Jungle Holocaust/Review

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Two oil prospectors, Robert (Massimo Foschi) and Rolf (Ivan Rassimov) are led by expedition-pilot, Charlie (Sheik Razak Shikur) along with some random "Chick-in-the-backseat" (Judy Rosly) who are enroute to Malaysia to locate the rest of their crew deep within the mysterious jungle. After a nice landing in a visible field substituting for a landing-strip, the duo of Robert and Rolf are at a loss for words when the rest of the oil crew are nowhere to be seen---Only their tents and various equipment can be found. Major panic ensues when the deteriorated corpse of one of the workers is discovered. "Cannibals!" says Rolf. But since the discovery managed to take up too much time, it's now too dark to fly out. Now stranded and a little freaked out, the group has to spend the night in the plane. But "Chick-in-the-backseat" has no worries about going outside for a pee-break. Nice move, chick. Equally dumb is Charlie who has to go out and try to find her. This causes Robert and Rolf to join along. Within seconds, Charlie finds himself impaled on one of the cannibal booby-traps and Robert and Rolf are already lost in the jungle! But there's a light of hope ahead as they locate a river which could lead upstream back to the site. Again, within seconds (These guys are fast!) a man-made raft is made! Though they did a damn good job of making the raft look nice, it wasn't quite up to snuff and it gets split in two when our river-wild boys make contact with some nasty rapids. Robert & Rolf are now split up and all the focus is now on Robert. Tired and starving, Rob decides to snack on some mushrooms (Sadly, not the GOOD kind) and gets a rude awakening from his 'shroom hangover to find himself surrounded by a clan of natives! Lucky for Rob though, because these guys aren't no cannibals. But they're still "Stone-Age" enough to strip, harass, frolick and embarass the fish-out-of-water who the world used to know as Robert Harper and make him their prisoner. So what do they want with him? He later finds out that they're gonna use him as bait to lure in crocodiles or bigger meat to feast on. Robert makes his move to escape and snatches the only kind female native--And the only good lookin' one, (Me Me Lai) to help him back to the plane and get the hell out of the jungle. But the cannibal clan lies in the way...

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It sure sounds simple and harmless enough, but this being directed by Ruggero Deodato, don't expect this one to be anything nice! This being the first act of his cannibal trilogy, the last being Cut and Run (A mostly action film) the previous being the unforgettable, Cannibal Holocaust (1980) (With it's journalism subject) and JUNGLE HOLOCAUST or Last Cannibal World as I like to call it, is the more adventure-oriented of the trilogy. But it sure as hell is an adventure-movie that pulls no punches. It's no surprise that more animal cruelty shows up in this one, including one of the most vicious I've ever seen involving the skinning of a crocodile...While it's still alive. But interestingly, Deodato claims that the animal-death scenes were forced to be included by his producer and that Deodato was against it. Yet, Deodato was sure in favor in killing some critters in his next follow-up. Perhaps this experience made him a little blood-thirsty? Who knows. Anyway...Back to the movie...One thing I really admire about this movie is the shift of direction it takes. Robert and Rolf are pure chatterboxes when we first hang out with them during the first 15-minutes. But once the breakup occurs, there's a big, long stretch in the middle of the movie where we get treated to an interesting soundtrack displaying nothing but the sounds of exotic animals that you've never heard before along with yells,chants, and screams from foreign native tongues. Plus a few occasional thoughts that are being spoken inside Robert's mind. And speaking of Robert, Massimo Foschi's performance is certainly a daring one. Spending a majority of the movie completely naked and his will for survival certainly shines through. Kudos also goes to the continuity folks who kept making him look just as dirty as you would think he would be all the way to the very end. Believe me, you can smell this guy from your TV and you know it ain't pretty. Though the gore scenes (That is, gore scenes involving special effects) are often far and few between, there's always a gutwrenching payoff whenever they occur. Which includes the aftermath of a native's arm who just went through a hazing, and one of the most eye-opening cannibal-feasts ever seen on film.

All in all, no matter how many times I watch this one, it just always leaves me exhausted. I still stand by my claim that JUNGLE HOLOCAUST is like the MIDNIGHT EXPRESS of cannibal movies!

Reviewed by Laydback

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