Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Art, Violence, and Honesty

I was asked to write a piece about my favourite horror film a while back, i cheated a bit.

It also partially explains some of the underlying motivation in creating Mission from God


NickH said...

Thanks for this piece, it's very well-written and thought out.

In all honesty, while I am exhilarated by horror different mediums, "Cannibal Holocaust" remains as possibly the one work on which I feel deeply conflicted. On the most basic level, I endorse the deeply unnerving atmosphere created by the direction, film stock and score - then of course, the simulated sequences of violence & rape [unless you're trying to impress by being unaffected] are enough to drop someone to their knees.
As you've probably anticipated, it was the actual transgression into animal cruelty that personally, I can't abide. it will always be stomach churning to me; my response of shock & anger deepened as I asked, "These bastards maimed & killed for their fucking *movie?*"

I then realised that within what passes as the narrative & by the sadistic shattering of the 4th wall, the film perhaps (all too well) shows how low humanity can sink. While I can't claim any aesthetic love of it, I have fleeting moments of grim... awe?... at how the film makers actually pushed & leapt over the boundaries. I also simultaneously doubt whether I'd be bothered if their crew had vanished in the damn jungle...

PLEASE don't see this as my condemning anyone who does find worth in "Cannibal Holocaust," more than what I can get behind. Strokes, folks etc. When I first checked out Survivalist after getting into tEB, the film of course leapt out at me off the profile. For artists who confront humanity & ugliness in what they create, I suppose it's quite congruent.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents. While I'm "glad" to have seen CH for myself, I won't hurry to do so again. But I can definitely see why it's multilayered assault is far more compelling than most of the Italian cannibal/splatter exploitation films of the era. While I may not "like" it, it certainly provoked real horror in me.

PS. I watched it along with the sequel with some horror movie fundi-friends. It sucked, but I was grateful for the relative laugh after the first fucked my mind.

Pure said...

Great read. I't is upsetting that cannibal holocaust gets dismissed as just a gore film. The soundtrack alone is a masterpiece, up there with goblins work on dawn of the dead as one of my favourite scores. Henrey portrait of a serial killer is for me one of the most disturbing films chronicle total disregard for life, without any of the maniac clich├ęs usually associated with the subject matter.
Glad someone else thinks rope is Hitchcock's best work.