Ruggero Deodato, the macabre dago who directed Cannibal Holocaust was already renowned for his controversial ideologies and applications to film without already looking like a deliciously sinister Italian Richard Dawkins. Deodato was fascinated with indigenous tribes and their cannibalistic nature and how Western society portrayed such violence and lifestyle. Accordingly, it came to Deodato during an afternoon rant with his son at the news coverage of the Red Brigade’s terrorism. Presumably, this was prior to kicking time for the Spinone puppies that dwelled in his basement.
Of course, this wasn’t a sadomasochist’s attempt at torturing and needlessly slaughtering animals on set (despite the 20 minute footage of a turtle’s entrails being speckled across the screen like strawberry scented confetti) but was to show viewers how life was in the less populated countries and islands and how ignorant we have become to disregard that. Personally, it succeeded; I had lost all hope for humanity and wondered why so much abhorrence exists upon watching the first 10 minutes of footage. Obviously, the graphic content was to convey the amount of hatred, bloodlust and ‘evil’ that coincides with human nature but it’s a losing cause when the animals that have become near extinct and have been eradicated were mainly the works of Deodato.
I did countless research into the controversy behind Cannibal Holocaust and there seems to be a rather substantial cult circle around it. The animal beatings and killings were indeed real to add to the effect albeit viewers didn’t discover this, merely thinking the prop boy outdid himself. You could only imagine the look on everybody’s faces during the time period in which the movie was released; “Steven…” “Yes…?” “That turtle’s plastron appears to be an extraordinary replica of Bubbles, my cuddly household leatherback.” “How delightfully absurd.”
Subsequently, protest groups and speculation became erect after hearing about the animal rumours. Journalists were literally frothing out of the mouths, rolling in a mellow epileptic paste to question Deodato on the film. At some point, questions arose on whether the actors were really being ripped to shreds on camera because even the human innards appeared TOO authentic but the rosy-cheeked Luigi of cannibalistic tribes-men announced that it was all fake and the actors involved signed a contract to never appear in any shape or form of media once the film was released to heighten the realism. Of course, this wiggled the curiosity of hundreds of journalists and Deodato was arrested.
I digress, I seemed to have gotten a little off-track but the controversy behind the production sparks more significance than the film itself. Anyway, knuckles clicked, coffee steaming and lips suggestively licked, let’s get into the story. Owning the uncut version of the DVD, I was fortunately able to subject myself to every horrific animal beat down and basin cut nude mud wrestling for over 2 hours. It begins with beautiful shots from a helicopter capturing the Amazonian landscapes for what felt like the entirety of the movie. You know that little feeling you get when you know you’re already getting a little tense in waiting for the intro to cease, searching for an hilarious surname in one of the cast members. “Bigassetti? Haha, who the hell is that?” The soundtracks that were used were so ironically beautiful that it became laughable during some scenes. It was inevitable then, that I downloaded the audio tracks and ‘Fun with Love’ was a delectable summer-esque track you would hear on the only existing walkman concealed by a knitted beach towel in the back of an elderly couple’s car.