Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ruggero Deodato|
|Produced by||Franco Palaggi|
|Written by||Gianfranco Clerici|
Luca Giorgio Barbareschi
|Music by||Riz Ortolani|
|Editing by||Vincenzo Tomassi|
|Distributed by||United Artists (Italy)
Grindhouse Releasing (North America)
|Running time||96 minutes (Original cut)
92 minutes (New edit)
Cannibal Holocaust is a 1980 Italian cannibal film directed by Ruggero Deodato from a screenplay by Gianfranco Clerici, starring Carl Gabriel Yorke, Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi and Luca Giorgio Barbareschi. Cannibal Holocaust was filmed in the Amazon Rainforest with real indigenous tribes interacting with American and Italian actors.
The film tells the story of a missing documentary film crew who had gone to the Amazon to film cannibal tribes. A rescue mission, led by the New York University anthropologist Harold Monroe, recovers the film crew's lost cans of film, which an American television station wishes to broadcast. Upon viewing the reels, Monroe is appalled by the team's actions, and after learning their fate, he objects to the station's intent to air the documentary.
Cannibal Holocaust is unique for its "found footage" structure, in which the gradual revelation of the recovered film's content functions similar to a flashback. The film's notion of "recovered footage" has influenced the now-popular genre of found footage horror films, such as The Blair Witch Project.
Cannibal Holocaust achieved notoriety as its graphic violence aroused a great deal of controversy. After its premiere in Italy, it was seized by a local magistrate, and Deodato was arrested on obscenity charges. He was charged with making a snuff film due to rumors that claimed some actors were killed on camera. Although Deodato was later cleared, the film was banned in Italy, Australia, and several other countries due to its disturbing portrayal of graphic brutality, sexual assault, and animal violence. Some nations have since revoked the ban, but the film is still banned in several countries. Critics have suggested that the film is a commentary about civilized versus uncivilized society.
The film opens with a television documentary about a missing film crew from the United States that disappeared on an expedition to the Amazon Basin to make a documentary about indigenous cannibal tribes. The team was Alan Yates, the director; Faye Daniels, his girlfriend, along with a script girl; and two cameramen, Jack Anders and Mark Tomaso. Harold Monroe, a New York University anthropologist, has agreed to lead a rescue team and flies to the Amazon to meet his guides, Chaco and his assistant, Miguel. The group has a hostage captured by the military from a local tribe called the Yacumo, and they use him to help negotiate with the natives. The team arranges his release in exchange for being taken to the Yacumo village. There, the team initially meets hostility and learns that the film group had caused great unrest among the people.
The next day, Monroe and his guides head deeper into the rainforest to locate two warring tribes, the Ya̧nomamö and the Shamatari. Following a group of Shamatari warriors to a riverbank, they intervene and save a smaller group of Ya̧nomamö from death in a conflict between the groups. The Ya̧nomamö invite Monroe and his team back to their village, where they are treated with suspicion. To gain the villagers' trust, Monroe bathes naked in a river. A group of Ya̧nomamö women emerge to take him to a shrine, which he learns holds the bones of the missing American filmmakers. Angry, Monroe confronts the Ya̧nomamö, during which time he plays a tape recorder for them. Intrigued, the natives agree to trade it for the first team's surviving reels of film during a cannibalistic ceremony, in which Monroe has to take part.
Back in New York, executives of the Pan American Broadcast Company invite Monroe to host a broadcast of a documentary to be made from the recovered film. Monroe wants to see the raw footage first. The executives introduce him to Yates's work by showing an excerpt from his previous documentary, The Last Road to Hell. One of the executives tells Monroe that Yates staged the scene to get more exciting footage. Monroe reviews the footage, which first follows the group's trek through the jungle. They promptly spot a large turtle, which they butcher and eat. Their guide, Felipe, is then bitten by a venomous snake. The group amputates Felipe's leg with a machete in an attempt to save his life, but he quickly dies and is left behind. The remaining four succeed in locating the Yacumo. Jack shoots one in the leg so they can easily follow him to the village. The second reel starts with the group's arrival at the Yacumo village. They force the entire tribe into a hut and burn it down in order to stage a scene for the film. Monroe expresses concerns over the staged scenes and poor treatment of the natives, but his worries are ignored.
