Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Human Buffet: Jungle Holocaust

You are what they eat!  Ruggero Deodato is not a household name in America, but his name does bring up certain emotions in those who do know it.  For many people, it is disgust.  The man made Cannibal Holocaust- the next review- and killed quite a few Animals in the process.  The people that released that film- Grindhouse Releasing- even made statements saying that they don't condone his actions, but would not censor him.  Fair enough.  Before he did that, however, he made the first film in his Cannibal Trilogy- Jungle Holocaust.  While it's actually called The Last Cannibal World, it is often listed under the former title.  I'm sure that it's not a coincidence that it shares a similar name as the more famous film.  So what is World about?  It's the tale of two people who must try to survive the Jungle and all of its dangers.  It's a much simpler film than what would follow.  Does that make it worse or better?  To find out, read on...
In a DVD Exclusive, Deodato assures us that any animal footage was not shot by him, but was done by the Producers.  This is notable considering the film to follow.

The story sets up Cannibal Holocaust's themes well by focusing on how *real* this story is.  It's real- it's damn real!
Two men's plane crashes in the Jungle.  They run across some locals who are...well, not the kind of folks you want to meet in a dark Jungle.
The pair get separated and one of them ends up in the clutches of the Natives.  Unlike what would follow, these guys don't seem to have much in the way of nuance.  They make up for it with the body paint though.
The bulk of the movie that follows takes place in a Cave and features our hero being part of the group's rituals, plus being taunted by a bird.

I should note that this is a common thing in these films- i.e. Slave of the Cannibal God-, but are usually set pieces for the climax.  Here- it's most of the film.
Seriously though- that bird is a dick.  Damn bird.
Eventually, our hero manages to get away from the Cave and hook back up with his comrade.  He's brought Me Me Lai along for the ride.  She's 'that hot Jungle babe' from this film and Eaten Alive.  There's a reason why I bring this up actually...
Well, poor Me-Me dies in this film at the hands of her former comrades.  Since she also starred in Alive, her death scene was re-used verbatim in it.  You have to admire those thrifty Italians, don't you?
Things don't go well for our hero's friend, but he's not going to take death by Cannibals lying down!
In The End, he manages to escape in their plane.  I'm sure that would make for an awkward TSA Screening at home.
Every Holocaust has a beginning.  Wow, that's possibly the darkest sentence ever!  Let's dial this back a bit.  The film is pretty good, although it is a conditional recommendation.  The bulk of the film is all about one man trying to stay alive and sane amidst a group of crazy Cannibals.  These guys don't have any nuance, at least as far as we can tell.  Since the Natives never have their words translated, we can only guess what they're saying.  Maybe they are wondering what this man's feelings on the growing disparity in wealth between social classes are.  It could be that they wanted to know his thoughts on America's transformation into a politically-divided place.  As far as I can tell, they just wanted to torture the guy and see what the inside of his colon looked like.  The film is interesting since it has such a small cast of Actors.  There are really only three, maybe four, people who have major roles here.  Looking at so many films these days and their bloated casts of dozens of players, it stands out.  That said, it's a lot of stuff that would prove to be commonplace for the Genre, right or wrong.  The Trilogy doesn't start off with a bang, per se, but it does start off with these...
Next up, the most infamous ever made- besides Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.  Does it stand up to modern scrutiny and PETA?  Stay tuned...

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