Cannibal Holocaust is a found footage horror film released in 1980. The film is directed by Ruggero Deodato and tells a story of a documentary film crew who traverse the Amazons to film the lives of cannibal tribes. After contact with the crew is lost a rescue crew is sent, what they recover is the documentary team’s film.
The film is interesting because it is one of the earliest films to use the found footage technique, way before the Blair Witch Project popularized it. But of course this movie is not without its controversies.
The film gained notoriety from its portrayal of graphic violence, sexual assaults and animal cruelty. The film made its premier in Italy where it was immediately seized and banned. The director Ruggero was then arrested on obscenity charges. To make matters worse rumors began to spread that the film was actually a “snuff film” due to the fact that killings look real and the actors were actually dead. When the actors was confirmed to be alive Ruggero was released with no charges. The film was banned in multiple European countries due to its graphic violence. The film did kill real animals in the film; a total of 7 animals were killed in production. The animals include a pig, monkey, snake and a turtle.
It took 20 years for the movie to be released for home viewing but even then it was heavily censored. We can see that back then that the masses were not comfortable with graphic violence. Unlike today where we glorify movies like Saw and any other killer movie. Because the movie scene was still young at the time, showing anything excessive which purpose is to make the audience feel uncomfortable and showing things they never seen before, movies like this often tend to be quite controversial. This film is still considered the top 20 controversial films of all time