Monroe expresses his disgust to station executives about their decision to air the documentary. To convince them of his view, he shows the remaining, unedited footage, which only he has seen. The final two reels begin with the team locating a young Ya̧nomamö girl, whom the men gang-rape as Faye tries to stop them. Later, the team films the girl impaled on a wooden pole, where they claim the natives killed her. After they move on, the Ya̧nomamö attack the team in revenge for the girl's rape and death. Jack is hit by a spear, and Alan shoots him so the team can film how the natives mutilate his corpse. As the three surviving team members try to escape the scene, Faye is captured. Alan insists they try to rescue her. Mark continues to film as she is raped and beheaded. The Ya̧nomamö immediately locate the last two team members as the footage ends with Alan's bloody face. Disturbed by what they have just seen, the executives order the footage destroyed, and as Monroe leaves the station, he declares: "I wonder who the real cannibals are?".
- Robert Kerman as Harold Monroe
- Gabriel Yorke as Alan Yates
- Francesca Ciardi as Faye Daniels
- Perry Pirkanen as Jack Anders
- Luca Giorgio Barbareschi as Mark Tomaso
- Salvatore Basile as Cacho Losojos
- Ricardo Fuentes as Felipe Ocanya
- Paolo Paolini as Chief NY executive
Production began in 1979, when Deodato was contacted by German film producers to make a film similar to Ultimo mondo cannibale, which was also directed by Deodato. He accepted the project and immediately went in search of a producer, choosing his friend Francesco Palaggi. The two first flew to Colombia to scout for filming locations. Leticia was chosen as the principal filming location after Deodato met a Colombian documentary filmmaker at the airport in Bogotá, who suggested the town as a location ideal for filming. Other locations had been considered, specifically the locations where the film Queimada (1969), directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, had been shot, but Deodato rejected these locations due to lack of suitable rainforest. Leticia was only accessible by aircraft, and from there, the cast and crew had to travel by boat to reach the set. The locale presented many problems for the production, in particular the heat and sudden rain storms, which sporadically delayed filming.
Deodato said he conceived of the film while talking to his son about news coverage of the terrorism of the Red Brigades. Deodato thought that the media focused on portraying their violence with little regard for journalistic integrity and believed that the media staged certain news angles. He said the film team in Cannibal Holocaust symbolized the Italian media.
The Italian screenwriter Gianfranco Clerici wrote the script. He had collaborated with Deodato in his previous film, Ultimo mondo cannibale, and had written other horror films. Changes from Clerici's original screenplay included certain characters' names in the American film crew. Clerici also wrote several scenes that did not make the film's final cut. One was said to show a group of Ya̧nomamö cutting off the leg of a Shamatari warrior and feeding him to piranha in the river. The underwater camera did not operate properly, and the piranha were difficult to control, so Deodato reportedly dropped the scene. Still photographs taken during the scene are its only known depiction, and as a result, the "Piranha Scene" is a popular topic amongst fans of the film.
For the film, Deodato cast many inexperienced stage actors from the Actors Studio in New York City. Luca Barbareschi and Francesca Ciardi were cast in part because they were Italian actors who also spoke English. Deodato decided to make the film in English to appeal to a wider audience and to lend the film credibility. He also needed to establish a European nationality so the film could be more easily distributed among European countries. Under Italian law, for the film to be recognized as Italian, Deodato had to have at least two native Italian-speaking actors to star in the movie.
Deodato also hired Perry Pirkanen and another actor from the Actors' Studio. The latter dropped out shortly before the production team left for the Amazon (he appears in the film as an ex-colleague of Yates). The casting director, Bill Williams, chose Carl Gabriel Yorke for the role. Yorke was chosen in part because he was the right size for the costumes and boots, which had already been purchased.
Robert Kerman had years of experience working in adult films under the pseudonym Richard Bolla, including the well-known Debbie Does Dallas. Kerman was recommended to Deodato for his previous film, The Concorde Affair, in which Kerman played an air traffic controller. Kerman went on to star in the Italian cannibal films Mangiati vivi! (Eaten Alive) and Cannibal ferox, both directed by Umberto Lenzi. Kerman's girlfriend was cast as one of the station executives, as the production needed an actress to be available in both New York City and Rome.
The film historian David Kerekes contends that the film's sense of reality is based on the direction and the treatment of the film team's recovered footage. Deodato filmed Cannibal Holocaust using the cinéma vérité technique he learned from his mentor Roberto Rossellini, a style which production designer Massimo Antonello Gelend called "hyperrealistic."
