Saturday, October 20, 2012


Banned in several countries due to the misconception that it was a snuff film, Ruggero Deodato's 1980 shock horror film Cannibal Holocaust has become somewhat of a rite of passage for extreme horror fans.  The story is simple: an academic (Robert Kerman) heads to the Amazon to find out what happened to a missing film crew.  He stumbles upon an indigenous, cannibalistic tribe from which he recovers the crew's footage.  Upon returning to America, he reviews what they shot, revealing the group of filmmakers grisly, nasty ends.  Pretty basic stuff, and it doesn't take a genius to understand the influence of Deodato's film on the found footage craze driving such pictures as The Blair Witch Project, [REC], Paranormal Activity, and, most recently, V/H/S.

Cannibal Holocaust, unlike those other films, has built up a reputation as one of the most transgressive films of all time.  In Britain, it became one of the holy grails of the video nasties, movies that were forbidden for sale by legislative decree, resulting in an active black market for bootleg video copies of those films. For more on video nasties, I've included a short piece hosted by English critic Mark Kermode after the trailer.

The Hollywood Theatre's monthly Grindhouse Film Festival brings Portland audiences the chance to catch the film this Tuesday on the big screen, projected from a rare 35mm print.  Here's what the theater's press release has to say (note the warning about refunds):

The Grindhouse Film Festival presents the only known 35mm print of Ruggero Deodato’s soul-shattering horror film Cannibal Holocaust. 

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) A crew of documentary filmmakers, working on a movie about a lost cannibal tribe, disappears deep in the Amazon jungle. An anthropologist is sent in search of them, and finds only their film footage. When he screens the film, we witness the crew’’s horrible fate. This gut churning descent into the dark side of humanity includes some of the most horrific images ever burned into celluloid. This film is absolutely guaranteed to shock, offend and disgust. It is also one of the most powerful films of all time. 

WARNING: This film contains extreme violence and scenes of animal cruelty. No one under the age of 17 will be admitted, and no refunds will be given to those offended.

Cannibal Holocaust plays one-night-only at the Hollywood Theatre on Tuesday, October 23rd at 7:30pm.  More info available here.

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