10 Noteworthy Exploitation Films

Cannibal Holocaust
Cannibal Holocaust
Cannibal Holocaust
Courtesy Amazon.com

The tagline for the 1980 Ruggero Deodato cannibal exploitation movie, "Cannibal Holocaust" reads, "Better to rest in peace in the body of a warm friend, than in the cold ground." It's probably the friendliest aspect of the film.

The movie revolves around a group of young documentary filmmakers who venture into the Amazon rain forest to contact a remote tribe of reputed cannibals. When they don't return, an anthropologist travels to South America in search of their whereabouts. After partaking in an act of cannibalism, the scientist gains trust -- and ultimately the film reels he needs -- from a local cannibal tribe. When he returns to New York and views them, he learns that the filmmakers deserved the brutal fate that befell them. In order to stir up the violence they'd expected to capture, the filmmakers terrorized a tribal village for their footage.

"Cannibal Holocaust" is noteworthy for a number of reasons. The film's director, Deodato, was arrested for obscenity in his native Italy following the movie's premiere there. The film was investigated in Venezuela, where it was filmed, for animal cruelty (which one reviewer called "hideous, unspeakable") [source: Ashlin]. And "Cannibal Holocaust" is also credited with inspiring the legendary horror mockumentary "The Blair Witch Project."

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