David Carter of the cult horror webzine Savage Cinema says that Deodato's methods added a first-person quality to the film team's footage, claiming, "The viewer feels as if they are there with the crew, experiencing the horrors with them." Kerekes says, the "...shaky hand-held camerawork commands a certain realism, and 'The Green Inferno,' the ill-fated team's film-within-a-film here, is no exception." He writes, "...this very instability gives the 'Green Inferno' film its authentic quality." Deodato was proud of other aspects of the cinematography, namely the numerous moving shots using a standard, shoulder-mounted camera (that is, without the use of a steadicam).
Kerekes noted the animal slaughter and inclusion of footage from The Last Road to Hell as adding to the sense of reality of the film. Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment compares these scenes to Vsevolod Pudovkin's theory of montage, saying, "In Cannibal Holocaust, we see the actors kill and rip apart a giant sea turtle and other animals. The brain has been conditioned to accept that which it's now seeing as real. This mixture of real and staged violence, combined with the handheld camerawork and the rough, unedited quality of the second half of the movie, is certainly enough to convince someone that what they are watching is real." Deodato says he included the execution footage in The Last Road to Hell to draw similarities between Cannibal Holocaust and the Mondo filmmaking of Gualtiero Jacopetti.
Principal photography began on 4 June 1979, but it was delayed shortly while awaiting the arrival of Yorke. The scenes featuring the film team were shot first with handheld 16mm cameras in a cinéma vérité style that mimicked an observational documentary. After shooting with the film team was completed, Kerman flew down to film his scenes in the rainforest and then to New York to film exterior shots in the city. The interior shots of New York were later filmed in a studio in Rome. Production on the film was delayed numerous times while filming in the Amazon. After the original actor to play Alan Yates dropped out, filming was halted for two weeks as new casting calls began, and the crew awaited the arrival of Yorke from New York City. During principal filming with Kerman, the father of the actor who played Miguel was murdered, and production was again halted as the actor flew back to Bogotá to attend his father's funeral.
Tensions on the set were high, due in part to the location and to the content of the film itself. Yorke describes the set as having "a level of cruelty unknown to me," while Kerman described Deodato as remorseless and uncaring (he and Deodato got into long, drawn-out arguments every day of shooting, usually because of remarks made by Deodato). One particular aspect that led to disagreement amongst the crew was the genuine killing of animals. Kerman stormed off the set while the death of the coatimundi was filmed, and Yorke refused to participate in the killing of the pig (which he was originally scripted to execute), leaving the duty to Luca Barbareschi. The squeal of the pig when it was shot even caused him to botch a long monologue, and retakes were not an option because they had no access to additional pigs. Perry Pirkanen also cried after filming the "Turtle Scene". Other cast members who objected to the film's content include actress Francesca Ciardi, who did not want to bare her breasts during the sex scene between her and Carl Yorke. When she refused to comply with Deodato's direction, he dragged her off the set and screamed at her in Italian. She had earlier suggested that she and Yorke actually have sex in the jungle before filming, in order to relieve the tension of the upcoming scene. When Yorke declined, she grew upset with him, alienating him for the rest of the shoot.
These tensions were further heightened by unscrupulous payment practices. Yorke's first payment for the film came in the form of Colombian pesos and was less than what had been agreed upon. Yorke refused to continue shooting until he was paid fairly in United States dollars. The native extras also went unpaid for their work despite their involvement in numerous dangerous scenes, including a scene in which they were forced to stay inside a burning hut for a prolonged period of time. Robert Kerman has also noted unfair treatment of the natives by Deodato, stating, "He was a sadist. He was particularly sadistic to people that couldn't answer back, people that were Colombian, [and] people that were Italian but could be sent home".
Cannibal Holocaust premiered on 7 February 1980 in the Italian city of Milan. Although the courts confiscated the film based on a citizen's complaint, the initial audience reaction was positive. After seeing the film, director Sergio Leone wrote a letter to Deodato, which stated [translated], "Dear Ruggero, what a movie! The second part is a masterpiece of cinematographic realism, but everything seems so real that I think you will get in trouble with all the world." In the ten days before it was seized, the film had grossed approximately $2 million.
