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Real Cannibal Holocaust, The

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    Ian Jane
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  • Real Cannibal Holocaust, The



    Released by: One 7 Movies
    Released on: 3/8/2011
    Director: Akira Ide
    Cast: Queen Elizabeth II, Cannibals
    Year: 1975
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    The mysteriously titled The Real Cannibal Holocaust is actually the 1975 Japanese/Italian co-production Nuova Guinea, L'isola Dei Cannibali, also known as Guinea Ama (the title to which it is referred to in the indispensible book Killing For Culture and which it seems to be more commonly known). Apparently it was released on tape in Germany as Gesichter des Sterbens (Faces Of Death?) in an 82 minute version by Silver Star Video - this NTSC DVD runs just under an hour and forty minutes indicating that version was cut. Judging by the footage in this release and the fact that it has Italian narration and not German narration, this appears to be a full strength Italian version of the movie.

    Directed by Akira Ide, who doesn't seem to have any other directorial credits to his name, it hits pretty much all of the staples of the genre - condescending and racist narration, animal violence, naked natives, bizarre sexual practices, corpses, and music from Riz Ortolani!

    The film places us deep in the heart of Papua, New Guinea, and with the country now basically under Australian rule we kick things off with a visit from none other than her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II who pops up and waves at some natives, none of whom seem particularly impressed with her. The narrator tells us that since she's not wearing feathers and animal bones that they don't see what the big deal is. From here we learn about the different tribes that call this country home, many of whom live deep in the thick of the jungle and still adhere to ancient tribal customs. This sets up the next hour and a half, where our condescending narrator guides us on a tour of various bizarre rituals and practices.

    Some of the more bizarre and shocking vignettes we're treated to involve footage of a woman supposedly eating the flesh of a dead relative covered in maggots and basically rotting inside her hut, various ways in which men protect their members by using hollowed out pumpkins and dead bats, and a fertility dance in which the men put on their finest facepaint and feathers and dance to attract a female. At one point we're told a man has been accused of cannibalism and we see a white police officer lead a group of natives through the jungle to a hut where they capture him after avoiding what appear to be blow darts coming from the hut.

    Later we watch some tribesmen kill a half dozen boars of various sizes, all of whom squeal in pain as they're turned into the main course at a wedding feast - the narrator tells us that the filmmakers were told that boar meat is tough and chewy and can't compare to human meat. We see a young woman get her face tattooed, the camera lingering on her breasts as often as on her face, and we see men get their noses pierced for ornamentation purposes and their backs scarred to make them more closely resemble alligators. We tour two cemeteries, both full of decomposing corpses and human skeletons, and we see a woman cover herself in the juices left behind by the rotting corpse of a dead relative. We also see a corpse prepared for burial by being smoked sitting in a sort of hammock above an open fire.

    Even more unusual are the clips involving gay tribesmen. We're told that since women are so much tastier than men that they tend to be eaten more which results in a much smaller female population, roughly two women for every ten men. This results in a lot of homosexual couplings in the various tribes, who we're told also see male ejaculatory fluids as the power of life and in turn something to be ingested. This gives way to bizarre footage of slightly effeminate men in tribal wear holding hands and skipping through the jungle and then later getting it on in the thick of the woods. The camera also captures a heterosexual couple going at it in the brush, swatting mosquitoes off of the lucky ladies breasts as they go about doing the deed.

    The whole thing culminates in what we're told is a war between the tribes instigated when a show being put on for American female tourists goes wrong. Before Riz Ortolani's 'Why?' plays over the end credits we are privy to footage of a bunch of tribesmen attacking one another and running around really quickly, but not much else seems to happen.

    It's a bit slow in spots and hardly the best example of how intriguing a well made mondo movie can be, but the film definitely delivers all the leering camerawork and sensationalist narration you could want. While it hardly exposes the real cannibalism the narrator implies, it does a good job of building it up. Those sensitive to animal violence won't be too happy to see the boars killed, to see a snake and a lizard cooked or to see a bat skinned, and more sensitive viewers will probably be put off by the corpse footage (there's a lot) and the piercing and tattoo scenes - none of which appear to be faked.

    Interestingly enough, Bruno Mattei seems to have been given carte blanche to recycle this film, as footage from it appears not only in his own mondo movie, Libidomania, but also in Hell Of The Living Dead. The guy really milked it for all it was worth.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The film is presented in 1.33.1 fullframe, which appears to be the right aspect ratio for the film, in a transfer taken from film elements that have seen better days. Color fading is present throughout and there is all manner or print damage visible from start to finish, showing everything from cigarette burns to vertical scratches to pretty much any sort of blemish you can imagine. It doesn't appear any restorative work was done here at all. With that said, there are no compression issues to complain about - just know what you're getting into with this one, the print used for the transfer was not in very good shape (though the flip side of that coin is how many prints are still around for this movie?).

    The Italian language Dolby Digital Mono sound mix on this disc, which comes with optional English subtitles, is well balanced enough but does contain some random bits of hiss and some crackling now and again which appear to be source related. The score sounds decent and the narration is clear enough that you can follow it, though there are a few unfortunate typos in the subs that some might find a bit annoying.

    There are no extra features, just a static menu and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Mondo movie junkies will probably want to check this one out, just because it's a fairly obscure entry in the cannon and a fairly interesting one at that. Some nice cinematography showcases bizarre tribal rites with absolutely no regard to political correctness, and as messed up and gleefully exploitative as it all is, well, that's just part and parcel with these films. One 7 Movie's DVD is barebones and it looks like it's been through Hell and back, but the movie is available for those who want it - recommended, with a fair bit of obvious hesitation.











    • Mike T
      #1
      Mike T commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Ian "I don't use a spellchecker" Jane
      ...we watch some tribesmen kill a half dozen bores...
      Crashing bores? Or just your regular garden variety bores? Did the tribesmen kill them because they were bores? Or just because they had nothing to do and were bored? Hehehe...

    • Horace Cordier
      #2
      Horace Cordier
      Senior Member
      Horace Cordier commented
      Editing a comment
      This one looks interesting - I'm a sucker for Mondo.
      Horace Cordier
      Senior Member
      Last edited by Horace Cordier; 04-25-2011, 05:56 PM.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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