Monday, June 21, 2010

Retro Review: Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

It was no secret to us that Cannibal Holocaust was a controversial movie. In fact, on the DVD cover it claims to be "the most controversial movie ever made." We knew that some parts of this film had caused it to be banned in a multitude of countries. Because of this, its hard to find. While at Monster Mania horror convention, we found out that it had been released by Grindhouse Releasing. Mike bought the DVD with no hesitation. We weren't exactly sure what we were in for when we sat down to watch it the first time, but we were not disappointed.

Quick Spoiler Free Summary
A documentary film crew has been sent into the Amazon to film indigenous tribes. After not being heard from for two months, an anthropologist and his tour guide went deep into the Amazon rainforest to find them. Halfway through the movie, they find the incomplete documentary footage from the group. However, the original crew were not found alive.


Plot- 3.5/5
This film created the cannibal genre in Italy. This setting of the Amazon rainforest has become a staple in many a cannibal film. The documentary style parts of the movie seemed authentic, as if we were watching an actual documentary. The movie as a whole seemed plausible, giving it an extra layer of depth.

Acting- 3/5
The fact that the movie is dubbed over makes it hard to accurately critique a large portion of the acting. Having just watched this an hour ago, there were only about two parts where the acting just seemed silly. The silliness can be attributed to the voice over, not the original acting. Apart from that, the acting was better than mediocre.

Gore- 6/5
I know, you are probably laughing at this score, but let us explain. The gore rating for this movie is maxed out because...most of its real. There are numerous instances in this movie where there are animals actually being butchered on screen. There has also been controversy over the director using actual corpses as props.

Fear- 4/5
The reason we gave this such a high score for fear is the mere fact that it does not seem impossible. All the other movies we've reviewed have been about things that didn't seem as likely to happen. If you were to walk into a house, you are not automatically expecting it to be haunted by an evil presence. If you do, however, walk into the Amazonian rainforest, the first thought in your head would be, "I'm probably gonna die."

Shock Value- 5/5
There are many points during the movie where you can't believe what you are watching. The multiple instances of animal cruelty are among some of the most appalling scenes in any movie we have viewed. There is one scene during the movie where this group literally guts a humongous turtle. It is the most disturbing piece of footage we've ever seen on film (besides Salo).

In Conclusion- 4.3/5
It is not uncommon to hear about older movies being banned in different countries for their shocking content. Most of the time, these movies do not live up to the hype of being so terrible. When you look back on them with modern sensability, they aren't quite as shocking. However, this was not the case with Cannibal Holocaust. This film delivered on its claims to be "the most controversial movie ever made."

Disclaimer: This movie is NOT for the faint of heart. There are real instances of violence and gore, not suitable for all horror fans.


  1. good review,I didn't dig the turtle part or some other scenes,I guess shock value movies aren't my thing

  2. glad you enjoyed the review! be sure to check back for more. and also, feel free to make movie suggestions.