Bride of Project Horror, Day 11: Jungle Holocaust


Way back on Day 13 of the first Project Horror, I watched the justly notorious Cannibal Holocaust.  I've seen movies that have scared me more, and I've seen movies that have left me more disturbed, but CH has pretty much forever set the bar for what I now consider to be the most extreme and grotesque things you can do on film.  So it was with a little trepidation that I approached tonight's movie Jungle Holocaust (aka Last Cannibal World aka The Last Survivor aka Cannibal!), by the same director, Ruggero Deodato.

Jungle Holocaust was made about three years before Cannibal Holocaust, and if you compare the two, you can tell that this is an earlier effort, made by a director who was still feeling his way along.  It covers some of the same ground that showed up in the later movie, but not with the same effectiveness.

The movie starts with a small prop plane landing on a remote island.  The landing is especially rough, and the four people aboard will be trapped on the island until the plane can be repaired.  They are oil prospectors, and have come to rendezvous with an earlier team.  When they find the other team's campsite, though, it shows signs of violent struggle, and the team is nowhere to be found.  When one of their own members goes missing, the others begin searching the jungle.  One is quickly killed.  In a skirmish with the natives, the remaining two are separated, and one is taken captive.  He is forced to watch as they eat the remains of the expedition member who went missing earlier, and then subjected to many other tortures.  Eventually spotting a way out, he takes one of the tribe's women hostage and makes his escape.  Will he make it back to the plane?  (Yes.)  Will he be reunited with his friend whom he was separated from earlier?  (Yes.)  Will the cannibals extract horribly gruesome revenge on the woman who he left their camp with?  (Also yes.)

When I watched Cannibal Holocaust, I gave it a rating of 4 out of 5.  It wasn't a really enjoyable movie to watch, but it succeeded at what it set out to do, so I gave it points based on that.  I can't really say the same thing for this movie.  It's just really uneven.  It's a horror movie, but then there's scenes right in the middle of it where the lead character is walking beside the river and the soundtrack is playing this gentle, hippy-dippy flute and guitar number, as though to remind you about the serenity of nature.  And of course, they need to remind you about the serenity of nature, because you've just watched a close-up, unstaged scene of tribesmen butchering an alligator and eating its still-beating heart.  And, look, I know that they call these things exploitation movies for a reason, but come on...  The cannibals are ferocious when they're torturing and killing, but once they sit down to eat, it's like Deodato instructed them to look as blank-eyed and stupid as possible while stuffing as much into their mouths as they can.  It's like handing a turkey leg to the village idiot and telling him to go nuts.  It practically screams, "HEY LOOK AT THESE BIZARRE BROWN PEOPLE."  Don't even get me started on how we're still supposed to identify with the lead after he punishes the native girl for trying to escape by raping her.

Nope.  Did not like this one.  One cannibal cauldron out of five.
Tomorrow night: Cannibal Ferox


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