Friday, September 25, 2015


My curiosity for horror movies probably started 30 years ago with A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE for rent on VHS. Or maybe it was HBO? I think back then, stuff came out on cable before it hit video? Whatever the case, I was frightened/intrigued by the 'Freddy' cardboard standee at my neighborhood video rental store. They had it in the corner so that it would stare at you no matter where you stood. I've told this story before but it's left an impression on me and think that it's the catalyst for why I like horror movies.

The reason why I think horror films are so popular is because of the thrill viewers get by watching them. Much like the love of riding a roller coaster. Along with that is the notion that the movie might be something forbidden, something you're not allowed to see. The threat of nightmares kept me away for awhile.

In my formative years I just stuck with the standard horror classics like the Elm Street, Jason, and Evil Dead films. All the heavy metal kids in High School talked about the Faces of Death movies, but I stuck with the fake stuff, thank you very much. Turns out those were fake anyways, and apparently sucked. So jokes on them!

By the late 90's and early 2000's I heard about a sub genre of horror called Italian horror. And in my discovery learned about a film called CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. This film was the holy grail of exploitation horror. In a nutshell, the film had a reputation that if you watched it you'd go to hell. At the time of discovery the film was only available by bootleg. So my friend and I just stuck with the safe stuff like THE BEYOND or DEMONS.

When KILL BILL came out, that's when my obsession with exploitation films started. And I made it my mission to find and watch the mother of all exploitation films. At the time I didn't know what that was, but I'd soon find out.

I had forgotten about CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST until about a year ago when it made it's debut on blu-ray. I quickly remembered that the movie was considered one of the best, if not the best horror exploitation films ever made. It certainly sounded like the most controversial because of all the real life killing of animals.

After giving it some serious thought, I finally decided to watch the film. After all, it's only a movie. How nasty can it be? Pretty nasty as it turns out.

A New York University professor returns from a rescue mission to the Amazon rain forest with the footage shot by a lost team of documentarians who were making a film about the area's local cannibal tribe.

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is basically two films. The second act is a found footage film sandwiched between the film. The first part is finding out what happened to the missing crew. The second part is us getting to see the footage and piecing together the mystery. And lastly we get a social commentary on what is considered 'entertainment' these days.

The film is a gore fest and on several occasions I wanted to shut it off. But every time I thought about doing that, something brilliant always happened. And when it got to the ending I came to the conclusion that the film is a masterpiece. Who would've thought that a horror exploitation film can have a message? So yeah, I guess you could say I like gore. Gore in movies. Why? I don't know because the funny thing is, I cannot stand sick stuff in real life. Unless it's my own, the sight of blood freaks me out. Heck, I don't even like to hunt. And that includes fishing.

But when it comes to blood & guts make-up effects, the gore doesn't bother me. Okay, it does but I can handle it, Most of the time. I guess because I know it's fake and I can't help but think the movie making process is fun.

In fact, I know from experience that it's fun because I had the honor of playing a dead guy in a popular web series. The make-up effects guy gave me a bullet hole in the head. That was a fun couple of hours!

With all that being said, the gore effects in CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is pretty extreme. But it is fake, so just keep telling yourself that. What's not fake is the animal killings. And yes it's disturbing and uncomfortable to watch. Forget the cannibalism, it's the innocent slaughter of jungle rats, monkeys, sea turtles, and pigs that's repulsive.

In good conscious I cannot recommend CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. But I'm not your mother, so watch at your own risk. Just remember, curiosity killed the cat.

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