Horror fans have a complicated relationship with Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust. It’s often regarded as one of the most horrific films of all time, and it is one of the banned films on Britain’s Video Nasties list. Director Deodato was brought up on obscenity charges, as well as being wrongfully accused of murdering the cast on camera. On the other hand, however, Deodato did film the deaths of multiple animals on-screen and endangered the lives of just about all his crew by breaking many safety protocols.
What fewer people know is that Cannibal Holocaust is part two of a loosely assembled trilogy by Deodato: 1977’s Jungle Holocaust, 1980’s Cannibal Holocaust and 1985’s Cut and Run. Now, however, Deodato has returned with the fourth part of his trilogy. Rather than create a fourth film that breaks international safety protocol, however, this fourth entry will be a video game available on consoles everywhere.
Cannibal Holocaust is an exploitation film from 1980. It focuses on an American documentary crew that goes missing in South America, only to disappear. A scientist goes and finds a tribe of natives, withdrawn from society, holding onto the remains of the documentary crew’s equipment. After managing to gain the tribe’s trust, they surrender the equipment to him.
This leads to the second half of the film, where a television crew and the main protagonist watch the footage they recovered, and watch the final days of the documentary crew as they tried to shoot a powerful motion picture by antagonizing the tribes in violent, brutal ways. The tribe retaliates in turn, brutally murdering and ravaging the documentary crew.
The film is intended to be part social commentary on society’s arrogance and violence, as well as part exploitation grind-house film. The film was deemed so realistic that authorities believed Deodato actually murdered his actors. However, these claims were dispelled when the actors came forward and discussed the making of the film. What wasn’t fake, however, were scenes depicting the brutal death of a turtle, a monkey, a boa constrictor, a tarantula and a pig. The filming itself proved very dangerous for the humans as well, with several shots putting the actors and extras in real danger.
Upon release, it proved so violent that British authorities banned the film. The film is often credited as being one of the first found-footage films, a style later copied by The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity.
Cannibal is being billed as the fourth part of Deodato’s trilogy of cannibal related films. It’s being developed by Fantastico Studios for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. Fantastico Studios has previously developed Black Paradox and Rainbows, Toilets & Unicorns.
According to Fantastico Studios, Cannibal is being produced based on a script from Deodato, and it will have players take control of various characters ” to reveal, little by little, the background that led them to a desperate expedition to the virgin jungles of Borneo.” The game intends to follow in the same vein of the original, honing in on similar themes, such as society’s often hypocritical and cruel side.
While it isn’t uncommon for cult films to receive video game adaptations and spin-offs years after the fact, it is bewildering to find a Cannibal Holocaust game being released on the family-friendly Nintendo Switch. But after you get over that initial jolt of that reaction, the game becomes even stranger.
Fantastico Studios has, so far, developed fast-paced shooters and rogue-likes. Cannibal, by contrast, is an interactive horror game with remarkably different styles of gameplay. It seems odd that Deodato would join up with a studio known for fast paced fun games for his slow-moving, puzzle-solving nightmare game. That’s not to say that Fantastico Studios can’t manage to create an adaptation, but it just seems like an odd fit.
On top of that, Deodato has remained mostly retired for awhile now. He has directed just five films in the last thirty years, none of which have received a major release. It just seems odd that Deodato would try to relaunch his career in such a manner as this in a medium he’s never worked on. While horror fans might be hesitant already to return to this controversial horror classic, the fact the sequel is being produced in this medium raises more questions than answers.
Cannibal Holocaust horrified audiences back in 1980. For its fortieth anniversary, the franchise is receiving an unconventional fourth installment.