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Cannibal Holocaust (1980) - Blu-ray Review

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Cannibal Holocaust - Blu-ray Review

4 stars

What has been seen can never be unseen. It is a saying as old as the wise man who told it to me and Cannibal Holocaust – with its graphic rape, cannibalism, torture, and on-screen REAL killing of animals – is proof of that. The scenes depicted in director Ruggero Deodato’s found-footage flick will make even the strongest of gorehounds nauseas. The scenes of torture and killing are so realistic that he was investigated by Italian police on charges of making a snuff film. He had to contact the actors to prove that it was, in fact, complete fiction. This groundbreaking film arrives on blu-ray this month courtesy of Grindhouse Releasing’s complete digital restoration.

The unrelenting violence in Cannibal Holocaust’s found-footage narrative is integral to its “civilized” world meets “uncivilized” world theme as a foolhardy group of young documentary filmmakers – actors Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Carl Gabriel Yorke, and Luca Barbareschi – search the amazon jungle for real cannibals and wind up defining the difference between the two cultures with ignorance, wild abandon, and extreme violence. Oh, yes, there will be blood and these douchbags earn their final resting places after participating in the killing a wild pig, a turtle, gang rape, some torture, and making two tribes very, very, very angry. Perhaps there are certain places in the world best left untraversed.

Cannibal Holocaust is not a film for the squeamish. It cannot be stressed enough. The animal torture throughout the flick is very, very, very real. It has been documented that all the animals killed in front of the camera were used in that night’s meal. Whether or not this is true remains the question. Does it matter? Not really. The footage is disturbing. And then there is the “fake” footage: the scenes of torture which depict an unfaithful woman getting violated with a stone phallic-shaped object, the elderly being left to bake in the sun, and one woman getting planted in the ground with a pole running through her anus and out of her mouth.

What’s interesting to point out is that these filmmakers – the ones that go missing – are largely responsible for producing fake or “staged” documentaries. Deodato shows us some scenes from their previous documentaries of executions, public beheadings, mass-killings and then has the balls to tell us – his audience – that they are fake. The footage previously recorded by the missing filmmakers is anything but fake. It’s real. The found footage recorded in the jungle is what is fake. So, for the purposes of this film’s reality, what’s real is fake and what’s fake is real. Interesting reversal.

It won’t matter, though. If you make it through the film (this is only my second time seeing it), you will be disturbed. No one can sit through this and not be affected. And, whether you disagree with the tactics or not, that truly is effective filmmaking. Cannibal Holocaust holds nothing back. This is the first found-footage horror film ever made and its impact on the horror world cannot be stressed enough.

Just sit back, get sucked in, and try to enjoy the show. Nothing can prepare you for the cinematic nihilism of Cannibal Holocaust.

Cannibal Holocaust - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
95 mins
: Ruggero Deodato
Gianfranco Clerici
Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen
: Horror
The men you will see eaten alive, are the same who filmed these incredible sequences.
Memorable Movie Quote: "In there, the more you carry, the quicker you get tired, the sooner you die."
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 19, 1985
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 1, 2014
Synopsis: A New York University professor returns from a rescue mission to the Amazon rainforest with the footage shot by a lost team of documentarians who were making a film about the area's local cannibal tribes.

Cannibal Holocaust - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 1, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: None
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Three-disc set (2 BDs, 1 CD)
Region Encoding: A

Grindhouse Releasing presents a new hi-definition digital restoration of the original director’s cut in glorious 1080p. There really isn’t a flaw to be found. This is grain-heavy for a reason. The film often shifts from 35mm to 16mm while the found footage – intentionally shaky and amateurish – is reviewed. The colors are warm and constant as is the image. Black levels are solid as are the skin textures. You've never seen this film like this, the new color scheme gave me a whole new appreciate for the beauty of this important movie. The sound is presented with two options: a digital stereo re-mix (which MUST be heard to be believed) and the original mono mix.



  • There are two feature-length commentary tracks that make this another reason to own. You get one with director Ruggero Deodato and star Robert Kerman, and another commentary with stars Carl Yorke and Francesca Ciardi. Dirt is dished out and secrets to the shoot are revealed. Oh, the humanity!

Special Features:

Man, is this sucker loaded with tons of supplements. The three Disc Deluxe Edition contain two blu-ray discs and one CD soundtrack, composed by Riz Ortolani, which has also been remastered from the original soundtrack studio master tapes. There are new in-depth interviews with Ruggero Deodato, Francesca Ciardi, assistant director/co-star Salvo Basile (shot in Columbia!) and cameraman Roberto Forges Davazati; classic interviews with Robert Kerman, Carl Yorke and Oscar-nominated composer Riz Ortolani. The disc includes still galleries and 9 easter eggs (which should not be revealed here). It collects all the trailers, too. A 24-page booklet containing liner notes by director Eli Roth, legendary horror journalist Chas. Balun, Euro-music expert Gergely Hubai and Italian exploitation film authority Martin Biene rounds out the release.

Ruggero Deodato Interview (58 min)

Robert Kerman Interview (36 min)

Carl Yorke Interview (56 min)

Francesca Ciardi Interview (38 min)

Salvatore Basile Interview (31 min)

Riz Ortolani Interview (5 min)

Robert Forges Davanzati Interview (13 min)

Cinema Wasteland Panel (29 min)

Francesca Ciardi Q&A (11 min)

Carl Yorke and Ruggero Deodato Reunion (11 min)

Robert Kerman and Ruggero Deodato Reunion (9 min)

The Last Road to Hell (2 min)

An International Trailer (3 min)

Italian Trailer (3 min)

German Trailer (2 min)

U.S. Original Trailer (1 min)

U.S. Re-Release Trailer (2 min)

Still Gallery

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