August 21, 2014


There are two things I have an enormous amount of love for: movies and video games. I’ve loved both ever since I was a little kid. I grew up watching horror movies and Godzilla movies, playing Atari and Nintendo games. Some of my friends shared my love of video games but most didn’t. Some of my friends liked horror movies but most were not even allowed to watch them. Growing up, I had very few people to talk to about all the new things I was seeing and new games I was playing. I felt a little bit isolated. I wasn’t interested in sports or playing in the street. I wasn’t interested in girls or going to school dances. I wanted to watch movies and play video games. I chose two of the most solitary activities imaginable at the time and my social life suffered as a result.

Around the time Super Mario Bros. 2 came out, I made two wonderful discoveries in a B. Dalton bookstore at the local mall: Fangoria and Nintendo Power. I was in heaven. I held in my hands two magazines that contained all this wonderful information about my life’s true loves. I was suddenly privy to inside information on films in production, games that were coming out in a few months and the opinions of people who seemed to share my interests. In those early days of my life, those magazines were my “communities”. They were the validation of my interest in horror films and video games. That day, I became a true magazine fanatic. But after awhile I noticed something odd. I was reading all this positive shit about certain films but when I finally saw them, they were absolute garbage. I was making lists of games to rent at Funcoland on the glowing recommendations of magazine reviewers. Many were huge disappointments. I had my first exposure to the dangers of “hype”.

Then a wonderful thing called the internet happened. I can remember the joys of first loading up AIM and venturing into a chat room. I was suddenly surrounded by people whose tastes and interests matched my own. I was no longer without a real community. It was finally here. It had finally arrived. My early years on the internet were some of the best years I’ve ever had sitting in front of a Windows 95 computer at one in the morning. Since then, the community I loved discovering has become something I would rather not be a part of. And this leads me to the topic of the day: Zoe Quinn and the internet shit storm surrounding her.

Perhaps you don’t know who Zoe Quinn is. Quinn is an independent game developer. I first became aware of her existence through an Indie Statik article back in December of 2013. Quinn had gone through the process of Steam Greenlight in an attempt to get her game, an artsy visual novel-esque message game called Depression Quest, onto the Steam store. This brought about a flood of hate from entitled male gamers who, for no discernible reason, felt like Quinn had no business developing a game. Alongside the usual “cunt” and “bitch” comments were sexual assault threats. Not quite believing what I was seeing, I investigated the matter myself and quickly learned that not only was Quinn the target of this type of angry male rhetoric but many other female developers and gamers were being routinely harassed too. My eyes were completely opened.

But I noticed a different trend popping up as well. I began to see, in staggeringly large quantity, claims that Quinn and women like her were not really victims of harassment and abuse. They were merely over-emotional, thin-skinned whiners who cannot handle *ahem* criticism. They were not victims. They were “playing victims”.  These kinds of comments were always found sandwiched between dozens of “cunt/bitch/whore/slut” comments and declarations about how much better these women would feel after a good rape, a fact that CONFIRMED their harassment and abuse, the total opposite of what you would expect to find if all of these hateful comments were merely figments of their imagination. There was clearly something wrong here.

Just the other day, Quinn entered the gaming consciousness again, this time in a much more convoluted form.  An ex-boyfriend of hers began posting on his blog all about Quinn’s sexual history, including her trysts with several game journalists. Allegedly, she had sex with these men in an attempt to gain exposure and good reviews. When several Youtubers decided to cover this, some had their channels hit with DMCA and copyright claims, all of which stemmed, again allegedly, from Quinn herself. Reddit threads about the newly christened “Zoegate” were being locked left and right, and those left open had their comments sections turned into mod-deleted comment graveyards. And again, as is always the trend, male gamers took to their computers to shout obscenities into the virtual ether.

