My plan was to sit down and watch the modern, somewhat spoof movie ‘Isle of the Damned’ which I thought was poking fun at the Lucio Fulci zombie flicks from back in the day, but when the movie started and opened with the narration about some kind of lost footage of some film crew or whatnot I realized that this was actually more along the lines of the Deodato Cannibal films. Problem is I hadn’t actually seen any of those, though I do own them. I have a huge exploitation collection by the way. So I shut the movie off and decide I should probably watch ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, despite the vehement protestations of my boy Pete who claims to be scarred for life watching that particular film. But I also own this movie Jungle Holocaust which predates Cannibal Holocaust so what the hell, lets just make it a three day cannibalism film festival.
Massimo Foschi is American business man Robert Harper who the opening title credits inform us saw some bad things in this jungle that he and his crew are about to descend into. Even though I just saw this movie yesterday I can’t actually remember what entrepreneurial opportunities this jungle possessed for Mr. Harper that caused him to send a crew down and then follow this crew in his little bi-plane with his own crew, but I sure hope it was worth it. This crew would consist of Harper’s best friend and colleague Rolf, as played by FCU favorite Ivan Rassimov, buffoonish pilot Charlie (Sheik Razak Shikur) and finally the lady Swan (Judy Rosly) who as far as I can tell serves absolutely no purpose outside of giving these cannibals we will soon meet some estrogen to go along with their testosterone steaks.
It doesn’t take long for our crew to realize that something is terribly, terribly wrong as the previous crew’s radio is busted, the camp is abandoned and blood is all over the place. Time to jump back in the plane and get the hell outta there. But that’s just me talking. Instead it is time for Robert to freak the hell out and go running into the jungle like a complete idiot. If he hadn’t done this then the sun wouldn’t have fallen and Charlie would have been able to fly them out right then, but Charlie can’t fly in the dark. F’ that, we’re letting the stars guide us Charlie, but that’s just me talking.
Now our crew has to spend the night in the plane and take off first thing in the morning, but Swan has to pee. Goodbye Swan. She’ll go good with the vichyssoise. Morning comes and it’s time to start the plane and get the hell outta there… but of course that just me talking because they have decided to back into the jungle and look for Swan. Idiots. Ultimately Robert will be all alone and after having a reallybad reaction to a mushroom finds himself the captive of some locals, but I don’t believe these locals are the cannibal tribe, they’re just nuts.
The rest of Jungle Holocaust consists of Robert dealing with his personal hell as a captive of these locals who will slap him, beat him, piss on him, throw rocks at him and punch at his junk until he finally escapes while taking the one pretty native with him as a hostage or something. The thing about this pretty native is that her nether regions are manicured very nicely and she has breast implants. Which one of these natives practices plastic surgery and waxing on the side? It’s going be a perilous trip to freedom for Robert and his new girlfriend, via rape because apparently that’s how they get down at that tribe, because eventually they will encounter the cannibal tribe which has eaten the majority of Robert’s employees. Good look Rob.
I must say that Deodato has created a really, really strange movie with ‘Jungle Holocaust’, especially after watching ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ because despite the outrage associated with ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ it is much more of a ‘standard’ movie than this one is. This is less a cannibal exploitation flick and more along the lines of a man’s emotional struggle against himself and his environment. As we mentioned earlier the bulk of this movie is observing Massimo Foschi just trying to survive. There’s not a lot of dialog and Foschi should be commended for the performance he put forth considering what Deodato put him through in shooting this movie. Personally, once I read the script and got the part about various tribe members flicking at my ballsack, me and my director are going to have some words.
When we aren’t dealing with Robert getting pissed on or raping jungle girls, Deodato gives us various scenes of the harshness of the order of life in nature as we get to see various animals do what they need to do to survive which I guess is suppose to mirror Robert doing what he needed to do to survive. There was also the scene of our natives gutting a live alligator, heart still beating even though it was cut wide open which symbolized… hell if know. I believe he did this simply because he could, and he would explore this particular ‘technique’ to a much greater extent in ‘Cannibal Holocaust’.
But is Jungle Holocaust a good movie? No… not really. It tends to get tedious at times and even though Foschi gave an admirable performance I really didn’t feel connected to or concerned about his plight, plus I already knew from the start that he was going to make it which took away most of the suspense. Ivan Rassimov, for whatever reason, seemed to make this movie better whenever he was in it, possibly because his Rolf was a more sympathetic character than Robert Harper, plus Foschi seemed to work better actually playing off of someone else as opposed to having to play against his environment.
‘Jungle Holocaust’ is a different kind of movie that’s for sure but one that leaves me in the fog about exactly how I feel about it. Didn’t have that problem with ‘Cannibal Holocaust’. Believe that.