Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 1st, 2005
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
DVD Released: October 25th, 2005
Approximate Running Time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Grindhouse Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: When a film crew goes missing after going to the jungles of South America in search of a tribe of cannibals a search team is put together to find out what happened to them?
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 as he has spent his time churning out B films and TV movies since Cannibal Holocaust.
The 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.
Grindhouse present Cannibal Holocaust in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Wither you have seen this film before or not the moment you start this film you will be blown away with just how good it looks. The nicely saturated colors are vivid through out and there are no problems with colors bleeding into each other. The black levels look phenomenal as detail look razor sharp in the back and foreground. The films more documentary looking footage is not as sharp and this is mostly due to the fact it was shot in 16mm and is supposed to look that way. Despite this transfer being interlaced I didn’t notice any instances of ghosting or blurring as the image remains stable through out. There is some noticeable grain and a few minor instances of print damage. Overall I never ever thought a film like Cannibal Holocaust could look this good.
This release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital stereo remix and the films original Dolby Digital mono audio mix. Both audio mixes are in English. Both audio mixes sound amazing as the dialog is crisp and the music and effects sound perfectly balanced.
The extras for this release are divided over two DVD’s. Reel 1 includes the following extras the films original Italian trailer, a German trailer, the original US theatrical trailer, and the theatrical re-release trailer. Other extras include a section titled “Inside The Green Inferno” which is broken up into six areas, The Filmmakers includes bios for Alan Yates, Jack Anders, Faye Daniels, Mark Tomaso and Felipe Ocanya. The Search Team includes bios for Dr. Harold Monroe, Chaccko Losojos, and Miguel Lujan. The Cannibal Tribes includes bios for The Yacumos, The Shamatari, and The Yanomamo tribes. New Findings is a still gallery containing unearthed evidence in the seven stills included. The Last Road To Hell – Alternate Version is an alternate cut of one of the films most brutal scenes. This alternate version contains two shots not included in the theatrical version of the film. In this section one can also access via DVD-Rom the films complete screenplay and there is also a piece about the difference between the script and final film which can be only accessed via DVD-Rom. Rounding out the extras for Reel 1 is an audio commentary with Ruggero Deodato and Robert Kerman. Deodato spends most of the time talking as he struggles with his English and what is a pretty standard audio commentary track is highlighted by Deodato remorse about the animal cruelty. This film can be watched three ways the films original uncut version, an animal cruelty free version and an on Camera Commentary Version. It is cool that Grindhouse has offered so many viewing options especially the animal cruelty free version which is the most effective version of the film.
Reel 2 includes the following extras trailers for Cannibal Ferox, The Tough Ones, The Beyond, Cat In The Brain, I Drink Your Blood, Scum Of The Earth and Gone With The Pope. More extras include text biographies and filmographies for Ruggero Deodato and Robert Kerman and a filmography for Gabriel Yorke. The biographies especially Ruggero Deodato’s are well written and extensive. Other extras include a still gallery which has been broken down into four sections production stills, behind the scenes, publicity materials and Mondo Cannibale. Each of the four galleries plays with music from the film playing in the background like a featurette. Also included are three interviews the first one with Robert Kerman which runs about thirty minutes in length. This was my favorite extra include for this release as Kerman never holds back as he is always frank in his remarks and recollections. The second interview is with composer Riz Ortolani who covers a lot of ground in his brief six minute interview. The third and final interview is with Gabriel Yorke that is about fifty one minutes in length. Like many of this films cast Gabriel Yorke has rarely if ever spoken about Cannibal Holocaust and his offers an in depth look into his character and how it was to with on this film. Rounding out the extras for Reel 2 is the excellent documentary “In the Jungle – The Making Of Cannibal Holocaust” which is about sixty three minutes in length. This documentary includes interviews’ with most of the films major players from the film crew. Unfortunately none of the actors participated in this documentary. This documentary was original released for AYP’s region 2 Cannibal Holocaust DVD which didn’t come with English subtitles like it does this time.
This DVD comes housed in a slipcase that contains a double keep case that has artwork from one of the films most recognizable images. Also included is a mini reproduction of the films poster art and liner notes written by Chas Balun. There are also a wide variety of Easter egg’s on this release with two of them being located on Reel 1 DVD and seven of them located on the Reel 2 DVD, happy hunting.
Grindhouse have put together one of the most impressive special edition DVD’s ever assembled for a cult release. If you are a fan of depraved cinema that thrives on the suffering of other living Beings then Cannibal Holocaust is the movie you have been waiting for, dig in.