When I started Films That Witness Madness back in 2009, I didn’t expect the reception I received. What I expected was a few dozen readers and a handful of emails. What I got far exceeded that. My readership was nothing to sneeze at and the amount of emails I received was sizeable. By late 2010, I began receiving communications from DVD releasing companies. They asked if I wanted to give their new releases a look for review purposes. Naturally, I said yes (protip: want free shit? Start a website). I began to receive dozens of screeners a month. I reviewed the ones I found interesting and passed on the rest. I was honest and often merciless in my reviews. Turns out, that wasn’t what was expected of me. 

No, by accepting their screeners, I was obligated to give them a review. Not only that, I was supposed to give them a GOOD review, a sign of gratitude for their generosity. This didn’t sit well with me at all. Not only did I make it clear that I would not be able to review everything they planned on sending, I made it clear that I a) did not review DVDs, just films and b) if I didn’t like it, I wasn’t going to lie about it. Just like that, the screeners stopped coming in (protip addendum: oh yeah, that free shit will only come a rollin’ in if you’re OK with being dishonest).  There’s a reason I distrust DVD review sites, especially those who only seem to review DVDs released by one or two companies. That lure of getting free stuff for the cost of a few white lies is strong, but if you care anything about your own integrity and the integrity of your work, you’ll write “return to sender” on that box of screeners and stick it back in the post.

What does that have to do with Zoe Quinn and the state of gaming journalism? 

It’s an open secret in the film business that set access is sold off for favorable press. Ain’t It Cool News became Ain’t It Cool News precisely for this reason. Access Hollywood and shows like it are not in the business of transparency and honest journalism. They trade their hype for set access. The gaming journalism scene is no different. Whether or not Zoe Quinn used her sexual history as a set of “ins” is of secondary concern to the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time. When news broke that Machinima, one of the larger Youtube gaming content networks around, agreed to positive press for the Xbox One in exchange for undisclosed sponsorship money, people were rightfully pissed but no one was really all that surprised. When Jeff Gerstmann was fired from Gamespot for his negative review of Kane & Lynch, people were rightfully pissed but no one was really all that surprised. Eidos had been paying Gamespot quite a bit of money to hype up the title. Gerstmann, unlike the paid shills of Machinima, placed his integrity first and Gamespot, their eyes on the money, kicked him to the curb. All of this happened, but what really sets these examples of “gaming the system” apart from Quinn is the vitriol of the reactions.

Despite protestations, Machinima and their partners didn’t lose very many subscribers. Gamespot took a small hit to its already bad reputation but they survived relatively unscathed. Quinn however is now the subject of personal attacks, threats and endless scrutiny, all because of allegations made by an ex-boyfriend who is such a small, shallow, self-important asshole that he could not help but air his dirty laundry in public. Oddly enough, try as I might, I could not find a single review or piece of publicity written by any of Quinn’s supposed sexual partners. There is no evidence that she gained any significant exposure through her bedroom activities. So without evidence of any kind of gain in exposure, what possible other reason could there be to condemn her behavior? 

IGN is a well-known shill for the big gaming companies. When someone says “IGN was clearly paid for this”, people just shrug. Same goes for Kotaku. Same goes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Same goes for Youtube personalities. No one seems to care. Why is this different? Why is all the vitriol aimed at Quinn and not at all the others? Why is this discussion not totally about how easy it is to pay for positive coverage?

Because the criminal in this story is Zoe Quinn. And male gamers hate Zoe Quinn. That’s enough of a reason to condemn her, with or without evidence of wrongdoing.

The last time I saw such a public flogging, the target was Phil Fish, the arrogant, talented, socially retarded developer of Fez. When Phil Fish opens his mouth, people ram their fists down it. It doesn’t matter what Fish says. If it comes from him, it’s poison. Fish was not the first person to say that Let Players should pony up some dough to developers. He was just the one to get internet raped for it. He wasn’t the first developer to insult PC gaming. He was just the one to get beaten up for it on Steam. The reason Fish gets the hate he does is because he doesn’t play by the rules we decided media personalities should play by. If someone curses out a celebrity and the celebrity fires back, it’s never the ordinary person who is forced to issue an apology. It’s always the celebrity. Phil Fish was battered from every angle by assholes for as long as Fez was in development. He had every single right to fight back. But because of that, he became something we didn’t want. He became the mirror image of our own bad etiquette. 

