Cannibal Holocaust vs Cannibal Ferox (1980 and 1981) Double Film Review: A Battle of the Cannibals

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Cannibal Holocaust is the most famous, some would say infamous, cannibal film out there. It is known for scenes of extreme violence and such realistic gore that some people couldn’t tell the real from the fake. It was banned in numerous countries for years, due to scenes of real violence towards animals and shocking scenes of torture towards humans. Made in 1980, it is the film that stands out among the Italian cannibal films of the seventies and eighties. It also spawned numerous attempts, after its release, by filmmakers to go above and beyond its disturbing factor.

I have a great respect for this film’s place in cinematic history. The first time I saw it was 1997. I purchased a bootleg VHS copy at a comic book convention. Being a young kid, I wanted to see it because I heard it was the most disturbing film of all time. At that time there was no other way to get films of this caliber, so the bootleg route was the best way for a high school kid to see it. So when I got it home, I was pumped. I ended up watching it and being totally put off by it. I grew up hunting in the Michigan forests and the animal violence in this film was somehow still very disturbing to me. I also did not know a lot about film history, so I did not have the appreciation for it that I do today.

Since those days, I have watched this film streaming on Hulu and seen multiple DVD versions. I am always fascinated by the fact that it is probably the violence towards animals that makes most people sick. This no longer bothers me, but I understand the sentiment. The violence towards animals in the film is real. People are disgusted when they see the real pain in animals as they wriggle around and take their last breaths. I’m not saying I like it, but it is the way of nature. The people disturbed by this probably shouldn’t watch films about the mass production of meat products they buy in their grocery store every single day.

The bottom line is that this is an important film. I give it a 9/10 because of its groundbreaking nature. It is important in the world of horror, exploitation, cannibal, and found footage films. Without it, we would be missing out on tons of cinematic gems in numerous sub-genres filmmaking. 

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Cannibal Ferox is the second best cannibal exploitation film ever made. It is a close second, but second nonetheless. It has recently been released in beautiful Blu-ray format and is looking like a must-own film. I have not seen the film in high-definition, but can’t wait for that opportunity. Many very knowledgeable film reviewers absolutely love this new version.

As a debate, the question of holocaust vs. ferox comes up frequently. I believe that many of the people out there arguing for ferox are just doing it in spite of holocaust. Like Rob Zombie and Metallica, holocaust may just be a film that is cool to hate on for a while. I appreciate these people though. They are arguing for another great film that many people may not know about. I feel like this helps get the word out there. There are after all, even outside of these two films, many great films in the cannibal genre.

I give Cannibal Ferox an 8/10. It has scenes of violence that definitely rival holocaust. The acting is better at times and the strong plot is there. Sometimes I’m even in the mood to argue for aspects of this film that seem to make it better than its predecessor. I have come to the decision, probably while writing this review, that this film only gets an 8 because it came out after holocaust. If it came out first and I didn’t look at it as an attempt at a remake, I may very well be considering it the most important cannibal film of all time.

Go ahead and vote for your favorite in the comment section below.

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7 thoughts on “Cannibal Holocaust vs Cannibal Ferox (1980 and 1981) Double Film Review: A Battle of the Cannibals”

  1. Holocaust is for sure #1, but some of the brutality displayed in Ferox (the dick chopping scene comes to mind) actually stands out more to me when i think about the two films. Solid write up of some true genre classics.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love them both, but honestly I’d generally rather be more geared towards watching Ferox on any given day as I just love the movie and its silly nature, score, plot etc. Holocaust is definitely the better film, however, in story, direction, and the original style that it created with the whole found footage thing. It’s just a much darker and more intense film in my opinion which does make it hard to stomach. And while I get what you’re saying about the animal killings, I’m actually opposite in my feelings toward them. When I saw these movies at the age of 19-21 I really wasn’t disturbed by the animal stuff and actually stupidly argued for it’s place in the film (via cencorship sucks! Lol) whereas now while I recognize this is part of what makes these movies what they are and secures their place in cinema, I think it’s completely unnecessary to show in an entertainment way and will skip through most of those scenes when watching the movies. The fully unut pig scene that’s on the new Ferox Blu is quite paparticularly appalling. But anyway that’s just my two cents!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That turtle scene fucked me up when I first watched Cannibal Holocaust. Great movie, though. Cannibal Ferox is manic in all it’s ferociousness. I thought it would pale in comparison to Holocaust, but, no, hell, no!
    I miss the good old days of heading to conventions, and checking out bootlegs. There were good times then. And no-one complained about quality. I remember getting a fourth generation boot of Nekromantik. It was so difficult to watch because of the graininess, and wobbling. But, it made it more effective. And, on the plus side, after the movie there was an added bonus of Animal Farm.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Who’s to say which is the best. Holocaust is is the most innovative and has the best plot. But on the other hand Ferox is the most entertaining and is more easily rewatchable. So it’s simply a matter of preference.

    Liked by 1 person

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