We welcome Goat Scrote to Italian Horror Week one of our Theater of Guts folk. These guys write some down and dirty amazing. For example, Goat Scrote has turned Jungle Holocaust into a potential college course of intrigue. Let's watch.
Dir: Ruggero Deodato
"Jungle Holocaust" was a blind VHS rental many years ago and I imagined it would be something like H.G. Lewis directing an episode of Gilligan's Island. That turned out to be way off the mark. This gross, lewd, disgusting, and shocking film was the first cannibal movie that I ever saw, so I have a lingering fondness for it. Since then I've seen all the "classics" of the genre and quite a few that weren't so classic. I still think this is one of the best entries. It takes bravely perverted souls to show a woman giving birth by a river, biting through the umbilical cord, and then discarding the baby into the water for the crocodiles to eat. By the time the movie has gotten to this point, it just seems like a waste of good food. There are other movies that are bloodier and even more appallingly morally offensive, but I enjoy this one a great deal. It's certainly got a lot more full-frontal nudity and explicit sex than your typical horror flick, but every bent or broken taboo just makes the society of the cannibals seem more alien and hostile.
The main character, Robert (Massimo Foschi), endures hideous physical, psychological, and sexual torment as the prisoner of the brutal tribe and most of his friends get eaten. So that part of the story can't possibly be real, right? A stone-age tribe living in the middle of the modern Phillipines? Well, yes and no. Mostly no. The movie actually is inspired by the story of the discovery of the Tasaday tribe in 1971, but that may itself be a hoax. The real Tasaday -- if "real" is even the correct word here -- live a peaceful foraging lifestyle, not the savage nonstop orgy of sadism, rape, murder, cannibalism, and bungee-jumping depicted here.
Anyway, three guys and a gal fly into the jungle in a little plane. I'm sure they have a good reason but their purpose quickly becomes irrelevant. The first sign of trouble is the charter plane pilot, Charlie (Sheik Razak Shikur), who plays a drinking game to pass the time. Every time he looks out the window and sees something green, he takes a swig of liquor. The plane takes some damage on landing, but considering how drunk he must be by now it's a virtual miracle that he didn't wrap it around a tree.
That's why I love these films, they teach important life lessons, such as "don't explore strange noises", "listen to creepy old people who bear sinister warnings", and "it's better to poop in a bucket on a plane in front of an audience than it is to be raped, murdered, cooked, and eaten... not necessarily in that order". Damn the stench, I want to live!
Since Charlie is dead and it looks like Swan's goose is already cooked, the two survivors decide to play Huck Finn and build a raft to get away downriver. The raft is wrecked, Ralf is swept away, and Robert finds himself alone in the territory of man-eating savages. Eventually he just has to eat. One unwise sample of the local fungus and he starts feeling weeeeeeeeeird, man. He wakes up in a pool of his own mushroom-laced vomit surrounded by half-naked people in body paint, an experience I'm sure many of us can relate to.
The cannibals take him back to their big bat-filled cave so the whole village can check out the new meat. It's right about here that the movie really pours on the nudity. Robert is tied up and roughly stripped. He won't be wearing a stitch of clothing for most of the rest of the movie, so get used to his scrumptious-looking man-sausage. One of the villagers, a perky-breasted, innocent-faced young woman (Me Me Lai), takes a special interest in finding out if that's long pork in his undies, or if he's just happy to see her. Soon everybody takes a turn fondling and pinching his parts. Subtract the human-flesh-eating from this set-up and it looks like a Tarzan-inspired bondage humiliation fantasy.
For their next party game the tribe suspends Robert from a primitive rope pulley and drop him repeatedly from the top of the cave. When that entertainment grows dull, they tie him up and leave him in a hole. Nobody will give him any water... unless you count pissing on his head. Children throw rocks. Men hit him with stone hammers. He's forced to witness another victim being eaten by ants, flesh stripped to the bone. Not long after, Robert gets a hand job from a pretty lady, using his own anguished tears for lubricant.
The tribe isn't super nice to the local animals, either. Neither are the filmmakers, true to genre form. Seriously, what did that crocodile do to merit being sliced open to expose its still-beating heart? Sheesh. Yet another grotesque feast starts and we learn that tribe doesn't make any distinction between dinnertime and fucky-sucky time. Apparently Robert has arrived in cannibal-caveman heaven. He decides he's had enough of this waiting-around-to-be-eaten bullshit, so he starts bashing heads and making for the exit while everyone is distracted. He finds Me Me Lai and takes her away into the jungle, tied up and dragged along like an animal. Turnabout is fair play.
Robert's captive slips away when he goes swimming. She doesn't care how nice his man-parts are, she's had enough of this bozo who doesn't even have the good sense not to go into stagnant, leech-infested water. She doesn't make it far before he catches up and socks her around. The scuffle quickly turns into rape. Apparently that's what passes for romance among the cannibals, however, because he wakes up to find breakfast in bed waiting, jungle-style.
Robert attempts to get a teeny, tiny shred of his human dignity back by making a little modesty cup out of a rag. Good effort, Bob. They discover that Ralf has been living in a cave since the raft accident, with a badly injured and infected leg. The trio tries to float downriver again but the crocodiles are not amused. Back on land the cannibals capture Robert's new "bride", and seriously injure Ralf, who can't travel under his own power anymore. Robert delivers a (thankfully brief and to the point) I'm-not-leaving-you-here speech, while elsewhere the cannibals are preparing their next feast: The beautiful girl. They disembowel her to sickeningly sweet string music that could have been lifted from the date scene in a bad love story! The most grueling sequences of torment and misery are accompanied by music that would be better suited to a 70s family movie, or perhaps an elevator that goes all the way down to the antechamber of Hell.
WRITER: GOAT SCROTE
Goat Scrote is one of three of the contributors featured during Italian Horror Week from a super mondo site called Theater of Guts.