Saturday, December 18

Some quick thoughts on Cannibal Holocaust: The Beginning (Mondo cannibale / Cannibal World) (2003)

An unscrupulous newswoman and her boss hatch a plan to beat the Iraq war's ratings domination by unearthing the "truth" behind Amazonian cannibals. After assembling a few old comrades, the group enters the green inferno in search of an enigmatic tribe, dubbed "The Invisible", in order to document their man-eating brutality. Upon discovering the savage sect, the documentary makers stage a fake attack by rivals of the indigenous people and burn down their village. Now, the warrior survivors of the massacre are on the hunt for the murderous outsiders, while the evil television network (on location, in Hong Kong!) continues to devise ways of selling the foul product to a wanting public.

Oh Bruno, what possessed you to undertake your millennial streak of wholesale ripitude starting with Land of Death and Cannibal World? If it wasn't obvious after the first sentence, this is Bruno Mattei's rehash of Ruggero Deodato's infamous Cannibal Holocaust. Only the hack maestro's approach is that of a corporate promotional video or a porno without the porno. You're always half expecting cheap graphics advertising positive stock quotes to pop up on the screen or someone's genitalia to suddenly come flopping out. And that's before the jungle sequences. Things don't change much except for the scenery when lush greens dominate the screen. Maybe the worst dubbing ever ("stomachs flopping like palsy butterflies"...?!?), overzealously tight framing, sweaty faces with no make-up, and crowds of painted Indochinese with sticks being paid (hopefully) to chow on raw meat.

That's all that Cannibal World aims to be and it's puzzling anyone thought this type of exploitation film would be marketable today--especially from the director of Hell of the Living Dead (Virus). Mattei manages to completely screw up any distinctive quality found in Deodato's original. In Holocaust, the cannibals were still toothy fans of their fellow man, but were imbued with a certain measure of tact that made their actions seem like authentic, albeit brutal ritual. Bruno says screw all that here in favor of the epitome of crawl-out-from-under-a-rock savagery. So when the reporters burn, kill, and rape; it's hard to feel sympathetic towards the plight of the mud people since both sides are guilty to varying extents.

The reactions of the "civilized" camera-carrying thugs also unconvincingly lurch about. The lead newswoman is sold as being absolutely ruthless over garnering ratings at all costs, but freaks out after the men in her company rape and mutilate a tribe girl under the camera's lens. Her partner, Claudio Morales of Land of Death, is at first ardently pro-rain forest and tribe preservation before suddenly joining in on the treachery with a total 90° turn for the character. At least Cindy Jelic Matic (what the hell kinda name?!?), also of Land of Death, lets her perfectly fake boobs out for some air.

Of course, it's tough trying to decipher logic from a Mattei trash mountain, so I'm not going to abuse my brain further. Compared to the director's other post-'00 outings I've seen including Land of Death, Island of the Living Dead, and Zombies: The Beginning; Cannibal World rests at the bottom of the heap. Not by being the "worst", they all stink, but by being the most boring. There's some laughs, the level of inept reaches a transcendent realm with all of these, but it's more a chore to sit through than idiotic spectacle compared to the others. 

The easiest (and cheapest) DVD to locate is a factory pressed bootleg from Amazon's Marketplace and HKFlix. The disc is nearly an exact copy of the Japanese Fullmedia/Media Suits "Cannibal Holocaust 2" release complete with removable Japanese subtitles over an English track. The 1.78:1 widescreen transfer is anamorphic but interlaced. The Japanese menus include scene selections, a short photo gallery, and Japanese trailers for this one and Land of Death (Cannibal Holocaust 3). Interestingly, while the entire feature is dubbed, the trailers have snippets that aren't, so you hear the real "actors" speaking.


DrunkethWizerd said...

You gotta hand it to the guy though. He's still livin' that cannibal dream! Consider your review a recommendation of the film for me.

John said...

Yeah, me too. Count me in on chasing this up.

Maynard Morrissey said...

this looks so terrible, I have to see it :)

Justin E said...

This looks awesomely ridiculous, Bruno Mattei is the king of shit...definitely going to have to watch this in the near future.

Crankenstien said...

Nice work, I thought theaterofguts was the only blog that tackled this turd. Check out our tribute trailer! you dare tread upon the staircase?

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