Skip to comments.Mikey Moore for Supper, or, Some Cannibals Ainít All That Bad...
Posted on 08/15/2004 7:36:23 PM PDT by Long Cut
Because of the recent popularity and notoriety of Michael Moores latest flight into propaganda, Fahrenheit 911, a movie I watched this weekend packed an extra punch, on top of its many other visceral attacks on the senses. Its not often that a European makes a movie which destroys (both literally AND figuratively) liberal documentarians, but that is exactly what the 1979 Italian movie Cannibal Holocaust does, in spades.
Made for $100,000.00 in the late 70s by director Ruggero Deodato, CH is certainly not for everyone. Most FReepers should, in fact, take a pass. The film is reputed to be the most violent ever made, featuring graphic gore, nudity (full frontal, male and female), sexual situations (although no hardcore as such, and NEVER in a pleasant manner), and some scenes which are frankly indefensible. It begins with the search for four young documentary filmmakers who have vanished into the Amazon Jungles where they went to find and film tribes of possible stone-age cannibals. An anthropology professor, Dr. Monroe, is dispatched to find out what happened to them. After a harrowing trek through dangerous jungles, and a terrifying encounter with a native tribe, he finds the remains of the young filmmakers...and their film canisters. (The similarity at this point to the much later, and more famous copycat Blair Witch Project is apparent).
Professor Monroe brings the films back to New York, where a TV station is considering making them into a sensationalistic broadcast to be hosted by himself. The studio heads, particularly a Katie-Couric style woman, strongly push him to make the show. However, he refuses until he can view the footage himself. It is here that we find out what happened to the three young men and one woman who vanished. It seems that, to make a more sensationalistic movie, the filmmakers set up sequences to get better scenes of carnage, even to the point of shooting food animals of the natives and burning their village, killing some in the process. They also rape and murder a native girl, impaling her on a pole in the movies most searing image. Their behavior so evil and immoral, the natives attack, and the last twenty minutes of the film footage shows their grisly fates at the hands of their victims.
The movie is relentless in its portrayal of violence...nothing is hidden or suggested; all, including the cannibals having lunch are shown fully. In its most offensive parts, however, the film shows animals being killed...for real. The filmmakers are shown not only killing the natives food animals, but a giant turtle, a snake, and a spider...all for real. Note, this is indefensible on any level, and thus, once again, I caution FReepers about viewing it. I myself had to use the skip button on the DVD player for these parts. The film also pulls NO punches in its depiction of the rape of the native girl by the filmmakers, or other violent sexual acts. It pummels the viewer with these images, constantly driving home its central question of just whom the real savages are. The movie ends with Professor Monroe convincing studio executives not to show the film, over the objections of the Katie. He walks from the building a troubled man. At the end, the viewer is compelled to let out a huge sigh of relief and exhaustion. Those with weaker stomachs will let out much more.
Such was the reality of many films made back then. Those claiming that its never been worse in regards to modern movie sex and violence have no idea how much better it is now.
So, how does all this carnage relate to Mr. Moores current notoriety? Well, the filmmakers in the film could be his clones. They stage sequences and abuse subjects with NO regard for truth or human dignity, seeking only fame and fortune. At one point, when one of their number is killed and eaten by natives, the director, Allan, is heard to say, Well get an Oscar for sure!, as he films his comrades torturous demise, little realizing that his own is close at hand. One recalls, at this point, Moores use in F911 of a young Marine to embarrass Congressmen. The young man is now facing charges and a court-martial, with Moore nowhere to be found.
The filmmakers, Allan, Jack, Mark, and Faye, are all darlings of the Liberal media in New York, who love their daring and edgy documentaries of war zones and the like, even though the big shots know that the films arent entirely real or truthful...just like someone else we know.
The filmmakers relatives and friends seem to distrust and even dislike them intensely. Moore has some former colleagues out there that similarly distrust him.
The filmmakers destroy the lives of hundreds of innocent natives in their quest for fame and money, abusing them brutally for nothing more on some occasions than fun. Despite their outwardly liberal pronouncements, they regard and treat their subjects as nothing more than animals. How is this different from Moores attacks on his own countrys Soldiers and war effort?