Critical response 
Critics remain split on their stances of Cannibal Holocaust. Supporters of the film cite it as a serious and well-made social commentary on the modern world. Tim Brayton says the film is "...basically perfect: it achieves its goals in virtually every respect. Deodato made a movie whose purpose is to make me feel awful, and I do". Sean Axmaker praised the structure and set-up of the film, saying, "It's a weird movie with an awkward narrative, which Deodato makes all the more effective with his grimy sheen of documentary realism, while Riz Ortolani's unsettlingly lovely, elegiac score provides a weird undercurrent." Jason Buchanan of Allmovie said, "...while it's hard to defend the director for some of the truly repugnant images with which he has chosen to convey his message, there is indeed an underlying point to the film, if one is able to look beyond the sometimes unwatchable images that assault the viewer."
Detractors, however, criticize the acting, the over-the-top gore, and the genuine animal slayings and point to an alleged hypocrisy that the film presents. Nick Schager criticized the brutality of the film, saying, "As clearly elucidated by its shocking gruesomeness—as well as its unabashedly racist portrait of indigenous folks it purports to sympathize with—the actual savages involved with Cannibal Holocaust are the ones behind the camera." Schager's racism argument is supported by the fact that the real indigenous peoples in Brazil whose names were used in the film—the Yanomamo and Shamatari—are not fierce enemies as portrayed in the movie, nor is either tribe truly cannibalistic (although the Yanomamo do partake in a form of post-mortem ritual cannibalism).
Robert Firsching of Allmovie made similar criticisms of the film's content, saying, "While the film is undoubtedly gruesome enough to satisfy fans, its mixture of nauseating mondo animal slaughter, repulsive sexual violence, and pie-faced attempts at socially conscious moralizing make it rather distasteful morally as well." Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson said it is "...artful enough to demand serious critical consideration, yet foul enough to christen you a pervert for even bothering." Cannibal Holocaust currently holds a 60% "Fresh" rating on the film review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 5/10.
In recent years, Cannibal Holocaust has received accolades in various publications, as well as cult following. The British film magazine Total Film ranked Cannibal Holocaust as the tenth greatest horror film of all time, and the film was included in a similar list of the top 25 horror films compiled by Wired. The film also came in eighth on IGN's list of the ten greatest Grindhouse films.
Cannibal Holocaust is seen by some as social commentary on various aspects of modern civilization by comparing Western society to that of the cannibals. David Carter says "Cannibal Holocaust is not merely focused on the societal taboo of flesh eating. The greater theme of the film is the difference between the civilized and the uncivilized. Though the graphic violence can be hard for most to stomach, the most disturbing aspect of the film is what Deodato is saying about modern society. The film asks the questions 'What is it to be 'civilized'?' and 'Is it a good thing?'" Mark Goodall, author of Sweet & Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens, also contends the film's message is "...the rape of the natural world by the unnatural; the exploitation of 'primitive' cultures for western entertainment."
Deodato's intentions regarding the Italian media coverage of the Red Brigades have also fallen under critical examination and has been expanded to include all sensationalism. Carter explores this, claiming that "[The lack of journalistic integrity] is shown through the interaction between Professor Monroe and the news agency that had backed the documentary crew. They continually push Monroe to finish editing the footage because blood and guts equal ratings." Director Lloyd Kaufman claims that this form of exploitative journalism can still be seen in the media today and in programming such as reality television.
Despite these interpretations, Deodato has said in interviews that he had no intentions in Cannibal Holocaust but to make a film about cannibals. Actor Luca Barbareschi asserts this as well and believes that Deodato only uses his films to "put on a show". Robert Kerman contradicts these assertions, however, stating that Deodato did tell him of political concerns involving the media in the making of this film.
These interpretations have also been criticized as hypocritical and poor justification for the film's content, as Cannibal Holocaust itself is highly sensationalized. Firsching claims that "The fact that the film's sole spokesperson for the anti-exploitation perspective is played by porno star [Robert Kerman] should give an indication of where its sympathies lie", while Schager says Deodato is "pathetically justifying the unrepentant carnage by posthumously damning his eaten filmmaker protagonists with a 'who are the real monsters – the cannibals or us?' anti-imperialism morale".