Same goes for Quinn in a way. Because she represents something male gamers don’t like (outspoken, female game developer), she is being crucified at the expense of having a real conversation about a real problem. Because none of them fucking care about the real problem. If they did, they would not be flooding Reddit with comments like these:

They would be flooding the inboxes of every single gaming news outlet with protestations against the kind of behavior we all know goes on behind the scenes. 

But Quinn is such an easy target. Like Anita Sarkessian, Quinn had the audacity to come walking into a traditionally male only scene and make herself at home. And it says a lot about the average male gamer that someone like Sarkessian can make some Youtube videos about video games and suddenly become the fucking antichrist as a result of it. It says a lot about the maturity level of male gamers that Sarkessian’s criticisms were taken as personal insults. It says a lot about the intelligence and social acumen of male gamers when Feminism is treated like Nazism. The typical stereotype of the male gamer is that of a sexually frustrated, anti-social, self important nerd. The male gaming community is proving that stereotype to be true every single second of the day. 

You have to be blind or dumb to not see the disproportionate amount of criticism and abuse dished out to female gamers and developers over male gamers and developers. And IT IS ABUSE. I’ve seen too many people writing off rape threats against female gamers and developers as “trolling”. By labeling this behavior “trolling”, all you do is write this kind of behavior off. Don’t do that. Do not passively enable it. Because if you do, you’re not much better than the “trolls” themselves. No one should be ridiculed and threatened over something as fucking trivial as a video game. 

Make no doubt about this statement: this has more to do with Zoe Quinn than game journalism integrity. We live in a society where female porn actresses are considered sluts while male porn actors are considered heroes. We live, whether you believe it or not, in a society where “male” is the privileged gender. If this were any other developer other than Quinn, not a single person would raise more than half an eyebrow. We wouldn’t have 4chan witch hunts, we wouldn’t have hateful, disgusting comments all over Reddit and we wouldn’t have people tracking down softcore nude photo shoots the man did in the past and then emailing them to his friends and family. Quinn is a woman in a field full of men and she is being crucified for it while everyone else gets to walk away with clean hands, just like the disgusting pricks online who have finally driven me to decide that I no longer want to be associated with them. If this is what is to be expected of the gaming community, I'm out.

August 2, 2014


*The following is the final part of a four part review/analysis of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST


Reality television seemed like a respectable new medium. We were familiar with hearing people tell stories about their lives on talk shows. Now we were watching all of the drama, joy and heartache happening right in front of us. The Real World, the original docudrama that started the whole phenomenon, debuted on MTV in 1992. It seemed to be a genuinely interesting bit of social experimentation. A group of people, all from different backgrounds and economic classes, were stuck together under one roof and left to their own devices. We were told that it was real, that it was genuine. It didn’t occur to many people that the episodes were carefully edited, that situations were being contrived in writer’s room meetings in the hopes of maximizing conflict between cast members. It turned out that reality television, this new avenue of documentary, was no more about “reality” than the Mondo film. Sure, what we were seeing on screen actually happened but the context is unclear. The steps from “passive” to “aggressive” were missing. This wasn’t really “reality” at all. This was “television reality”.

As the series progressed, it became apparent that what people wanted to see was not the personalities of the people on the show but the inevitable conflicts between them. Casting came down to color, politics, sexuality and gender identity. The mixed cast of subsequent Real World shows included people from nearly every spectrum of the human experience. But that was not for the benefit of audience identification. It was for the benefit of the drama. Situations were created that pushed political/religious/economically opposed characters (and yes, I am referring to the cast of these shows as characters as their on screen identity is constructed through editing and, more often, play acting by the cast member) into conflict. As the world of reality television expanded, an ongoing battle between the networks was stirred up. Reality television quickly became the realm of crass exploitation and navel gazing gawking. There is no humanity left on these shows. What we are watching is people at their worst.

