Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 24th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1979
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Writers: Ruggero Deodato, Gianfranco Clerici
Cast: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Luca Barbareschi, Salvatore Basile, Ricardo Fuentes, Gabriel Yorke
BluRay released: September 26th, 2011
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Shameless Screen Entertainment
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £24.99
Cannibal Holocaust is not an easy film to watch and outside of its shocking images most of them dealing with animal cruelty there is little left in the way of entertainment. It has been nearly twenty five years since Ruggero Deodato directed this notorious film which all but ended his career as a filmmaker, he has spent his time churning out B films and TV movies since Cannibal Holocaust.
This film cleverly mixes what looks like documentary footage with the rest of the footage assembled by Deodato giving this film an almost too realistic look at times. Of course there are many great set pieces in the film like when the film crew comes across the girl that they just raped who has now had a pole shoved in from her genitals up through her mouth. This moment is clearly the films breaking point were the film crew who were once civilized have now lost their innocence and they return to their nihilistic cave man roots to rape Mother Nature. There is no denying that in today’s world that films like this that torture and then murder helpless animals would never have a chance of being made. Of note it is interesting that now year’s later director Ruggero Deodato has since condemned these scenes of animal cruelty as youthful indiscretion. The films greatest asset without a doubt is Riz Ortolani’s masterful score that adds emotion and depth to the images and characters. I have never been a fan of the cannibal genre of films and even though I have seen a few of the over the years one has to wonder who the core audience is for these type of films. There is no denying that Cannibal Holocaust is a powerful experience and the reputation that is has gained through the years is deserved.
Cannibal Holocaust comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. This release comes with two versions, the ‘original’ edit and a ‘reduced animal cruelty’ edit. Though billed as the ‘original’ edit, it appears that is at least one minor trim involving animal cruelty removed from this version. Quality wise both transfers look comparable. Colors look nicely saturated, flesh tones look healthy, black and contrast levels look very good throughout. Details look crisp and though there are no problems with compression, this release has some of the same issues that have plagued far too many Italian films that have been released on Blu-Ray.
This release comes with two audio options, one for each version included with this release. Dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented. It should be noted that there are some instances in which the dialog is in Italian only and there moments do come with English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a brief intro with director Ruggero Deodato, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 58 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and two well rounded featurette’s about the film, the first one is titled ‘Filmed & Be Damned’ (40 minutes 28 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English & Italian with English subtitles) and the second one is titled ‘The Long Road Back From Hell’ (40 minutes 20 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English & Italian with English subtitles). Content wise, ‘Filmed & Be Damned’ is more a production related look into the ups and downs of this production and it includes comments from actor Gabriel Yorke and Ruggero Deodato, while ‘The Long Road Back From Hell’ is more of a critical look into the impact and legacy of this production and this featurette includes comments from several film critics, Gabriel Yorke, Ruggero Deodato and actress Francesca Ciardi. There are many great stories in this two featurette’s like Ruggero Deodato discovering that Robert Kerman was an adult film actor and Roberto Rossellini’s influences on Ruggero Deodato as a filmmaker. Also included with this release are promos / trailers for future and current Shameless Screen Entertainment releases. Overall Cannibal Holocaust gets a strong release from Shameless Screen Entertainment.
Note: Shameless Screen Entertainment are also releasing Cannibal Holocaust on DVD.