It goes on and on. If it were made today, Cannibal Holocaust would be seen as a direct attack upon Moore, as sure as I write this. It would be, as it was when released, pilloried by liberal critics. Not that it wasnt, anyway, and for some legitimate reasons, but the criticism would be howlingly loud now, as opposed to the quiet disgust the left showed then. In point of fact, the film was never released to American theaters when it was made, as its subject matter was so controversial, it was banned in many countries. It received no US rating, but was given a self-imposed X by its director, who also faced criminal charges in Italy for murder (he was acquitted by bringing the actors he supposedly killed to court) and animal cruelty. He was unable to work for three years after CH was released. One wonders why he did it in the first place.
Conveniently, on the DVD I saw, an interview is provided with Mr. Deodato, now in his 70s but still healthy and sharp. At the time, he explains, Italian television was filled with graphic and violent images of terrorist attacks by the Italian Red Brigades and other terrorist groups. Aldo Moro had just been assassinated, his bullet-ridden corpse shown in full color on the news. Deodato, appalled by not only the violence, but by the medias seeming addiction to showing it real-time for nothing more than ratings and money, was also distressed to explain it to his then-young son as it appeared onscreen in their home. He was also aware of the tactics used by documentary filmmakers of the time who earned gobs of money exploiting the suffering of people around the world in war zones. Since his next directorial project was a jungle cannibal thriller of the kind so popular in Italy at the time, he decided to use this one to actually SAY something. He succeeded, if the subsequent controversy and results are any guide. He remains proud of his film, which, he claims, has made $200,000,000.00 worldwide, and is the second highest grossing movie in Japan, after E.T.
The remastered film was released to selected theaters in the US for the first time last year, by Grindhouse Releasing. It played to sold-out crowds, and a new, better, DVD release is in the works. One hopes that those who viewed it in those venues thought of it when (if) they saw Michael Moores propaganda. Some things, it seems, do not change. Deodato is rumored to be working on a sequel; one hopes he has seen Moore in action. The cannibals deserve a good, fat meal like that, methinks.
The movie Cannibal Holocaust's website may be acessed by clicking here. Reviews are widely available online, both pro and con. I only ask that NO images be posted here from it.
A ping to the STOMP list! This film wasn't so fun, however. it wasn't meant to be.
My own little attack on Moore. Break out the ketchup and send him to the Amazon!!!
What did the cannibals ever do to you to wish them an early death from clogged arteries? If you're going to send Moore over there, at least send them some Lipitor to wash him down with.
Ummm...I think I'll stick with my DVD of THE PRINCESS DIARIES. Thanks anyhoo. :)
Whatever works! I was in a particularly mad mood this weekend. Got chewed out by the Chief last week. I figured I needed a catharsis. It helped to unleash it on Moore, since the film placed him square in the crosshairs.
It's a risk I'm willing to take. They looked pretty healthy in the movie. I'd guess they can handle a Mooreburger or two.
As you say, whatever works. I am not a big fan of excessive bloodletting, which is why I avoid things such as LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, CH, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, and any Red Sox games. ;)
If you haven't guessed, I see some WEIRD movies. I never claimed to be normal...
I never would have guessed. ;) Altho', your 'Zilla fandom gives you a pass on that, in my book.
Indeed, the storyline is very close to the gestalt of every MM film mide since Roger and Me to F/911. Gross distortions committed for personal gain and aggrandisement. More is a feckless crapweasel as well as the slime that feeds on the fungus that putrifies at the bottom of a sludgeheap.
CH was different, as it wasn't some slasher or zombie flick. The "villains" were presented as people you'd see anywhere, young people in their early 20's, and the situations were all played straight. No humor, no comic relief at all. The "found footage" segments were even jerky and scratched, as if filmed with a 16mm hand-held camera. It added to the realism.
The makeup guy was a genius, too.
If Moore knows about CH, he sure doesn't want people to see it now. You can't help but think of him if you view it.
In that case you need to see Pink Flamingos
Probably tame compared to CH though
One of the most insightful comments about horror in films was made by...well, I can't recall who. But he said that to truly horrify, there must be an element of the familiar (I supose to make the viewer more able to see himself/herself in the same position).
As an example, he said to imagine coming face to face with a bearded, red-eyed, fanged monster in your kitchen eating your dog alive.
Now imagine putting your Mom in place of the monster, doing the same thing.
So, just recently here in Brunswick, a little privately-run DVD only rental place opens up...Bart & Greg's DVD Explosion. They stock everything you won't find at BB, plus everything you will. Foreign, US, it doesn't matter. They had CH (which they warned me about before renting), as well as lots of other interesting movies, not so strong. I'll be spending a dollar or two there.
