And I now have a new worst movie of all time!
Story By: Gianfranco Clerici
Directed By: Ruggero Deodato
I’m a firm believer in the freedom to express your art anyway an artist chooses to express his or her art. It takes a lot for any piece of art to get to me, to really crawl under my skin and make me question whether or not I want to admit my humanity. The same is not true for my wife, she ran crying from the room the moment an innocent animal was killed on screen in Cannibal Holocaust. I may have a stronger stomach than my wife, but my wife’s initial reaction mirrors my reaction in total. There’s a place in my world for the freedom of art, but there really isn’t a place for something like Cannibal Holocaust.
Ruggero Deodato’s film is shocking, and it is graphic in the worst of ways. That’s all surface though, and being shocked and appalled is a surface reaction. I have no doubt that the intent behind Cannibal Holocaust was to shock those watching and to appall as many people as was possible. The more important aspect of Cannibal Holocaust is whether or not the shocks and the appalling scenes are earned. Do they severe a purpose other than to shock and appall? Even more importantly, was it necessary for innocent animals to be brutally murdered in the name of art? My answer to to all of those questions is a resounding no. That’s why, when I look long and hard at Cannibal Holocaust, I have nary a qualm in calling Signore Deodato’s film the worst I have ever seen.
There’s nothing to Cannibal Holocaust besides a sometimes haunting score. Riz Ortolani manages to squeeze blood out of a turnip by somehow ensconcing Cannibal Holocaust in an eerie and atmospheric score. The rest of the film has nothing to offer, it is the worst example of a simple horror film. Gianfranco Clerici would like for the audience to think that his stabs at “oooh, are the savages the cannibals, or are we civilized folks the cannibals,” are smart and thematically deep. He is mistaken, as any depth is lost in a screenplay, and dialogue, that is obvious and hits the audience over the head with the civilized cannibal theme repeatedly.
With Cannibal Holocaust offering nothing for the audience to latch on to except for its score that once again brings criticism of the film back to its shocking content. There’s no way that anyone involved with the film can justify the brutal murder of an endangered species of turtle. There’s no way that the various scenes of brutality can be construed as to having a purpose. Cannibal Holocaust has nothing at its core, and because of this the film gives horror a bad name.
I wish people weren’t constantly steered towards Cannibal Holocaust as some kind of landmark of controversial horror greatness. There’s nothing great about Cannibal Holocaust, there’s not even a second of film worth watching in the entire endeavor. As a horror film I was appalled by Cannibal Holocaust, and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to associate with any horror fan who champions Cannibal Holocaust as some kind of standard of the horror genre. Innocent animals are brutalized for no reason whatsoever. Murder, rape, violence, and mayhem are the course of the day in a film that has no desire to provide any meaning behind its attempts to shock. For the few horror fans who haven’t as of yet watched Cannibal Holocaust; do yourself a favor and avoid this piece of garbage at all costs.