Quick Movie “review”: Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Synopsis: Square one of horror’s found-footage subgenre, this alleged “lost tape” from an American film crew trekking into the Amazon crossed every line it could reach. An anthropologist leads an expedition to recover the documentarians who went looking for the indigenous tribes of maneaters rumored to be hiding around the jungle; they then find savagery beyond their wildest imagining, including an infamous sequence of a young woman impaled on a wooden stake and numerous examples of why the movie is named Cannibal Holocaust.

Controversy: After 10 glorious days of release (during which the film generated a staggering $200 million, the film was pulled from theaters and Italian director Ruggero Deodato was slapped with obscenity charges. When the film ran in France, Photo magazine alleged that the extensive ritual-sacrifice sequences were the real deal, and the courts threw a murder charge on Deodato for good measure. The filmmaker had to track down his actors and bring them before the jury so they could explain that they had not, in fact, been slaughtered during the production. His name was cleared, and his space in the fake-snuff-film hall of fame was cemented.

Rating: 8


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