Saw it. Disgusting as hell, but not even in the same league. I'm serious, CH is in a class by itself.
That IS a great description! Peter Jackson, of LOTR fame, thought so too. He had an almost identical scene in his early zombie movie, Dead Alive.
Aw, c'mon...tell us how you REALLY feel!
I'm sure the cannibals could plate him up, with some A-1 and some Emeril's Essence.
They were all faked. Pity.
Well I am at the age where I'me given up seeing the really whack movies. I have a much better time taking my kids to see Spiderman.
and sleep easier too;)
One of my favorites is MONDO DIGITAL. It has thousands of reviews, and hundreds of links to other sites. It's updated weekly.
Try Renting ASWANG at Blockbuster. Very horrible and gave me chills for weeks... I ended up buying the DVD uncut on ebay which was well worth it. Now I'm checking CH out thanks.....
Home of MY favorite b-movie vixen, Misty Mundae!
My wife won't allow me to watch any of "my" movies in the house anymore. She's moving up to join me here in Maine soon, so my forays into this particular jungle are over.
I usually get to watch this stuff when I go on deployment. You can get ANYTHING overseas.
The first 5 minutes of the commercial dud "Ghost Ship" were pretty good. While the rest of the movie was complete crap, the way they managed to kill off the passengers and crew at the dance was unique and entertaining.
Oh jeeze, I saw that one on my first date with this girl. That scene from the dance floor haunted me for weeks.
She's a hottie, no doubt. The female lead in CH, Francesca Ciardi, is a good-looking woman herself (and pre-silicone as well), but even though she's seen naked a bunch of times, the situations prevent you from enjoying it, as does her character.
Okay, I looked it up. Noooo thanks. :)
Click here. Be forewarned, though.
Hey, -she- picked it out! :^)
I couldn't decide whether I was scared or disgusted. Let's just say the decision went down to the wire.
(I really did enjoy that movie, and I'm not a big horror fan except for the old 60s-era Hammer films).
Don't you ever...make...another...joke...that...bad...ever. Ever. Now go to bed without supper.
It depends on the chick. If she's a nice, corn-fed young lass from the heartland, you take her to a chick flick. If she's got white skin, a pierced nose, black hair, and is dressed in leather and spikes, a horror movie is perfect.
I am properly chastized. That WAS pretty vile.
Izzat true, Bella? :^)
Yeah, but would you want YOUR sister to marry one?
It was a pretty wild couple of dates, though!
Eeysh. I'm gonna have to go throw in a Disney flick to get those images out of my head.
What was the "twist ending", though?
I'll tell ya, the thing about CH that was frightening was the jungle itself. It's actually almost a character in the film, closing in around the filmmakers towards the end, and around the professor in the beginning. It's depicted as as dangerous and unfriendly as you can imagine, with the characters appearing very much as you'd expect a person to look after a few days' deep in what the film calls "the green inferno". Filthy, muddy, with slithering reptiles and insects all over the place, and little suggestions that they are always being watched by someone. No well-coiffed and buffed-out actors and actresses here, in fine LL Bean gear, they are presented as tired, dirty, and becoming consumed slowly by it. We know, but they apparently due to their ignorant arrogance do not, that they are surrounded by forces which want them dead.
Substitute "woods" for "jungle" and you've got Blair Witch.
I will get a copy of CH as soon as I can arrange it. Commercial movies that have shown the scenario you describe invariably do not come off as believable - the actor's makeup isn't even smeared in most cases, and they "act" scared but you never really believe they ARE scared.
Blair Witch blew me away when I first saw it. No legs though, and they should have saved their money on the sequel and just thrown it down a rathole to start with.
I'll tell you what though...I've flown over those same jungles in SA as in the movie. They are forbidding even from 10,000 feet. Green, split by muddy rivers for as far as you can see, with NO signs of human life whatsoever. You just KNOW that if the plane goes down in that stuff, you're not walking out even if you survive the crash.
In "Blair Witch", c'mon...it was a forest in Maryland. You walk to a stream and follow it. You can't be more than a few hours from a field, road, telephone line, etc...That jungle is way worse looking, with far meaner critters in it.
Needless to say, after a few days, the cast looked the part well. Watching it, you could almost smell them.