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Cannibal Holocaust (1980) – Episode 176 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“I wonder who the real cannibals are.” Are there faux cannibals? Join your faithful Grue-Crew – Crystal Cleveland, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they, maybe not so wisely, take on Cannibal Holocaust (1980), the film often referred to as the most controversial movie ever made.

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 176 – Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

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Harold Monroe, an anthropologist from New York University, leads a rescue team into the Amazon rainforest to locate a crew of filmmakers. The crew had gone missing while filming a documentary on local cannibal tribes. When the rescue team is only able to recover the crew’s lost cans of film, an American television station wishes to broadcast the footage as a sensationalized television special. Upon viewing the reels, Monroe is appalled by the team’s actions and objects to the station’s intent to air the documentary.


Bill chose Cannibal Holocaust as the 1970s Grue-Crew’s viewing “pleasure” for this episode even though he doesn’t like the film. In fact, there’s a lot he despises about the movie, but he also thinks it’s a brilliant masterpiece and there are parts of him that love it, it’s so manipulative. It frightened the hell out of Chad, and not in a good way. He knew the animal deaths were real which made him question whether or not the violence to humans was real. It’s a very difficult watch for him, although he understands its importance and influence on other filmmakers. Crystal is not bothered by the gore in Cannibal Holocaust. She adds that although no one can justify the making of Cannibal Holocaust, it can be put into context. The music was very unsettling for Jeff, making the film that much more disturbing. What bothered him the most was the relish with which the characters slaughter animals and assault the indigenous people.

Cannibal Holocaust is not for everyone, or even, not for most people. It is, however, very influential and is one of the earliest movies to incorporate a found footage concept. If you insist on seeing Cannibal Holocaust, it is currently streaming on Shudder and is available on Blu-ray from Grindhouse Releasing.

Every two weeks, Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1980s podcast will cover another horror film from the 1980s. The next episode’s film, chosen by Crystal, will be David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (1988). You won’t want to miss that one!

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Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.