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snopes
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Comment: Several of my friends think that the documentary footage in the
1980 film "Cannibal Holocaust" is real footage, and that all of the brutal
rapes and murders actually happened. I am convinced that it was all acting
and very clever special effects.

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rogue
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It is hard to tell exactly which scenes you mean by "real footage" since I have not seen the movie myself, but:

IMDB indicates that it is a fake documentary like "Blair Witch Project" but there is some REAL footage included:

1) "Plot holes: The team dies while the camera is rolling, yet all the film is later found within film canisters. The natives fear the film and the canisters so it could not have made it into the canisters with their help."

2) "Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): After the "Last Road to Hell" sequence...execution footage from Nigeria was used instead."

3) "The film caused some scandal in Italy at the time, and had trouble with the censorship board. There was a rumor that the performers had really been slain, so director Ruggero Deodato had to take the actors with him to the set of an Italian TV show in order to prove that they hadn't been eaten alive."

4) "The in-film-documentary "The Last Road To Hell", which features several executions, consists of authentic footage supposedly from Uganda."

-Rogue

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"'Cause you might enjoy some madness for awile."

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Spikey
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Isn't there real footage of animal cruelty in the film? Perhaps that's where the legend came from.

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Troberg
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If that is real, they sure have gone through some serious efforts to make it look like a bad fake.

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/Troberg

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The Pikey Snow Queen
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Spikey:
Isn't there real footage of animal cruelty in the film? Perhaps that's where the legend came from.

I saw it many years ago. I think they cut the head of a tortoise or turtle. I was told it was real too but I took it with a pinch of salt.

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MacLloyd
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I saw it not that many years ago (it is a pretty bad movie, I wouldn't recommend it) and there are three or four cases of animals being slaughtered (one of them is indeed a tortoise/turtle).

I saw preview pictures at a theater in Sincelejo, Colombia in 1981. I spent years looking (not very hard I will admit) to find a copy to see. Turned out to be pretty much of a wasted effort.

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SiKboy
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According to the book "Eaten Alive!: Italian Cannibal and Zombie Movies" by Jay Slater, there are several real sequences of animals being killed/mutilated by the cast (mentioned as being cut for the british release are a muskrat, a giant sea turtle, a monkey and a pig. However it doesnt expressly state whether any of these other than the turtle are real), though one of the reviewers makes the claim that these are animals that were going to be killed and eaten by the local tribe anyway.

The movie itself is a swipe at the "mondo" genre of films. From the book: "Mondo was initially taken to denote bizarre and extreme human activity around the world, but largely came to mean 'real-life' footage (often faked) of unfortunate people or animals being humiliated, tortured and killed - basically, sick titilation."

It includes a sequence from a "pseudo-mondo" movie called "The last road to hell" with footage from third world regions, including a firing squad at work. So there ARE some real executions in the film-within-a-film part of cannibal holocaust, but the majority of it is a blair-witch style "mockumentary" satirising the mondo genre. Apparently.

Funny thing is, I've never seen the film, and I'm not actually a huge horror/zombie/gore movie fan, but because I love the evil dead films, some of my friends assume that I must love zero-budget cannibal films from the 70's, hence me owning this book...

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LadyLockeout
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I found this site, that has come clips from the movie and still images and such, so be warned. NFBSK and NSFW.

http://www.cannibalholocaust.net/index3.htm

I can't tell if the site owners actually believe this to be real or not, though I think they do. Then again, I just woke up so I'm all muzzy.

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Kitsune26
The First USA Noel


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Here is a link to a pretty good overview of the movie (pretty spoileriffic).
SPOILER SPACE FOR THOSE WHO DO WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE SPOILER SPACE FOR THOSE WHO DO WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE
SPOILER SPACE FOR THOSE WHO DO WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE
SPOILER SPACE FOR THOSE WHO DO WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE
It's possible that the confusion comes from the issue that the second film team views the footage from the first (lost) research/film team and find out later that the first team arranged for the atrocities that happen on the film (examples being the "attack" on the village and deliberatly raping the girl so that she'll be punished/killed).

END SPOILER SPACE
As for the animal slaughter, the director supposedly admitted that it was real, and gave the excuse that the tribes were just going to eat the animals anyway. Then he later expressed regret that he had filmed the footage. Wether it's because he truly feels bad about it or feels bad about the ruckus it caused is up for debate.

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MisterGrey
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From "Sleazoid Express: A Mind Twisting Tour through the Grindhouse Cinema of Times Square," p. 211-212:

Cannibal Holocaust (1979; Deuce opening 1985) is Ruggero Deodato's answer to "Make Them Die Slowly." It was as if Lenzi [Deodato's filmmaking partner] and Deodato were using the cannibal mode as a gladiator competition to see who could be more disgusting... Cannibal's plot, already derivitive, was later used as a template for the indie horror hit The Blair Witch Project. In it, Rob [Kerman] plays an NYU professor sent to the jungle to investigate the deaths of four young reporters. He meets some natives that think he's God when he plays a tape recording of his voice. They lead him to the remains of the reporters and their film cans...The films Rob watches turn out to be grainy, home-movie quality loops of the Americans committing atrocities and getting killed... Rob spoke of the nightmare of being stuck in the jungle with Deodato. "The guy is a real sadist. He had girls crying to him." However, the nail in the coffin was when Rob say Deodato kill a small animal. "Deodato killed a chipmunk," he recalls, still disgusted two decades later. "I was a drama major, and know special effects. You fill a condom with blood, the animal squirms and looks uncomfortable, an you burst the condom and you can't tell on screen if it got killed or not. The animal is just a little uncomfortable for a few minutes. If you want to be nice, you give him a bath, feed him a meal, and like any other actor, you send him on his way." But this wasn't real enough for Deodato.

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Danger Echidna
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The animal killings in Cannibal Holocaust were indeed genuine, but this was (unfortunately) not an uncommon practice in many of the Italian cannibal movies of this era. The aforementioned "Make Them Die Slowly" (better known in the US as "Cannibal Ferox") also contains multiple animal murders, including that of a crocodile.

As far as the human death and torture, however, it's just all clever fakes (with the exception of some inserted archival footage of a firing squad in Uganda).

In the British made-for-television documentary "Does Snuff Exist?" director Ruggero Deodato discusses his ordeal about being accused of murdering the actors on camera, and even reveals some of the secrets behind many of the special effects, including the infamous impaled native woman.

If you're interested in seeing "Does Snuff Exist?" it is widely traded in the Internet DivX community and is often found on Bittorrent sites and IRC fileservers as well.

[edited to correct grammatical error]

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badlydrawnboy
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I remember reading somewhere, I'm not sure if it was IMDB or not, that Deodato regretted ever making the movie because of all the real animal slayings.
And something about it being shot in a place where the natives really ate the animals, and therefore were really killing them.
Now that I think more about it, it sounds dreamed...

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Angel With Wax Wings
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Like some already said, I bought the DVD just recently and in it there was a little booklet and it said that YES the animals REALLY WERE killed but they WERE eaten. Other then that it's just a movie. The killing the turtle was nasty! Don't wanna see that again.

~Monica

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"Run for five minutes? Why don't you just shoot me now?"--Comic Book Guy (Simpsons)

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