People at their best just doesn’t sell.

“Today people want sensationalism. The more you rape their senses, the happier they are."
 The line I quoted above is spoken by a television producer as she and Prof. Monroe sit outside the studio building. It strikes him (as it does us) as a bit of a "no shit" observation. It's been that way since the advent of film, worse since the invention of the television and even worse still since the invention of the internet. Take a look at a gossip magazine or celebrity focused website. Notice the way they delight in every sordid detail. Notice the way drug abuse and sexual abuse is turned into attention grabbing headlines. Browse through a newspaper or watch any television news broadcast. Compare the air time or print space given to a murder versus the air time or print space given to a humanitarian event. When some psychopath shoots up a school, pay attention to how every single detail about the killer, from their clothing to their motive to the ammunition they used, is turned into sensationalized information repeated over and over in a way that almost borders on fetishism.  

I often wonder how long it will be until we begin to see the pictures of shattered bodies and disembodied limbs strewn around the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Maybe in another ten years when people stop being affected by the images of the smoking Towers. It used to be that the film of Kennedy’s assassination was kept from public view. Now it is instantly recognizable. It pops up on television shows and in big budget movies, slowed down, sped up, enlarged, over-dubbed, played in slow motion and played in reverse. I remember seeing that footage on television for the first time when I was a child. I was utterly shocked. Though I was not alive when Kennedy died, I was well enough aware of John F. Kennedy to know that he was a man deserving of respect. Now, the footage of his death is so commonly used and displayed that the shock has been all but eliminated. The final moments of a President of the United States of America has been reduced to simple stock footage.

The crudely dismissive comments made by the television producer are indicative of our modern media. That is one of the problems with having a 24-hour news cycle. How do you keep people tuning in? With so many news avenues available both online and off, what can you do to ensure an audience?

Give them blood. Give them misery. Give them horrors and terrors and tragedies and outrage. Keep them scared. Keep them believing that tuning in is a safety measure. It's just that simple.

But the final line of this interlude, spoken by Prof. Monroe, reveals the immorality behind the media's practices and our own blood lust.
"Would you like people to make money off your misery?"

When we return to the jungle, we see Alan and his crew taking a bit of a break. They are shooting simple b-roll footage, Faye putting the spin on their earlier encounter with the Yacumo. She refers to their savagery as "establishing... diplomatic relations" with them. We see Mark enjoying a quick shave as an old woman dies nearby. As Faye chokes over her lines, gagging from the sight and smell of the rotting woman, Alan grabs the mic and directs the attention of the camera to the rotting pile of flesh. What he says will ultimately come true for them in a few short hours.
"In the jungle, nothing goes to waste. Nature recycles everything".
The crew next stumbles upon a gruesome scene. Several of the tribeswomen have bound a pregnant woman by her wrists. Alan describes what we are about to see as a necessary procedure, a kind of "social surgery". In order to eliminate illness from the tribe, any diseased or sick member is killed. In a moment of childish shock mongering, the women pull the fetus from the sick woman's womb (the act, though not the total outcome, would be replayed in Joe D'Amato's ANTHROPOPHAGUS a year later). One of the women buries the fetus in the mud while the others beat the bound woman to death with stones. Survival of the tribe is of greater concern than the survival of a single woman and her unborn child.

Following this disgusting display, we find Alan and crew resting in the jungle. Alan briefly discusses the arguments going on behind the scenes. The crew wants to turn back but Alan, as usual, has other plans. He wants to press on. He says that what convinced them to continue is the "chance to become famous". Nothing else matters to him and as a result they continue on to their doom.

