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April 28, 2011

Movie Review: The Real Cannibal Holocaust (1976, One 7 Movies)

Shockumentaries and Mondo films are easily one the most maligned genres around for obvious reasons. It's almost to be expected considering the content usually fills the running time of films like Africa Ama, Mondo Dulce Y Cruel, Brutes and Savages or any of the films contained on Blue Underground's popular Mondo Collection. I may hang my head a little in saying this, but, I'm a fan these sensationalistic, offensive and often disgusting films. Unfortunately the pickens for mondo fans on DVD and Blu-ray have been slim over the past few years. One 7 Movies, however, have just released Akira Ide's Real Cannibal Holocaust (Originally titled Nuova Guinea, Isola dei Cannibali).

Buy The Real Cannibal Holocaust on DVD

Green Inferno, this is not. Instead of Amazonian natives we're given a rare look into cannibal tribes in Papua, New Guinea. I can handle that. Cannibalism is cannibalism. In one of the more bizarre openings in any shockumentary, viewers are a treated to a young, spry Queen Elizabeth visiting the impoverished nation. That doesn't go on too long before this bad boy exposes us to some down and dirty with cannibal antics.

The pygmies of the Kuku-Kuku tribe are one of the main focuses during the documentary. After some natives doing tribal dances in the buff the scene shifts abruptly to the different forms of cannibalism the tribes partake in: Consumption of an enemy or a family member. Both have very different meanings of course. One older female Indian is seen nibbling away at the horribly rotted carcass of her dead husband. This, goes on for days as she never leaves the hut. A bloated corpse is carried around by natives after being "smoked". Flies litter the space around the body so natives are employed to be fly-swatters.

As you may expect there's a lot of nudity and no it’s not very titillating either The sexual practices of the Kuku-Kuku are shown. I found it interesting that for every couple of women there are ten men. This leads to a rendezvous in the jungle with two flirtatious male natives screwing against a tree. Homophobes may want to fast forward. None of the sex scenes or nudity throughout the feature is entirely graphic. This almost a rougher National Geographic documentary. Still it’s every bit mondo.

One area of the mondo film that I've never been a fan of is the animal killing or cruelty. The Real Cannibal Holocaust isn't the worst I've seen but it certainly doesn't shy away from those exploitive elements. There's a scene in particular involving some piglets getting clunked on the head, one after another and than eaten. Don't get me wrong I love eating pork but watching these adorable little guys get clobbered wasn't pretty.

The quality of the video is ok. It's lost some of its color and contains quite a bit of the green emulsion scratches. I'm very happy to see that it is from original film elements. No tape master here. Sound is passable as well - with the occasional cracks and pops you’re likely to see on a print that's been played plenty of times (or just not stored in the best conditions). Subtitles are included in English (It’s in Italian) and are perfectly visible. Extras wise, this one’s barebones.

If you're expecting this film to be anything like Cannibal Holocaust or other films from the Italian cannibal cycle (Cannibal Ferox, Eaten Alive and Jungle Holocaust), it just isn't comparable but if you're in need of a solid Mondo film - Real Cannibal Holocaust is a nice release from One 7 that's sure to please connesuirs of flesh-eaters.

(All screencaps for The Real Cannibal Holocaust were provided by the website Rock! Shock! Pop! If you want to check out their cool site go here:

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