Saturday, July 12, 2014

IHW: A TALE OF TWO HOLOCAUSTS - Guts and Grog Takes on Cannibal Holocaust and Jungle Holocaust

We interrupt your regularly scheduled afternoon snack time to bring you the word and gospel according to THE GROG! Tromeric the proprietor of Guts and Grog, a fantastic blog filled with the things you love about horror and exploitation cinema, has joined us  again for Italian Horror Week. He's a veteran here, and we're glad to have him back. Please like his Facebook page and visit his site.

Let the guts spill and the grog go down controversial.

I have always been a fan of the cannibal sub-genre. There is a pocket of time, where these were being shit out faster than remakes. While they were produced in several Countries, Italy was king. Ruggero Deodato, and Umberto Lezni went back and forth, trying to outclass each other. It is arguable who reigns supreme in the end. Like most things in the film world. It is kind of up to the viewer.

While I love some of Lenzi's films, I have always been on team Ruggero. His ability to mix shock, with actual emotion is pretty unbeatable, especially when you are dealing with films that have holocaust in the title. He has a style that would fit in right next to some of the other master filmmakers of Italy. This only makes sense, as he got his start working under Roberto Rossellini and Sergio Corbucci.

This is my third year contributing to Italian Horror Week for the Doc. I knew I needed to be involved, as it is one of my favorite weeks on the internet. The problem was figuring out what to cover. I feel like I may have spurt my load a bit early, by using my best Italian film list the first year. Last year I wanted to do something different, so I did a drunken killer animal marathon, and documented my shenanigans. This year, after much thought, and chats with the doctor, I decided to go back to the basics. When thinking of Italian film, specifically Italian horror films, cannibal is the first sub-genre I think of. I love the raw, visceral, rip your guts out mentality of them. Once I knew what genre I would be diving into, I had to decide which angle. A list? A marathon? What? I decided to watch two Deodato flicks. One being his most famous with Cannibal Holocaust, what shall I follow it up with? Jungle Holocaust, also know as Cannibal, The Last Survivor, and a million other titles with cannibal, holocaust, and survivor, found somewhere within. I have always enjoyed Jungle Holocaust, but honestly it had been a minute since I had revisited it. It was settled. Deodato double feature. Attack of the holocausts.

I started with Cannibal Holocaust. A film I have seen a shit ton of times. A film I love. I watch it at least twice a year. I have seen it on shitty bootlegs, DVD, Blu Ray, and even once in 35mm. The soundtrack is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed. When played in juxtaposition to the violent, sickening footage being projected, it somehow becomes even more beautiful, while still enhancing the pure evil of what is being drilled into your eye holes. This film has been debated and scrutinized more than the age of consent, within the Vatican. I am not going to try and argue its merit, or its complete lack of. You can take away many things after watching it. You can find moral lessons, you can find political messages, you can find exploitation of many things including indigenous tribes, hot babes, and animal's lives. Do I like that many animals were killed during the filming? Not at all, but that doesn't take away from the impact this film has. It is as important today, as it was when it was initially released.

You can really see the impact that working with Rossellini had on Deodato, within Holocaust. Its ultra realistic style, never letting onto the fact that it is a fictional film. Even with the amount of times I have seen it, and the amount of essays I have read about it. I find myself constantly thinking I am watching an actual documentary. I of course, am not alone in this. Just look at the amount of times this film has been banned, pulled from shelves, and even investigated as a legitimate snuff film.

I could go on and on. As mentioned previously, I have seen this a ton. It has been a staple since the first time I saw it. I love it. I can't necessarily explain why. I could try, but I would probably come off more pretentious than a Lars von Trier poster. Hopefully my earlier ranting gets off a bit of my point. There is a good chance that it won't. That is fine. It just means you know you are reading a Tromeric original.

No onto the other holocaust. Jungle that is.

With Cannibal Holocaust, you get a realistic faux documentary feel. It plays out like real life. Not a lot of ways to know that you are not watching a film. Jungle is quite the opposite. It is very theatrical. Wide shots, montages, and tons of full flap dick. I guess that last one could also be found in a documentary, but I just wanted an excuse to say "full flap dick." Looks like I got to do it twice. Win!

The basic plot is that a group of oil hunters are looking for a lost group of colleagues. They end up being taken into custody by a tribe of cannibals. Sure, not breaking any new ground on the plot here, but luckily plot is not at the top of my priority list, when looking for cannibal films.

Even though this in not nearly as shocking as CH, it still has enough gore and shock to keep even the sickest gore hound happy. There are more scenes of real animal death. These seem less shocking to me, as they are more like watching the National Geographic Channel. There is some gore, and plenty of nudity, but there is also a enticing story. I genuinely cared about Robert Parker, a feeling I did not share for group in CH. Even though Jungle came before Cannibal, I feel like it is a loose adaptation of the documentary. Think Herzog making a film out of Little Dieter Needs To Fly. Wait....

With as many times I have seen both of these films, I find it shocking that I have never sat down for a double feature. It is something I am glad I finally did. Both films bring such different emotions, and style. I don't know if I could pick a favorite of the two. I will always be obsessed with Cannibal Holocaust. The cinema vérité style, the beautifully disturbing gore, the score that will most likely never be topped, and the battles that it creates from both teams.

Jungle Holocaust seems more like something I would catch Saturday afternoon on PBS. Beautiful wide shots, characters I can root for, a score that was probably purchased from a public domain warehouse, and full flap dick. Yep. Three times.

I want to thank the doctor for having me along for the third year. It is a week that I enjoy as a fan, so to be included as a contributor is something I am very appreciative of. Until next year.......


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