seedy, yet it’s also very well made and incredibly effective. It’s part of the Cannibal sub genre of exploitation films that were popular in Italy in the late seventies, in which cocky Americans venture into the South American Amazon and cruelly torment the natives until they respond with a little slice and dice sashimi action. Directed by Ruggero Deodato in 1979 who was jailed once the film was shown until he could prove that it wasn’ a snuff film, there’ an unrelenting sense of dread that surrounds this film. The humour often found in exploitation fare is notably absent, replaced instead by a violent and bleak sense of futility. Animals are slaughtered for the camera, a squealing Muskrat is disembowelled as is a Tortoise, and its very squeamish stuff. It stars Robert Kerman a porn star trying to play it straight (also in Cannibal Ferox), heading into the jungle to search for a missing expedition, hooking up with the cannibals and finding the resulting footage ala Blair Witch. And this is where things begin to get extreme, where we witness the activities of the expedition that led to their downfall. In graphic detail we see a women raped by two men then murdered, a pregnant women strung up with ropes and then her foetus removed, of course a bit of cannibal action and some of the most infamous scenes in exploitation cinema which are actually a little too gruesome and graphic to mention here. This film doesn’ begin with a warning from its distributor for no reason. There is nothing like it. Think of the most morally repugnant film you’ve ever seen and multiply it tenfold. Cannibal holocaust makes Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like an educational program for pre schoolers, or Salo like a home cooking show. It’s incredibly sick and twisted and very very bleak. It’s a masterpiece in extremism that could never be made today (and probably shouldn’ even have been made then). Don’ say you haven’ been warned.

Extra Features:
Siren have lovingly packed this two-disc set with an amazing amount of features. An audio commentary by director and star, a one hour doco, an interview with other stars, trailers, poster gallery, the original shooting script, even a music video as weird as that sounds. The packaging is also quite amazing despite the gruesome stills.

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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