I’m starting a series of posts under the title “JR-sploitation” – my initials – in order to share stories about some of the wildest films of the exploitation era.
You probably know Eli Roth’s 2015 cannibal shocker The Green Inferno, but did you know it was actually the working title that Director Ruggero Deodato used when he was making the legendarily shocking Cannibal Holocaust?
If you do not know about this 1980 movie, it is considered by many as the most controversial film ever released, and there are good reasons for it!
The plot is simple: A New York University professor returns from a rescue mission to the Amazon rainforest with the footage shot by a lost team of documentarians who were making a film about the area’s local cannibal tribes.
Cannibal Holocaust is one of the first “found film” movies ever released. The shocking aspect of the film begins with this Professor finding footage showing what happened to a film crew that disappears in the Amazon.
It’s difficult to show most of the images from the film, it is just that shocking. But it is also a film that has been rescued from infamy with a new blu-ray release that puts the movie in context.
There are a number of new releases with tons of extra material that brings the stories behind the filming to life. Since many box covers use a particularly grisly image from the film, that led to a fascinating story at the time of the film’s release in Italy.
As the great website IMDB reported:
“Ten days after its premiere in Milan, the film was seized by the Italian courts, and Director Ruggero Deodato was arrested and charged with obscenity. He was later charged with murdering several actors on camera, and faced life in prison. The cast had signed contracts requiring them to disappear for a year after shooting, to maintain the illusion that they’d died. Deodato contacted Luca Barbareschi and told him to contact the three other actors who played the missing film team. When the actors appeared in court, alive and well, the murder charges were dropped!”
That’s right, he had to bring the movie’s cast into court to prove he hadn’t killed them on camera!
Whether you ever want to see this film or not – you have to understand the role that Cannibal Holocaust played in horror film history, and why Eli Roth paid homage to it.
And here is the best fact of all:
There are no cannibalistic tribes in the Amazon!
Enjoy the trailer, more “JR-Sploitation” to come!