Director – Ruggero Deodato
Cast – Massimo Foschi, Me Me Lai, Ivan Rassimov, Sheik Razak Shikur, Judy Rosly
Release Year – 1977
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Before solidifying himself eternally in the horror genre with his highly controversial 1980 effort Cannibal Holocaust, Italian director Ruggero Deodato gave us his first cannibal film in 1977 with Jungle Holocaust(aka Last Cannibal World), a film nearly as controversial and nearly as good as his famed Cannibal Holocaust. Much more than the usual gore and sensual cannibal film, Jungle Holocaust relies more on human elements that other cannibal films, and after viewing this awesome film I believe it to be the second greatest cannibal film of all time, behind Cannibal Holocaust of course.
When oil prospector Robert Harper and his buddy Rolf experience a botched plane landing in the Philippines islands while searching for land to develop, they stumble upon a dark kept secret inhabiting the island: a stone-age cannibal tribe who after devouring their guides plan to make the two friends their next meal. The explorers manage to evade the cannibals, but when they are separated Robert is caught by the tribe and subjected to their torment. He manages to escape his entrapment with the help of a young girl from the tribe, but as he tries to locate Rolf and find their plane he must deal with a very angry cannibal tribe who has used the jungle for eons to devour human flesh.
Boy am I glad I saw this film. After being somewhat disappointed with The Mountain of the Cannibal God and even Cannibal Ferox(both films that lost steam in the end) I have learned that I can always count on Ruggero Deodato to deliver some fantastic cannibal action. The film’s three writers waste little time getting us to the cannibal action, and for the most part this paid off given the film never slowed down too much. I will admit that things slowed down during the second act, but the story stayed interested and that was enough to keep me from balking at the slower pacing. The idea of people getting lost or stranded in a cannibal-infested jungle is not a new idea, but as with all cannibal films I welcome it with open arms because simply put…I love these plots. What I really loved though about this watch was that it was not the usual cannibal film with sleazy sex scenes and mindless dialogue, but in fact it delved into the character of Robert Harper as he was forced to deal with his impending doom waiting for him around every corner. Constant creative developments aid this awesome idea, as well as the film’s pacing, and the awesomeness does not stop there thanks to the numerous gore-soaked kills written into the film.
Ruggero Deodato does a fantastic job with his execution of this film, and while it came off cheezy at times it was mostly due to the film’s minimal budget and not his lack of directing ability. From the get-go he sets up perfect atmosphere with the film’s awesome sets, which do not come merely as tropical jungle environment but include the usage of a spooky cave system that was used to the utmost potential. His execution of our characters was positive as well, and while our lead actors did well as the film’s protagonists, the execution of the cannibals was very well done, eliminating most of them from Razzie contention. We get some fantastic gore scenes thrown in as well, and just like Cannibal Holocaust this watch includes some controversial scenes involving the killing of real animals, and in pretty gruesome fashion if you ask me. Do I condone the killing of the animals? No, not really(I don’t know all of the details, and never will). Did I balk at the scenes though? No, I did not. In fact, I found that they did everything that Deodato needed them to do, provide high levels of shock-value, something I can always appreciate.
Overall, Jungle Holocaust is one of the best cannibal films ever made due to Deodato’s fantastic direction along with a storyline that gives much more than nearly all other cannibal films have to offer. If you enjoy cannibal flicks then this is a must-watch from the maestro of cannibal films that is sure to give you what you are looking for, just so long as it consists of gore/nudity/cheeze/shock.