Cannibal Holocaust (1979)

Italy, 1979
86m 3s (UK – video), 95m, 96m
35mm, Eastmancolor
mono, English, French, Yanomamani

An Italian cannibal film directed by Ruggero Deodato. It suffered severe censorship in many parts of the world and was seized by magistrates in it’s native Italy who demanded proof that the people seen in the film weren’t really killed. It was subsequently banned in many territories (it joined the “video nasties” list in the UK though was subsequently released on DVD, albeit heavily cut) but has nevertheless proved very influential, not only on the European cannibal films that followed in its wake but on such films as The Blair Witch Project (1999). Although not sold as such, the American Welcome to the Jungle (2007) is virtually a remake, featuring a similar “found footage” conceit and several almost identical sequences.

Plot Summary

A team of young documentarians disappears while on a shoot in the South American jungles. A rescue team fails to find the missing film-makers but recovers their reels of film. As the footage is assembled a horrific portrait of life among the cannibal natives of the Amazon begins to emerge – but even worse is the portrayal of the missing film-makers whose callous behaviour looks to have sparked the savagery in the first place…


Directed by: Ruggero Deodato
© [not given on screen]
Franco Palaggi and Franco Di Nunzio present a Ruggero Deodato film. An F.D. Cinematografica production
In Charge of Production: Giovanni Masini
Story and Screenplay: Gianfranco Clerici
Director of Photography: Sergio D’Offizi
Film Editor: Vincenzo Tomassi
Music Composed and Conducted by: Riz Ortolani
Sound Engineer: Raul Montesanti
Wardrobe: Lucia Costantini
Make Up: Massimo Giustini
Special Effects: Aldo Gasparri
Production Designer: Antonello Geleng
Interiors filmed at De Paolis – INCIR Studios
Locations: Empire State Building, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA; New York City, New York, USA [all uncredited]

Robert Kerman [Professor Monroe]
Francesca Ciardi [Faye Daniels]
Perry Pirkanen [Alan Yates]
Luca Giorgio Barbareschi [Mark Tommaso]
Salvatore Basile [Chako]
Ricardo Fuentes
Gabriel Yorke
Paolo Paoloni
Pio Di Savoia
Luigina Rocchi

Alternative Titles

Cannibal Massaker
Cannibale Omega
Holocausto Canibal – Spain
Jungle Holocaust – USA
Nackt und der Fleischt Cannibal – Germany
Nackt und zerfleischt – Germany

Welcome to the Jungle (2007)

See also
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Green Inferno (2013)

Production Notes

Production began on 4 June 1979

It was first released in Rome and Milan in Italy on 8 February 1980.

In March 1980, all prints of the film in Milan were ordered to be confiscated by state prosecutor Nicola Cerrato. Reporting the ruling, British trade journal Screen International said that Cerrato deemed the film to be “offensive to public morality since it contained scenes of particular violence showing sado-masochism, cannibalism and bestiality.”



  • Delirium no.2 – credits
  • L’Écran Fantastique no.19 (1981) pp.70-71 – illustrated interview
  • Foreign Sales, Italian Movie Trade vol.5 no.10 (October 1979) p.54 – credits
  • Foreign Sales, Italian Movie Trade vol.5 no.12 (December 1979) p.22 – news item (United Artists Spearhead: Cannibal Holocaust)
  • Interzone no.236 (September/October 2011) p.62 – review (by Tony Lee)
  • Is It Uncut? no.5 p.23 – article
  • Is It Uncut? no.6 pp.10-11 – article
  • Rivista del Cinematografo vol.54 no.2/3 (February/March 1981) p.122 – credits
  • Screen International no.234 (29 March-5 April 1980) p.9 – note (World desk news: Italy by Judith Slatin)
  • Variety 24 October 1979 p.50 – note
  • Variety 19 June 1985 p.26 – credits, review (by Lor)


  • The Chronicle Telegram (Elyria, Ohio) 3 October 2003 p.37 – review (Art House Films by Steve Fogarty)
  • The Daily Gleaner 4 May 1983 p.5 – review (How low have the mighty fallen! by Michael Reckord)


  • Cannibal Holocaust and the Savage Cinema of Ruggero Deodato by Harvey Fenton, Julian Grainger and Gian Luca Castoldi – credits, synopsis, review
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.200, 369, 370
  • Hoffman’s Guide to SF, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.61 – credits
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films III by Donald C. Willis p.41
  • Horror Films by Subgenre: A Viewer’s Guide by Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay pp.90-91
  • Introduction to Japanese Horror Film by Colette Balmain p.114
  • Italian Horror 1979-1994 by Jim Harper pp.63-65 – illustrated credits, review
  • Killing for Culture: An Illustrated History of Death Film from Mondo to Snuff by David Kerekes and David Slater pp.64-71, 231, 329 – illustrated article
  • The Seduction of the Gullible by John Martin p.43-45 – illustrated synopsis, review

Other Sources

  • Sex, Shocks and Sadism p.19 – review