FILM: Precurser to Deodato's seminal classic, Holocausto Cannibale/Cannibal Holocaust in which a plane carrying an oil magnate (Massimo Foschi) and a trio of lackeys crashes in the jungle. After a night in the downed plane and the disappearance of two of their companions, Foschi and the other survivor manage to get themselves lost in the jungle in stead of doing the sensible thing and awaiting rescue. Soon separated, Foschi finds himself wandering about the jungle like a blind man in a maze until he manages to get himself captured by the local cannibals. There he is beaten, stripped naked, caged, fondled, urinated upon, threatened, stoned and generally abused and humiliated, even chucked into a cave with a distinctly unfriendly, prehistoric bird for a while, until he escapes with the help of a cannibal girl. Cue for more wandering aimlessly about the bush like an Aussie in search of Four-X, a reunion with his hitherto missing pal, some rape as a way of relationship building and the general slaughter of animals for the audience's gratification - finally he manages to find his plane and of course he can miraculously fly it, so they can all go home.
As a run-through for Holocausto Cannibale, there is nothing to suggest the latter film's greatness, as this is simply a witless jungle adventure spiced up with some unnecessary genuine animal mutilation/death scenes, some faked cannibalism/gore and little else of note, save the offensive, racist depiction of natives as savages and cannibals with no redeeming features, and the sort of 'porno-rape' scene, wherein the hero rapes a native woman he has escaped with and kept hostage thus immediately rendering her submissive and worshipful of him, that makes the viewer wonder if the late James Ferman had a point in outlawing that sort of material.
The print under review is censored, shorn of the scene of the natives brutally slaughtering a crocodile and the rape of Me Me Lai, which will doubtless disappoint fans of the movie hoping to buy the disc. That's probably not a bad thing, as Ultimo Mondo Cannibale is a terrible movie, lacking the intelligence or context of Deodato's later excursion into the green hell. Whereas that film, an essential treatise on man's inhumanity to man remains a shattering experience, perhaps the ultimate exploration of man as animal and the depths of man's inherent capacity for cruelty, this is simply a lame excuse for a jungle romp lacking anything to define it from a host of similarly inept pictures that followed in the wake of Deodato's later seminal classic. Holocausto Cannibale is utterly stark in it's grim, downbeat conclusion and draining to experience, Ultimo Mondo Cannibale is just utterly depressing to experience in the realisation that the viewer has wasted virtually 90-minutes of an all-to-short life. The film is abysmally acted, ridiculously penned, dismally helmed and utterly dire, without redeeming features - much the way it portrays it's native characters.
VIDEO: Given its age, the source print hardly surprisingly is less than perfect and this is a truly appalling excuse for a DvD print. It's presented in non-anamorphic 2.35-1 and is littered with speckles and blemishes, shot through with dirt and grain, presents faded and muddy colours and varies wildly from overly dark to over exposed. It has to be said that many of these issues stem from the hardly excellent original shooting stock, but might at least have the hope of accurate colouring, nice looking blacks and fleshtones that are passable - but no… this is appalling. However, all that said, compared to some of the previous incarnations of this movie, this is actually major improvement. It's no better and no worse than the original Italian VHS release though.
SOUND: Unmastered mono, the somewhat inappropriate score is well-enough rendered, dialogue is serviceable and ambient sounds come across audibly, it could've sounded a lot better here with greater effort, but to be honest greater effort would've been wasted on this tripe anyway.
EXTRAS: Well, to kick off with the positive, trailers are always welcome and the title trailer is largely the same one I remember seeing previously, unimpressively presented and one of the poorer previews for an Italian cannibal flick I have encountered. The other trailers are a mundane collection of trailers for other Hardgore releases that can be found under the caveat 'Other attractions', including I Spit On Your Grave, the abysmal Demonium, Nutbag, Aenigma, Red Monks (I Frati Rossi) Reign in Darkness, Don't Mess With My Sister and Asian prison flick Bangkok Hell. All terrible movies, and the trailers for another couple of less awful featured releases Nightmare(s in a Damaged Brain) and Fulci's Un Gatto nel Cervello/Cat in the Brain are conspicuous by their absence despite the promo poster being included in the gallery that serves as a menu for this section. They're not very good, but rather like an annoying friend are fondly remembered in their absence.
The Deodato filmography is run of the mill, though somewhat amusingly, the headshot of poor old Ruggero has him looking like Sven Goran Erickson - mind you, perhaps Ruggero would make a better Chelski manager than Ranieri, and Harvey Fenton's biography doesn't impress either. The image gallery is an interesting combination of lobby cards, posters and video/disc covers for the film from around the world,whilst the 'reviews' section presents write-ups by the ever readable Kim Newman, and interestingly, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, excerpted from Jason Slater's dreadful Eaten Alive book.
To quote the inimitable Capt. Rhodes, a mouthful of Greek salad.
OVERALL: Atrocious film, abysmal audio/visual presentation and the extras aren't up to all that much. Deodato's Holocausto Cannibale/Cannibal Holocaust remains his major picture and a bona-fide classic, whilst this is merely third-rate curiosity value fodder. To add to which, the disc is censored. I would have liked to have seen a full-length commentary from Deodato, but otherwise nothing could save this... avoid like the plague.
Review by Dr Obrero
|Released by Screen Entertainment|
|Trailers, Image gallery, Rugero Deodato Filmography & Biography, Production notes, Reviews, Other Attractions|