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Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Movie Review by The Insane Old One

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) Let me get this out of the way, kiddies...

This one is absolutely positively NOT for young children...let me say that again, as a father:


There, I feel my burden of responsibility fulfilled.

OK, now that THAT'S out of the way, let me say that I did NOT enjoy this film; however that doesn't reflect my opinion of the movie as a work. I myself haven't enjoyed quite a few Best Picture Oscar-winners, but that doesn't mean they were bad films.

Those of you that haven't seen it I'm sure have heard of this feature for years, hearing tales how gruesome and horrific it was...heard how the director was arrested for murder, and had to produce the actors to prove he didn't actually kill anyone, etc...certainly, in my younger days, it was the "holy grail of horror-dom"...

...I can't say you'd be disappointed in that aspect, but it's not exactly a thrilling ride, either. For the time this movie was made, I found the misleading title interesting...the cannibals were the VICTIMS here, thus, while accurate, the title takes you to a more horror film place in your mind. That said, the movie didn't SCARE me in any way...I was deeply unsettled by the animal scenes (although I could make the argument that one can see much worse on NatGeo or Discovery, I tend to feel that it was done in this film as shock value, and thus simply used the poor animals as exploited props; let's face it, it could have and SHOULD have been faked), put off somewhat by the gratuitious nudity (nudity in some respects would be necessary in a film about tribal natives, but this film definitely went further than it needed to), and found the attitudes of the characters deplorable and morally reprehensible...but it never SCARED me.

So it was quickly obvious, this film is a social statement about how little we as humans have actually evolved from our primitive beginnings disguised as a "horror film", using brutality and shock to make us understand it's point.

Now is this movie a standing social statement to be lauded? In some circles, perhaps; it IS effective in what it attempts to show us, albeit over the top and without explanation in some cases, and I certainly don't believe it was ambitious enough to "change your life"...but it could definitely change your outlook, depending upon the objectivity you watch it with. There IS a message in the film...one we might not want to hear.

Now before you grab the straightjacket and shuffle me off to the booby hatch, I'm not in any way trying to say that this movie is Oscar quality...heavens no! However, it's cinematography, score, and theme was surprisingly well done, especially for it's time...as the ancestor to "The Blair Witch" and "Cloverfield", I think cinema owes this little film a debt, especially us horror fans. The acting wasn't very good, but it held it's own with other horror flicks of the time (and even today, in many cases).

Again, I did NOT enjoy this movie... but I don't think it's intent was to be enjoyed.

See it for the social value, or simply as a notch in your horror-watching belt, kiddies...but you've been warned!

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Rating: 6.1 out of 10.0 - 8 votes cast total
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