Cannibal Holocaust

Production Year: 1980
Release Date: 07/08/2014
Studio: Grindhouse Releasing

What can one say about the 'the mother of all cannibal flicks' that hasn't already been said countless times.  The 1980 film carries a malicious reputation and with good reason; It's as powerful as it is offensive and horrific. It's easy to get hung up on the animal cruelty displayed, this is something I won't defend or negate, I will say this though, If Cannibal Holocaust wasn't a well made and potent film the controversy surrounding it would have died out long ago. There are a number of cruel films out there, some much more graphic in their execution, however most of them are forgettable due to the quality and ineffectiveness of the film. Cannibal Holocaust is a movie that has rightfully earned it's reputation as a dangerous movie thanks to the competency of Deodato's direction, Sergio D'Offizi's cinematography, and a number of strong performances by a few first-time actors.

Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman), an astute anthropologist, heads into the green inferno in an attempt to find a group of missing amateur filmmakers. His search leads him through the extremely dangerous jungles of South America where he witnesses just how deadly some of the local natives are. Could it be that the young eager team met their demise at the hands of a cannibalistic tribe? The anthropologist's assumptions soon turn into hard evidence when a number of film cannisters are found scattered around some horrific human remains.

Monroe brings the undeveloped film back to New York in order to put an end to the mystery surrounding the death and disappearance of the group. Through this film he discovers the truth behind the murders; that their deaths were due to their own savagery. By pillaging, maiming, and raping in order to create a more interesting documentary the team unwillingly becomes lunch.

"Who are the real cannibals?" Harold ponders, that's certainly a tall order Harry. No one is surprised when tribes that are still living in the stone age react gruesomely, but what about civilised people? What excuse do they have to terrorize? Or maybe he was referring to us, the viewing audience. This type of film; the violence displayed on film, it caters to a very specific audience.  Certainly if we weren't buying 'em up there wouldn't have ever been a market for ultra violent films like Cannibal Holocaust.  Maybe we're the real cannibals.

Wow. That was my first thought going into the film. I'd heard a lot of positive rumblings surrounding the blu-ray but I wasn't really prepared to see the picture look so crisp, clean, and colorful. Even during the "degraded" footage you'll see a massive improvement in comparison to the past releases. The film maintains a natural filmic look throughout with a fine amount of detail available. The 2.0 DTS-HD MA is just as clean which is definitely important to note, as Riz Ortolani's score is a critical aspect of this film. There such a strange contrast with Ortolani's mellow sounds scoring such savage butchery. The soundscape is even with the score never interfering with any of the dialogue. For purists there's also a mono track available.

Disc One

*While not a supplement I must note that Grindhouse Releasing has included an animal cruelty free cut of Cannibal Holocaust.*

Commentary with Ruggero Deodato Robert Kerman.

Commentary with Carl Yorke and Francesca Ciardi

Last Road to Hell (1:46 SD) - This is the short faux documentary we see played in the film, this rough version has a few different takes included, though nothing too major.

Trailers (varying quality)

  • International (03:07 HD) 
  • Italian (03:09 HD) 
  • German (02:13 SD) 
  • US original (01:26 HD) 
  • US re-release (02:12 HD)

Disc Two

Interviews (varying quality) - The second disc is primarily made up of interviews.  Well, maybe that's putting it lightly.  We're talkin' well over four hours of footage.  Anything you've ever wanted to know about Cannibal Holocaust can be found on this disc.

