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Ruggero Deodato, Cannibal Holocaust

Horror? Exploitation? B-Grade? Can B-grade actually be truly horrific, especially when dubbed? I don’t think so. Especially when B-Horror plays like a B-Porno (check your genre definitions at the door). This was an 80s romp that probably had no small part in spawning Blair Witch (crew go into the woods, film gore, die; tape is retrieved. Horror!). Here, the slick towers and achievement of New York are deliberately cast against the supposed savagery of the jungle cannibals. A crew of right idiots make an amateur doco/slashfest in the Amazon. They get nekkid, they torch villages and rape ‘n kill. They film their antics, they fuck. They’re surrounded, slashed and eaten. And a nearly legitimate Professor of Anthropology goes back to the scene, salvages the film which the exploitation hacks in NY wanna beam to the jaded masses. 80s cynicism with deplorably B-rate gags and a lilting, dissonantly pretty soundtrack theme. It’s amazing how they got the tribes to agree to filming this little jaunt in the jungle: they look like they don’t mind getting into the pig’s livers or whatever they are. The guileless savagery of the doco team was probably the scariest of all, like, you think you’re so civilised with your technology and GI brainsmarts and depraved recklessness…? As though Deodato was going for the heaviest metaphor he could think of to contrast the relative calm of the tribe with the idiocy of the West (every second observation was about ‘strange sexual customs’). Ultimately the title is misleading, I mean in terms of sheer numbers, 5 or 6 people for lunch and dinner is hardly a human holocaust: it’s more of a Cannibal Incident, really. And despite the great transfer and usually good image quality, this romp might’ve benefited more from a Vietnam or Going-Up-River angle: obvious metaphoric contrasts work better against a climate of human despair or inner corruption. That is, psychology — B-Grade and psychological depth obviously don’t mix. Stick to Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes.

posted by rino breebaart  # 1:59 pm
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Alternatively, read about it at: The Slow Review or the long blog. Or even Nurture Health

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