Deodato takes us out of the jungle at this point and back to New York where Prof. Monroe is firmly stating to the television producers his intentions to walk away from the documentary. Realizing the travesty they want to distribute, he declares that he wants nothing to do with it. The female producer simply can't believe that Monroe would want the company to shelve the footage. "Yes, yes, we all know what Alan was like", she says, "He over-did it as usual but what you saw was a rough cut". In other words, it has yet to be sanitized and re-focused. Alan and his crew have yet to be made into heroes by the editors. The “truth” was not yet ready for primetime.

Prof. Monroe doesn't care about "the most sensational documentary to come along in years", only the truth and he is all too aware of the horrors yet to come. He is the only one to have seen the remaining footage. His statement, that they have not yet seen the stuff that their "editors didn't even have the stomach to put together", is their final warning of the graphic horrors that are about to behold. It's our final warning, as well. For the next ten minutes, we will be placed squarely in hell with nary an edit between us and the horrible fates of the film crew.


As the television producers and Prof. Monroe settle in, the final reels begin.

The crew captures a young girl. Alan remarks that they have finally caught a member of the Yanomamo tribe, the elusive cannibals they have been hunting down. As the young girl fights her way out of Mark's stranglehold, we hear Alan say that they "have to be careful because these people are known for their cruelty". We know that the people they are speaking of are the same people we saw at the very beginning of the film. We have seen with Prof. Monroe who these people are and what they are capable of. From our previous experience, we can guess the ramifications of their actions.

They begin to rape the girl, one at a time. Faye disapproves but not necessarily of the rape. Rather, she screams about them filming it. "We can't use this," she screams. It's only when Alan takes his turn that Faye makes any attempts to stop the rape. Once the rape has been completed, we cut back to the screening room for a reel change. We are not made aware of the fate of the raped girl but through a quick cut, we are made aware that they were being watched the whole time.

When we return to the jungle, we find our crew has stumbled upon a horrific sight. A young girl, quite possibly the same one we just saw raped, has been piked, the length of wood penetrating her vagina and exiting through her mouth. As Mark and Jack swirl around with their cameras, an excited Alan eyes up the atrocity with a smile on his face. He has to be reminded that he is on camera - "Watch it, Alan, I'm filming" - and then immediately launches into fake disgust. "I can't understand the reason for such cruelty", he says before remarking about the "almost profound respect these primitives have for virginity". Alan shakes his head in false disbelief but it's Faye who seems to have a firm grasp on the reality of the situation. The look she gives Alan before the cut says it all.
*Some people have speculated that the girl on the pike is not only the girl who was raped by the crew but that Alan and company were the ones responsible for her fate. The film gives no evidence for this and it seems hardly likely given the way they discover the girl's body and the reactions of the filmmakers at the scene.
 The next series of scenes details the demise of the filmmakers. Realizing they are surrounded, with tribal warriors pouring out of the thick jungle and spears flying through the air, we can hear someone scream "Keep rolling! We're gonna get an Oscar for this!" Jack is speared and Alan, in his only moment of empathy during the entire picture, shoots Jack dead. The filmmakers scramble away. The film pops and cracks.

Mark is now filming through the trees as the tribe castrates and disembowels Jack's corpse. The cannibals almost immediately begin feasting, hoisting their moist treasures in the air in celebration. The impulse to film has completely overtaken the impulse to survive.

When we cut away to Alan, Faye and Mark in the woods, Alan recognizes that they probably aided in their own demise by stopping to film Jack being devoured. The cannibals rush them again and take Faye. For the first time, we see Alan beginning to panic. The film pops and cracks.

Once again, we are watching the cannibals through the trees. They strip Faye of her clothing and one of the men rapes her. They carry her to a small clearing before raping her again. Once the rape is over, the women beat her to death with sticks. As they beat her lifeless body, Ortolani's lush score begins to play, shifting the entire tone with it. The sudden reversal of the score from the beautiful ballad back to the disturbing synth score provides the typical jump-cut shock when the natives suddenly lift her disembodied head high in the air.