Since its original release, Cannibal Holocaust has been the target of censorship by moral and animal activists. Other than graphic gore, the film contains several scenes of sexual violence and genuine cruelty to animals, issues which find Cannibal Holocaust in the midst of controversy to this day. Due to this notoriety, Cannibal Holocaust has been marketed as having been banned in over 50 countries. In 2006, Entertainment Weekly magazine named Cannibal Holocaust as the 20th most controversial film of all-time.
Snuff film allegations 
The original controversy that surrounded the film's release was the belief that Cannibal Holocaust was an actual snuff film, or that the actors were murdered in order to film their deaths for the movie; these allegations were originally suggested in January 1981 in an article by the French magazine Photo. The film was confiscated ten days after its premiere in Milan, and Deodato was arrested. Although he was originally charged with obscenity, the charges were amended to include murder, as the courts not only believed that the four actors portraying the missing film crew were killed for the camera, but that the actress in the impalement scene was actually skewered in such a manner. To make matters worse for Deodato, the actors had signed contracts with him and the producers ensuring that they would not appear in any type of media, motion pictures, or commercials for one year after the film's release in order to promote the idea that the film was truly the recovered footage of missing documentarians. Thus, when Deodato claimed that he had not killed the group, questions arose as to why the actors were in no other media if they were alive.
Eventually, Deodato was able to prove that the violence was staged. He contacted Luca Barbareschi and told him to gather the other three actors. After he voided the contracts in order to avoid life in prison, Deodato brought the foursome onto the set of an Italian television show, which satisfied the courts. He still had to prove, however, that the impalement scene was merely a special effect. In court, he explained how the effect was achieved: a bicycle seat was attached to the end of an iron pole, upon which the actress sat. She then held a short length of balsa wood in her mouth and looked skyward, thus giving the appearance of impalement. Deodato also provided pictures of the girl interacting with the crew after the scene had been filmed. After they were presented with this evidence, the courts dropped all murder charges against Deodato.
Although Deodato was exonerated for murder, the courts decided to ban Cannibal Holocaust because of the genuine animal slayings, citing animal cruelty laws. Due to this ruling, Deodato, the producers, screenwriter, and the United Artists representative each received a four-month suspended sentence after they were convicted of obscenity and violence. Deodato fought in the courts for three additional years to get his film un-banned. In 1984, the courts ruled in favor of Deodato, and Cannibal Holocaust was granted a rating certificate of VM18 for a cut print. It would later be re-released uncut.
International censorship 
Cannibal Holocaust also faced censorship issues in countries around the world. In 1981, video releases were not required to pass before the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for certification in the UK. Cannibal Holocaust was released straight-to-video there, thus circumventing the possible banning of the film. In 1983, the Department of Public Prosecutions compiled a list of 72 video releases that were not brought before the BBFC for certification and declared them prosecutable for obscenity. This list of "video nasties" included Cannibal Holocaust, which was successfully prosecuted and banned. The film was also banned in Australia, Norway, Finland, New Zealand and several other countries in 1984. In 2005, the Office of Film and Literature Classification in Australia revoked the ban, passing Cannibal Holocaust with an R18+ rating (with the consumer advice "High level sexual violence, high level violence, animal cruelty") for the uncut print. In 2006, the film was banned in its entirety by the OFLC in New Zealand. Cuts to retain an R18 classification were offered by the Office, but they were eventually refused. In 2011, after numerous versions with extensive mandated cuts had been released in years prior, the BBFC waived all but one of their previous edits, passing Cannibal Holocaust with 15 seconds of cuts. It was determined that the only scene that breached the BBFC's guidelines was the killing of a coatimundi, and the BBFC acknowledged that previous cuts were reactionary to the film's reputation. The film is still forbidden in other countries. For example, The Film Censorship Board of Malaysia banned the film outright in Malaysia due to "Extremely high impact violence and offensive depictions of cruelty" and is still banned. The film was later rejected in Singapore due to "very high impact violence and offensive depictions of animal cruelty that may cause controversy in Singapore". In 1992, The film was banned outright in Iceland due to "very high impact violence and offensive depictions of both human and animal cruelty". As of 2012, the film is still banned in Malaysia, Singapore, Iceland, Germany, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Iran and New Zealand.
Animal cruelty 
Many of the censorship issues with Cannibal Holocaust concern the on-screen killings of animals, which remains a major issue today. Deodato himself has condemned his past actions, saying "I was stupid to introduce animals." Seven animals were killed during the film's production, six of which are seen on screen:
- A coatimundi (mistaken as a muskrat in the film) is killed with a knife.
