Tag Archives: movie

Cannibal Holocaust – A Dissection…

MV5BN2YyNWI1ZjAtZjZmOC00MDU4LWE0ODktYmMyZmMzZGExZWE4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_UY268_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Pun intended.

My university dissertation was about censorship in cinema, and the ways in which the law has imposed itself on what we are allowed to see on screen. It’s a shame I don’t have a copy of it because I think it was pretty good.

But one movie I didn’t mention in all of those ten thousand words is Cannibal Holocaust – partly because I had never seen it, and finding a clean copy of such a notorious movie at the turn of the millennium (when I still had dial-up internet, and there were certainly no streaming platforms) would have proven difficult. Having just watched it, it’s hard to know where to begin.

I’m generally not squeamish when it comes to movies. I have my limits, of course, just like everyone else, but I can usually hold it together. Cannibal Holocaust is as close as I have come to shutting a movie off and walking away.

It is really a movie of two halves. The first half shows a team of academics who go into the Amazonian jungle to discover the whereabouts of a group of young and reckless documentarians who had decided to get up close and personal with a tribe of cannibals, and the second half shows the footage the missing kids had filmed before they were slain.

The idea of the movie, and the way it is put together, is actually not too bad. It’s probably the first genuine example of the found footage sub-genre that The Blair Witch Project popularised two decades later… so even if you are fine with the horror of some of the scenes here (and I’m not sure why you would be), at the very least, you should probably throw blame in its direction for that little contribution to cinema.

There is a lot here to be upset about – scenes of rape, torture, forced abortion, along with scenes of genuine animal cruelty that are difficult to watch, and if that isn’t enough the final ten minutes are extremely grim.

And of course, there’s the cannibalism.

A lot of these graphic scenes are juxtaposed with some oddly upbeat music – the kind of sounds you would expect to see in a lighthearted seventies romp – lulling viewers into a false sense of security…

… and then someone’s foot is hacked off with a machete.

There’s undoubtedly a deeper message underneath all the blood and gore, but you’ve got to wade through a lot of entrails to get there.


Potted Film Review: Friday the 13th (1980)…

Starring: Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer, Kevin Bacon

In the slasher horror genre, the Friday the 13th series is about as seminal as it gets, and many of those that you can see today owe a debt to the ninety minutes on display here.

There are countless better horror movies out there – ones that have more creative kills; ones that are more professionally made; ones with a tighter script and finer acting – but this little gem is worth seeing just for the history.

There’s not too much that’s good here, and nothing I would say that’s great, but if you’re interested in the genre at all this movie is required reading.

Recommended (just)

Potted Film Review: Lady Bird (2017)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Lucas Hedges, Laurie Metcalfe, Tracy Letts

What’s it all about?
Lady Bird is a teenage girl who attends a Catholic school, but does not appear to have any strong religious beliefs. Like a lot of teenagers, she is trying to find herself. She has given herself the name ‘Lady Bird’ in order to assert her individuality, but it never really has any kind of pay off, other than as an example of her quirky personality.

She meets a boy at drama class and falls for him, but when he betrays her, she breaks off the relationship. She then meets another boy, but Lady Bird ends it when she discovers he has lied about his virginity (or lack thereof).

Ultimately, Lady Bird (superficially, at least) plays out a little like Juno, but at a slower pace and with less of the humour, and it turns out not to be about her blossoming sexuality at all. Instead, it is about the fractious relationship Lady Bird has with her mother, and how they eventually come together – not in an obvious or saccharine way, but through the subtlety of good performances and a solid script.

Watching it with the kids…
There’s a fair amount of bad language in here, including usage of the dreaded C-bomb, so stay away if that word scares you. There’s no naked skin to be seen, except for on the pages of a magazine, and there’s no violence either.

Lady Bird never really goes anywhere, which is not to say that it is a bad movie, just that it’s not a very exciting one. I can’t work up too much enthusiasm for it, but then again, such an emphatic reaction would be contrary to what this movie has presented over the last hour and a half anyway. It’s not going to get your blood pumping, but it is a well written and competently acted slice of drama. I think you really have to be in the right mood to watch and appreciate it, and perhaps when I sat down in front of the TV, I just wasn’t. Having said that, I still recognise what it brings to the table, so with that in mind…

Recommended (slightly) ↑