The camera whirls. In a flash, we are overtaken by the cannibals. Spears are jabbed directly at us. The camera tilts and falls. The final image from the Green Inferno Footage is the bloodied face of Alan, his eyes slowly closing as he is beaten around the head. The film pops, cracks and stops.

The lights come on in the screening room. It is silent. One of the producers gets up and leaves. Another makes his way to a telephone. He tells the projectionist to burn the film. For once, decency and responsibility win out. Prof. Monroe wanders outside. He is framed from below, the skyscrapers looming large behind him. He lights his pipe. His voice-over is the last line of dialog we hear in the picture.
"I wonder who the real cannibals are?"
 The answer is simple and obvious.

We are. Each and every one of us.


Unlike many of the so-called Video Nasties and hardcore horrors of days long past, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST deserves its reputation. It's a tough film but an important one. It not only perfectly encapsulates the artistic environment it was made in but critiques it as well. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST strikes so hard because it lays bare all the conventions and manipulations of the medium. It is the purest example of exploitation cinema. It knows what it's doing and shows you the rules of the game every step of the way.

Despite all the stage blood, faked rape, real animal slaughter and misanthropy, it remains a beautiful picture. It is expertly filmed and visually exciting. I've spent many years watching films and television shows set in the jungle but have never actually felt like I was there before I saw CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. The authenticity of the setting is conveyed magnificently. You can smell the humidity in the air. The sense of claustrophobia the film creates is disarming. If you feel like you need a shower once it's over, I wouldn't be surprised.

I've struggled with CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST for many years. It is a film I genuinely love and that fact bothers me a great deal. Because this isn't a film you, me or anyone else should love. As much as it disgusts me at times and as much as it makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry for hours, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST remains for me an almost perfect film and a true testament to the power of cinema. Those people who view horror cinema as a lesser art form or as a cheap, pathetic entertainment for the mentally challenged would do well to watch this film. It might go a long way toward changing their minds. If they can stomach it, that is.

Marshall McLuhen once wrote that “the medium is the message” and lamented the fact that people only tend to focus on the obvious content of media rather than on the way media effects society and fosters change. For Deodato, the exploitative nature of media (not just the Mondo films; Deodato frequently mentions being shocked by the way television broadcasts would show, during early evening hours, the destroyed bodies of soldiers fighting in war) is a self perpetuating machine. By giving an audience to atrocities, we create further atrocities. Like VIDEODROME and MAN BITES DOG, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST explores the nastier side of supply and demand that exists in horror cinema in general and documentary film in particular. The effect of this particular kind of exploitation cinema is that we become too immune to shock too quickly. In order to recapture our sense of horror, we must push further into darker territory. We are constantly reinventing the boundaries of good taste in order to satisfy our bloody curiosities.

I mentioned that CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST comes off as a bit hypocritical at times, that it uses the same techniques that the Mondo filmmakers were using. That is an inescapable criticism leveled at it and one that the film cannot worm its way out from under. But what Deodato has done with this film is provide a valuable service. Like VIDEODROME and MAN BITES DOG, the real meaning of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is often obscured by the vicious and nasty content it contains, but it succeeds in doing precisely what it sets out to do. It exposes the exploitative nature of cinema. It pulls back the veil and shows us how the Mondo filmmakers (and by extension, today’s news media and television programmers) manipulated and exploited not only their audience but the subjects of their films. We’re far more media savvy today than we were in 1980. Nothing this film has to say will strike the majority of today’s moviegoers as profound, but it is still surprising that one of the most striking pieces of media criticism was made under the guise of a gut munching cannibal exploitation film.

August 1, 2014


*The following is the third part of a four part review/analysis of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST.  


With regard to documentary filmmaking, where is the line drawn between morality and verite? Where do our boundaries lie?

