Here's a film to darken the days and blight the soul.
The cannibal sub-genre of exploitation films grew out of the Mondo movie genre. The Italian Mondo films were documentary in nature with a focus on taboo subjects that had often been considered too controversial for traditional narrative tales. By using the documentary format, exploitation filmmakers could show sexual acts, nudity, violence and even sprinkle in some racist content all while pretending to be educating it's audience. These movies were usually tasteless exercises in cruelty and caricatures of foreign cultures coupled with occasional sequences that were faked or staged for the camera. Of course, they were highly profitable but the genre waned quickly and by the mid-1970's Italian producers were on to other things.
Enter Ruggero Deodato. Having worked his way up through the Italian filmmaking system he had finally gotten into the director's chair and was hunting for a new project. In 1977 he had made one of the better jungle adventure films that had grown out of the success of Umberto Lenzi's MAN FROM DEEP RIVER (1972). Deodato's JUNGLE HOLOCAUST had upped the intensity of the earlier film and he decided to ratchet things up again for his new movie. He hit upon the idea of taking the cannibal tribe idea further than before and, inspired by terrorist activity in his home country, proceeded to make an unforgettably nasty piece of work that would, in turn, go on to inspire the found footage genre in the late 1990's. He's got a lot to answer for, huh?
When Adrian Smith asked me if I'd be interested in covering CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST for the podcast I immediately said yes. And then I started to have doubts! I was familiar with the film from having seen it almost twenty years before but I knew it as a difficult watch. Even though I owned a copy I had only ever rewatched the movie one time since my original viewing in the 1990's and had been disturbed enough by it on my second watch to consider getting rid of the disc. Was I really eager to see this harsh, mean-spirited film again? Would it still be able to worm it's way under my skin and bother me on the deep level it had so long ago? I guess I was going to find out!
Listen in as
and I fight technology, discuss Deodato, praise Riz Ortolani, process this film's
animal cruelty and generally try to keep a good attitude as we follow several
stupid Americans into the Amazonian jungle. If you have any comments or
questions about CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST or anything else we touch on, please contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get right back to you. Thank you for
downloading and listening to the show!