BRUNO MATTEI WEEK: Mondo Cannibal (2004)

If there’s something that all cannibal movies seem to have in common — beyond scenes where white people mistreat the native populace, real animal atrocities and copious levels of gore — it’s the idea that mass media is the root of most of the modern world’s issues. Italian exploitation filmmakers were several decades ahead of the mistrust of what many would call fake news today and their human beings devouring human beings offerings often placed documentary filmmakers or network television reporters as the reason why all of this chaos is taking place. The natives were just fine doing their rituals and eating random folks in the jungle. The white people bring cocaine and their modern perversions into the unspoiled green inferno, ruining everything.

Somehow, 24 years after Cannibal Holocaust, a 73-year-old Bruno Mattei — using his Vincent Dawn alter ego — would find himself in the jungle trying to bring back the sick feeling you get in your stomach when mass media goes to places that they should have known better to avoid.

Grace Forsyte (Helena Wagner in the only role of her career) was once a big deal in the world of television journalism, but the fickle whims of fate have cast her into the pile of the also-rans. She decides to reverse her fortunes by heading into the belly of the beast and capturing Amazon cannibals on video along with another once-famous telejournalist named Bob Manson (Claudio Morales, who was also in Mattei’s A Shudder on the Skin and Orient Escape).

The footage that they send back gets big ratings and makes them both stars again, but the TV news industry runs on blood, so they’re forced to get increasingly violent and horrifying images to continue getting those big numbers.

Look, this movie is also called Cannibal Holocaust: The Beginning and Cannibal Holocaust 2: The Beginning, so Mattei wasn’t even trying to hide what he was trying to do here. It’s a shot on digital video cover version of that film, along with a hilarious subtitle typo (some mouths later instead of some months) and a lot less real animal violence.

This was shot at the same time as In the Land of the Cannibals with much of the same crew. Is that one any better? Look for the review soon.

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