  • Ruggero Deodato; Cleveland; April 1, 2011 (58:09 HD) - Split up into three sections, Jungle Holocaust, Cannibal Holocaust, and Cut & Run.
  • Robert Kerman; New York; November 13, 2000 (35:38 HD) -  Kerman discusses his career and his work with Deodato during the infamous film. 
  • Carl Yorke; Palo Alto; May 16, 2005 (56:18 SD) - Carl Yorke on Cannibal Holocaust, a straight forward interview on his work with the film.
  • Francesca Ciardi; London April 29, 2010 (38:22 HD) - The actress is pretty upfront about with her disdain towards certain aspects of the film, and honest and appreciated interview.
  • Salvatore Basile; Cartagena, Columbia; January 8, 2014 (30:32 HD) - A very strange and candid interview with the actor about his career and thoughts on the gruesome film.
  • Riz Ortolani; Rome; April 15, 2003 (05:01 SD) - An interview with the late composer about his time scoring the film.
  • Roberto Forges Davanzati; Rome; April 28, 2010 (12:31 SD) - The Cannibal' Camera man discusses Cannibal Holocaust's infamy.  
  • Ruggero Deodato; Cinema Wasteland Panel; April 1, 2011 (28:22 HD) - The director is joined by Francesca Ciardi, David Hess, Michael Berryman, and Carl Yorke. 
  • Francesca Ciardi; Glasgow; October 13, 2010 (11:15 HD)
  • Yorke and Deodato reunion; Los Angeles April 18, 2009 (10:25 SD) -
  • Kerman and Deodato reunion; Tarrytown; November 11, 2000 (08;48 SD) -  

Still Galleries 

  • Production stills 
  • Behind the scenes 
  • Promotional materials; Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan.
  • Video releases 
  • Mondo Cannibal 
Grindhouse Releasing Trailer reel (varying quality)
  • Cannibal Ferox (02:48)
  • The Beyond (03:28)
  • Pieces (00:34) 
  • An American Hippie in Israel (03:04)
  • Corruption (02:07) 
  • The Big Gundown (02:15)
  • The Swimmer (02:48) 
  • Massacre Mafia Style (02:21) 
  • Gone with the Pope (02:03)
  • Ice House (01:40)
  • Scum of the Earth (0214)
  • Cat in the Brain (02:00)
  • The Tough Ones (3:33) 
  • I Drink Your Blood (02:51) 

Easter Eggs!

If the above extras weren't enough don't fret!  Hidden throughout the discs there's even more supplements, here's just a sampling of what I found with a few minutes of searching.

Disc One
Necrophagia Music Video (06:55 SD) - This one can be found next to the Dolby Digital option in the sound menu.

Disc Two
Canadian Screening footage (07:15 SD) - Cannibal Holocaust's newly restored print is screened in Canada for the first time!  Some poor soul actually faints after seeing some of the visceral footage!  This one can be found by heading to the Still Gallery section, if you hit the right arrow next to Mondo Cannibal you'll see a small icon light up.

Keep in mind there are a lot more extras sprinkled around, you'll have to find the rest on your own!

The pictures should clearly speak for themselves.  So far this is easily a contender for the best release of 2014.  Included with the blu-ray is a 24 page booklet with essays written by Eli Roth, the late Chas Balun, Gergeley Hubai, and Martin Beine.  If that wasn't enough also tossed in is a bonus CD soundtrack which comes housed in a cardboard slipcase.  It's nice to see such a notorious film given this kind of treatment.

Cannibal Holocaust might not have been the first Italian cannibal film, but it is the most unnerving, the most competent, and clearly the most notorious.  Even after repeat viewings it remains just as visceral, a real testament to the talent behind the lens.  I bought Grindhouse Releasing's first DVD back in 2005, at the time it was one of the best region one DVD's out there.  Now almost a decade later the same can be said about their blu-ray.  For fans of the film this is the final stop, I really can't imagine it getting any better from here.  Their execution is perfect and everything has been accounted for, hell even the anti-piracy warnings are geared towards the film.  From the discs to the packaging this release is a true work of art.  A must own.


  1. Hi, to be honest your first sentence sums up the challenge in writing about this film. I did set out to put something together myself on this a few months back. I had a few ideas such as a comparison with The Wild Eye as a critique of Mondo, also comparisons with 30s ethnographic films. But when it came down it, as I had to at least provide background for those who hadn't seen the film I found myself retreading too much familiar ground. The review, as a result, remains unwritten.