- A large turtle is captured in the water and dragged to shore, where it is then decapitated and its limbs, shell, and entrails are removed. The actors proceed to cook and eat the turtle.
- A large spider is killed with a machete.
- A snake is killed with a machete.
- A squirrel monkey has the top of its skull chopped off with a machete.
- A pig is kicked twice and then shot in the head with a shotgun at close range.
Film historian Andrew DeVos has argued that the animal deaths have been harshly condemned because of the film's classification as exploitation, whereas animal mutilations in movies perceived by critics to be classics or art films are often ignored. DeVos cites several examples of this double standard, including Rules of the Game, El Topo, and Apocalypse Now.
^ While in the movie it appears that only six animals are killed, the scene depicting the monkey's death was shot twice, resulting in the death of two monkeys. Both of the animals were eaten by indigenous cast members (who consider monkey brains a delicacy).
Film influence 
Deodato drew influence from the works of Paolo Cavara, Gualtiero Jacopetti, and Franco Prosperi, documentary filmmakers of whom Deodato was a fan. Prosperi and Jacopetti produced several Mondo films, which are documentaries similar to the one made in Cannibal Holocaust. These documentaries focused on sensationalistic and graphic content from around the world, including bizarre local customs, death, and general cruelty. Deodato followed suit in ways of similar content, such as graphic violence and animal slayings. Although fictional, Deodato created a similar exposé of worldly violence, such as Cavara's, Prosperi's and Jacopetti's Mondo cane.
Certain scenes in Cannibal Holocaust have been noted as being similar to scenes in Antonio Climati's Mondo film Savana violenta, specifically the scene in which Monroe bathes naked in the river and the scene of the forced abortion rite. The cinéma vérité style used heavily in Cannibal Holocaust also was used before in Climati's first Mondo film, Ultime grida dalla savana, in a scene where a tourist is attacked and killed by a pride of lions. Another scene, in which a native man is captured, tortured, and murdered by mercenaries in South America, uses a similar filming style, and both scenes may have been influential on Deodato's direction. Mark Goodall, author of Sweet & Savage: The World Through the Documentary Film Lens, and David Slater and David Kerekes, authors of Killing for Culture: An Illustrated History of Death Film from Mondo to Snuff, have also suggested that Deodato was attempting to comment on the documentary works of Climati with his film.
Cannibal Holocaust was innovative in its plot structure, specifically with the concept of the "found footage" being brought back to civilization and later viewed to determine the fate of the crew that shot it. Later films, such as The Last Broadcast and The Blair Witch Project, use similar devices. Each film uses the idea of a lost film team making a documentary in the wilderness, and their footage returned. Advertisements for The Blair Witch Project also promoted the idea that the footage is genuine. Deodato has acknowledged the similarities between his film and The Blair Witch Project, and though he holds no malice against the producers, he is frustrated at the publicity that The Blair Witch Project received for being an original production. The producers of The Last Broadcast have denied that Cannibal Holocaust was a major influence.
Cannibal Holocaust bears similarities to other cannibal films made during the same time period, notably Cannibal ferox, which also stars Robert Kerman and Perry Pirkanen. Although Cannibal ferox director Umberto Lenzi has not acknowledged any influence, star Giovanni Lombardo Radice says Cannibal ferox was made based on the success of Cannibal Holocaust. Cannibal Holocaust also spawned numerous and similar unofficial sequels, some with scenes mirrored from the original.
|Cannibal Holocaust – Original Soundtrack by Riz Ortolani|
The cover of the rare soundtrack release of Cannibal Holocaust by Lucertola Media.
|Soundtrack album by Riz Ortolani|
The film's soundtrack was composed entirely by Italian composer Riz Ortolani, whom Deodato specifically requested because of Ortolani's work in Mondo Cane, particularly the film's main theme, "Ti guarderò nel cuore" (also known as "More"). The music itself is a variety of styles, from a gentle melody in the "Main Theme", to a sad and flowing score in "Crucified Woman", and faster and more upbeat tracks in "Cameraman's Recreation", "Relaxing in the Savannah", and "Drinking Coco". The instrumentals are equally mixed, ranging from full orchestras to electronics and synthesizers. The original soundtrack release was a limited release of 1,000 copies in Germany in 1995, on the Lucertola Media label. In August 2005, the soundtrack was released again, this time in the United States, on the Coffin Records label.
