Blu-ray Review “Cannibal Holocaust (1980)”

CHolocaust_cvr_Amazon-234x300Actors: Robert Kerman, Gabriel Yorke, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Luca Barbareschi
Directors: Ruggero Deodato
Number of discs: 3
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Grindhouse Releasing
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Run Time: 96 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to cannibal movies, “Cannibal Holocaust” is easily #1. The film is also easily one of the most controversial films ever made. I remember seeing this in the horror isle at my local video store, looking at the VHS tape and seeing “Banned” all over it. I knew immediately that I needed to see this film. It also (along with “The Beyond”) introduced me to Italian horror films. Having seen this film 20 years ago and watching it today, it is still as absolutely unsettling as it was back then. Would I ever let my own daughter see this film, absolutely not!, but that doesn’t make it any less kick-ass! (Honey, if you are reading this 15 years from you, I am sorry). If you are a horror fan, I cannot recommend picking up this outstanding release any more. Worth every single penny!

Official Premise: Banned and heavily censored the world over, here is a film that surpasses its reputation as a shot-gun blast to the senses. Cannibal Holocaust presents the “found footage” of a group of four documentary filmmakers who experience brutal death at the hands of a savage South American tribe of flesh-eaters. This footage is so intense, so graphic and so unflinching in its realism that the director and producer of Cannibal Holocaust were arrested upon its original release and the film seized.

Grindhouse Releasing is a great independent distributor and they have really stepped up and put their names on the map with this release. The company is founded by Sage Stallone and Bob Murawski, who is also an Academy Award-winning film editor of films like “The Hurt Locker” and “Oz: The Great and Powerful”. It is companies like this that horror fans should be thankful for because they are the ones that restoring and delivering these cult classics films a wonderful presentation on Blu-ray. If you are looking for some other classic horror, cult and exploitation films, Grindhouse has much more coming up including, one of my all-time favorites like I said above, Lucio Fulci’s “The Beyond”, Duke Mitchell’s “Gone with the Pope” and S.F. Brownrigg’s “Scum of the Earth”.

When I see the words, “Deluxe Edition” being used on a Blu-ray release, I usually shrug my shoulders and think “Yeah yeah, aren’t they all!” Well this three-disc Deluxe Edition is what a damn release. It includes two  Blu-rays as well as a newly remastered soundtrack CD of the original score by Riz Ortolani (“Mondo Cane”) presented in an absolute stunning 24bit/96khz sound and taken from the original studio master tapes. Audiophiles are going to go crazy for this no question!  Speaking of audio the Blu-ray also comes with a brand new digital stereo re-mix and original mono mix. The 1080p transfer for this found footage film puts today’s crap to shame with a new high-definition digital restoration of the original director’s cut.

When it comes to special features, this release is not only jam-packed it is over flowing. There are two full feature-length commentary tracks with director Ruggero Deodato and star Robert Kerman, as well as with stars Carl Yorke and Francesca Ciardi. There are brand new really in-depth interviews with Ruggero Deodato, Francesca Ciardi, assistant director/co-star Salvo Basile and cameraman Roberto Forges Davazati. There are classic vintage interviews with Robert Kerman, Carl Yorke and Oscar-nominated composer Riz Ortolani. There is an extensive still galleries and theatrical trailers from around the world, which is a blast to check out for sure!

Just to further prove that Grindhouse didn’t just get the rights to release “Cannibal Holocaust” and just threw it out there for sale. They included a super cool glossy 24-page booklet containing liner notes by director Eli Roth, legendary horror journalist Chas. Balun, Euro-music expert Gergely Hubai and Italian exploitation film authority Martin Biene. There is also a uncensored and shocking reversible cover with original art by notorious illustrator Rick Melton underneath the embossed slip cover. If that isn’t enough there are still tons of great Easter eggs including the Grindhouse Releasing theatrical re-release premiere and Necrophagia music video directed by Jim VanBebber and much more.

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