If a documentary filmmaker films someone robbing a convenience store, is he too guilty of the crime? By watching it unfold, are WE somehow complicit? The average viewer would answer no to both questions but why? "Well, the filmmaker would be putting their own life at risk if they attempted to stop the robbery.” Fine, I will accept that. But what if the subject of the documentary was the one committing the robbery and the filmmaker was filming it for the sake of the film? Would he be more or less guilty given these circumstances? Any reasonable, moral person would have to answer yes, he would be more guilty. By not preventing the crime from taking place (a crime in which any number of things could have happened, even murder) or by not placing a call to the police, the filmmaker has become complicit in the crime and culpable to punishment. The only crime he would have committed by reporting or preventing the robbery is the crime of breaking the rules of verite.

But I ask again are WE complicit in the crime by watching it without resistance? To a degree, I believe we are. Passively watching atrocities can be cathartic, even educational, but our rapt attention and eagerness to seek out "that which should not be seen" gives these films their raison d'etre. With regard to the Mondo film, that may seem especially unreasonable to most, but who were these films made for if not for an audience craving fresh shocks and horrors? Without an audience there would be no reason for these films to have proliferated as quickly as they did. Our bloodlust and morbid curiosity were the motivating forces. In some small way, we helped create them through our desire to see atrocities and our willingness to support those filmmakers making them.

That is not to say that we wished for hundreds of animals to be savaged and murdered, or for innocent people to have been treated in the same way. We are not guilty of committing murder, prostitution or rape. But audience demand was the driving force behind these films and the desire to earn a quick buck and a mention in the book of notoriety turned ordinary men into monstrous opportunists lining up to take the money we were so eager to give them.


The third and final chapter of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is by far the strongest. In a weirdly horrible way, it is also the most entertaining. The culmination of Deodato's carefully exercised strategy, the final part of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, which I will refer to here as the “Green Inferno Footage", is nauseatingly powerful and, despite the shoddy effects and obvious visual tricks, incredibly convincing. The only weak link in this chapter is the acting, but the conviction of the direction and the unrelenting pace makes that bitter pill much easier to swallow. To this day, the Green Inferno Footage remains some of the strongest stuff produced in the Italian horror industry.

There is a brief prelude before we set down to watch the recovered footage. We see Prof. Monroe trying his best to interview the families and associates of our four deceased filmmakers. This lays out the dynamic of the relationship between the four. Alan is the ringleader, Faye is the desperate clinger, Jack suffers from hero worship and Mark is an enabler. They are called "prima donnas" that get "high ratings". They are little more than instruments of destruction masquerading as journalists. Their high energy and juvenile facade (evident when they pose at the airport with their guide Filipe and play keep-away with Faye's panties) masks a deep well of cruelty.

The brief piece of silent footage from aboard the plane is the only time we see the Green Inferno from the outside. It's the closest we get to an establishing shot of any kind. Once they set off into the jungle, we are trapped there with them. The thick jungle all around us confounds our sense of space. Everything looks the same. Everything feels the same. The sense of claustrophobia is overwhelming. Though the scenes in the Green Inferno are shot with two cameras (mostly from Jack and Mark's perspectives) it's difficult to tell who is shooting who, how the shots match from one to another and the timeline we are experiencing. There are no night time scenes in this final chapter of the film. Everything is set during the day. How long have we been in the jungle? How much of what we are seeing is from day one or day three? The whole last chapter of the film feels like one long, terrible fever dream.

No matter where we look, there is only death.
*It's important to note that what we are seeing is edited footage compiled by a studio editor. As it stands, the new edit of the footage seems more like a greatest hits package than a true documentary. These four filmmakers would have brought miles of film with them, much more than what we are seeing. We are told, as a way of sewing up this plot hole, that much of the footage was ruined due to the environment and improper handling of the stock. What we see of the expedition is all that remains. And what we see is a true Mondo film.

Everything we've seen so far has prepared us for a violent excursion into hell itself. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST doesn't disappoint. Within the first ten minutes of the Green Inferno Footage, we witness two scenes of animal cruelty. The first, an almost innocent scene, is of Mark pinning a butterfly to a board. The second is much stronger.