|Cannibal Holocaust – Original Soundtrack by Riz Ortolani|
|1.||"Cannibal Holocaust (Main Theme)"||2:57|
|4.||"Massacre of the Troupe"||3:53|
|5.||"Love with Fun"||2:55|
|7.||"Relaxing in the Savannah"||3:06|
|10.||"Cannibal Holocaust (End Theme)"||3:54|
The main theme to Cannibal Holocaust that plays over the opening credits is a gentler and more flowing piece of music compared to the harsher synthesizer scores used in most of the film.
|Problems listening to this file? See media help.|
Alternate versions and sequels 
Due to its graphic content, there are several different versions of Cannibal Holocaust in circulation which are edited to certain degrees. Other versions also contain alternate footage that does not depict nudity, shot specifically for Middle Eastern markets. Many uncut releases also differ in content as there are multiple versions of the "Last Road to Hell" segment of the film, which includes footage of genuine political executions from Nigeria and South East Asia. An extended version of "The Last Road to Hell" includes approximately ten seconds of footage not seen in an alternate, shorter version. This additional footage includes a wide-angle shot of firing-squad executions, a close-up of a dead victim, and extended footage of bodies being carried into the back of a truck. The longer version also includes different titles that correctly name the film team as they appear in the final film, while the shorter version gives the names of the film team that originally appear in the script.
The longer version of "The Last Road to Hell" is no longer found in the film's negatives, but it was included in the original Dutch Ultrabit DVD release by EC Entertainment in 1999. This digital version has since been re-released and licensed for other various DVD releases in Europe. The Grindhouse Releasing DVD release in the United States and the Siren Visual release in Australia have the shorter version of "The Last Road to Hell" within the feature film but include the extended version in the special features on the first disc.
Although no official sequel has been released, several films have adopted the moniker Cannibal Holocaust II as to be associated with Cannibal Holocaust's notoriety. These films were originally released under different titles that were then changed for various releases, although none have been directed by or associated with Deodato. The first of said films came in 1985 with Mario Gariazzo's Schiave bianche: violenza in Amazzonia. Known in English as Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story, it has also been released on European DVD as Cannibal Holocaust 2: The Catherine Miles Story. In 1988, Mondo film director Antonio Climati made his film Natura contro, which was released as Cannibal Holocaust II in Thailand and the UK. Italian director Bruno Mattei also made two straight-to-video films back to back in 2003, which have been released as Cannibal Holocaust sequels in Japan.
In 2005, Deodato officially announced that he planned to make a companion piece to Cannibal Holocaust entitled Cannibals. Deodato was originally hesitant about directing his new film, as he thought that he would make it too violent for American audiences. While in Prague filming his cameo appearance in Hostel: Part II, however, Deodato viewed the first Hostel film and decided that he would direct after all, citing Hostel as a similarly violent film that made a mainstream release in America. Although the screenplay, written by Christine Conradt, was completed, a financial conflict between Deodato and the film's producer led to the project's cancellation.
- "CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST - RUGGERO DEODATO'S NEW EDIT (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 2011-08-01. Retrieved 2012-12-31.
- Ruggero Deodato (interviewee) (2003). In the Jungle: The Making of Cannibal Holocaust (Documentary). Italy: Alan Young Pictures.
- Cinema Inferno: Celluloid Explosions From The Cultural Margins Robert G. Weiner, John Cline (Editors), (Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2010). ISBN 978-0-8108-7656-9
- Carter, David. "Savage Cinema". Savage Cinema. Retrieved 2006-09-06.
- Bitel, Anton. "Cannibal Holocaust DVD Review". The Church of London. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
- Goodall, Mark (2006). Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens. London, UK: Headpress. ISBN 1-900486-49-0.
- Gelend, Antonio (interviewee) (2003). In the Jungle: The Making of Cannibal Holocaust (Documentary). Italy: Alan Young Pictures.
- Yorke, Carl Gabriel (2005-05-12). Alan Yates Uncovered. Interview with Sage Stallone. Cannibal Holocaust DVD Extras. Palo Alto, California.
- D'Offizi, Sergio (interviewee) (2003). In the Jungle: The Making of Cannibal Holocaust (Documentary). Italy: Alan Young Pictures.
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