I have sort of a love-hate relationship with horror movies. Truth be told, I love them mostly in theory, when I don't have to endure the scary stuff or the gory stuff or the haunting stuff that keeps me up nights afterward. But as a fan of zombie films, and Italian horror in particular, I really kind of embrace all of that stuff, be it in Dario Argento's creepy thrillers or Lucio Fulci's gross-out odysseys. But there is one film in particular that no matter how intrigued I am about its contents, no matter how much I'm interested in catching up with the rest of the horror-loving community, that I simply cannot, and will not watch: Cannibal Holocaust.
I've only seen one Ruggero Deodato film, House on the Edge of the Park, and despite the fact that its director was in attendance at the screening I attended, I was not particularly entertained. It crossed the line between provocation and exploitation, and aside from the lithe presence of softcore star Annie Belle, it was a generally crass and misogynist chronicle of two guys holding a group of socialites hostage. But I'd sworn off Cannibal Holocaust long before I saw House on the Edge of the Park, because, quite frankly, I actually saw some of it, albeit in still-photograph form, and it messed me the hell up. This is a film where, according to what I've heard, sexual assault is low on its list of egregious offenses to good taste. Genitals are mutilated, people are flayed, impaled and dismembered, and worst of all, real animals are killed. Oh yeah, and apparently there's cannibalism in it, too.
The film's trivia page on the IMDB would have you believe that Deodato repented for his cinematic sins and has since apologized for making the film. I'm not altogether surprised given the fact that the film was banned in 50 countries, and the director was brought up on murder charges until he proved that his cast did indeed survive their brush with a cannibalistic cult. But for this gorehound, the prospect of watching people ripped apart in a realistic fashion, and then watching animals get ripped apart for real, is just too much, even if Deodato and his crew had something more serious or meaningful to say amidst all of the death and dismemberment.