The filmmakers pull a sea turtle out of the water. At first, the scene looks a bit like the hunting scene from NANOOK OF THE NORTH. It's not immediately obvious that the animal is alive at all. When they pull it from the water, it becomes all too apparent that it is. Without a moment's hesitation, they chop the head off of the animal. Not content with showing this first graphic act, Deodato films, mostly in close-up, the complete dismemberment of the animal. Several of the actors have a hard time concealing their very real revulsion. Deodato pushes his cast through to the very end. They pry open the shell, revealing the soup of internal organs and Deodato films them, for no real purpose, playing around with the insides. The animal is cooked and eaten.

Jacopetti and Prosperi were disgusting opportunists who used staged scenes of animal slaughter to bolster the shock value of their films. For CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, a film so very openly critical of these kinds of filmmakers, to use the exact same techniques is a bit odd. It is also unavoidable. Faking the scenes of animal butchery would have been preferable but probably destructive. There would simply be no way of doing it convincingly. It is, I'll admit, completely hypocritical of Deodato to resort to using the exact same tactics that he is condemning, but it is essential to not only the strength of the film but to the point of the film as well. By showing this monstrosity, Deodato is laying bare the tactics of the Mondo filmmaker.
"This is how it is done”, he is telling us. "Are you not entertained?"
The following couple of scenes better illustrate the kind of people we are dealing with. When a large, possibly poisonous spider drops down onto Faye's shoulder, her companions stop to film her screaming before finally removing the spider and hacking it to pieces. Alan's expression before the cut says it all. His smirk, a mixture of sadism and sarcastic concern, speaks volumes. A little later, Filipe, their guide, is bitten in the leg by a snake. They waste no time in severing his leg. Alan asks if they’re still filming. "Yeah, I'm getting it all," Jack replies. They place a hot machete against the wound to cauterize it, all in close-up. Mark's expression before the cut recalls Alan's expression from the previous scene. The mutilation is what they're really concerned with. Saving Filipe's life is of secondary concern.

The opening scene of the next reel, the filmmakers crossing a river while a camen slowly approaches, is a standard issue scene from almost every wildlife survival show ever made. Utterly unconvincing, I'm not sure this scene was intended by the filmmakers to represent reality at all. It looks constructed to spice things up a bit, an attempt to sell themselves to the audience as adventurers. They stumble across a group of Yacumo slaughtering a few tree monkeys. In close-up, a Yacumo severs the top of a monkey's head with a blade then feasts on the warm brains. The filmmakers watch from a distance. Jack shoots one of them in the leg so they can follow him back to his village. When they arrive, one of the major atrocities, though faked, of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST occurs.

The filmmakers arrive in the village. If we expected savages, we are sorely mistaken. The Yacumo village is full of women tending to babies, children playing games, and men huddled in groups. No one raises a hand against the four Caucasians in their midst. They are completely docile, struck by the sudden appearance of the filmmakers. The filmmakers wander through the village and come across a pig tied to a stick. Mark shoots it in the head, prompting Alan to remark that
"Things like this happen all the time in the jungle! It's survival of the fittest! In the jungle, it's the daily violence of the strong overcoming the weak!"
Of course death happens all the time in the jungle, as it does all over the world. But not this kind of death. Not in this kind of way. Not for the benefit of entertainment.

Alan and company round up all the Yacumo they can into huts and set the huts on fire. As the terrified Yacumo try to escape, they are forced back into the flames. All the while, Riz Ortolani's beautiful, majestic score plays in the background. The filmmakers stand and watch the fires rise. "Just like Cambodia", one of them says as the lush, romantic theme soars on the soundtrack. Once the fires have gone out, Alan and Faye have sex while the remaining Yacumo sit huddled in the background. What is normally a tender scene is perverted by the setting.

With this, the first stretch of the Green Inferno Footage comes to an end.

End part 3. To read Part 4, click HERE.