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Cannibal Holocaust

What "The Blair Witch Project" ripped off...or at least, tried to.



I just had to write this review on director Ruggero Deodato’s cult classic that was the direct inspiration for The Blair Witch Project.  Those of you who think The Blair Witch was original haven’t seen Cannibal Holocaust, which proves once again how inferior American imitation films are to their Italian counterparts.


I must confess that upon first viewing of this film, I was very put off and repulsed.  I could not see the artistic genius this film conveyed through its violent imagery.  But after viewing Blair Witch and then reading the many online reviews comparing the two films, I decided to go back and watch Cannibal Holocaust again from a different perspective.  During the second viewing I must have captured something, either that or The Blair Witch is just soooooo bad it makes garbage like Cannibal Holocaust seem like Acapulco gold.


Anyway, cutting to the chase, an award winning documentary crew, three guys and a gal, take off to the jungles of South America to make a documentary on a tribe of native cannibals.  They disappear without a trace, so a rescue team is sent in to find out what happened.  They find the skeletal remains of the original expedition, along with undeveloped cans of film reels.  Taking the film reels back to New York, it is developed and screened by a group of anthropologists to determine what happened to these folks during their expedition.


If this doesn’t sound like The Blair Witch Project to you, then evidently you haven’t seen The Blair Witch, or weren’t paying much attention.  In any case, both are about a documentary film crew braving the wilds and disappearing.  Both feature relatives of the victims being interviewed by a news team, and both wind up with the primary plot being the recently discovered “lost film reels” that will give an insight into what really happened.


The only real difference between the two films is Ruggero Deodato slick use of camera work, excellent synthesized score mixed with orchestra by Riz Ortolani, and extremely disturbing scenes of animal mutilation and graphic violence, all of which The Blair Witch lacked.


Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Director: Ruggero Deodato. 

Cast: Robert Kerman; Luca Barbareschi; Francesca Ciardi, and Salvatore Basile.


©Humberto Amador

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