The Ultra-Violent Found Footage Horror On Streaming That Predates The Blair Witch Project

By Christopher Isaac | Published

cannibal holocaust

If you are a fan of found footage movies, you have probably seen all the most famous ones: Cloverfield, REC, Paranormal Activity,and of course The Blair Witch Project. The latter is often cited as being the movie that created the genre. However, what you might not know, is that found footage films actually existed for quite a while before The Blair Witch Project. In fact, the movie actually credited with creating the genre came out nearly 20 years prior: Cannibal Holocaust.

Cannibal Holocaust

cannibal holocaust

Released in 1980, Cannibal Holocaust is infamous for being just as violent and disturbing as the title would suggest. It follows an anthropologist accompanying a rescue crew who are looking to find out what happened to a documentary team that was last seen on an island known to be inhabited by cannibals.

They eventually encounter the native tribe that last saw the documentary team and the tribe still has the film reels that the team was using to record everything. The rescue crew retrieves the reels and the audience is given a first person look at what became of the team.

So Real, It Landed The Director In Jail

cannibal holocaust

To say Cannibal Holocaust is gory would be an understatement. When it was first released, many people genuinely believed it was an actual snuff film. People were so convinced what was depicted was real, that the movie’s director, Ruggero Deodato, was actually charged with murder under the belief he had killed actors during production.

The actors involved had signed agreements not to appear in any media for a year following the film’s release to lend credence to its authenticity. But facing potential prison time, Deodato proved his innocence in court by voiding those agreements and having the actors show up to demonstrate it was all just a fictional movie.

Animal Cruelty

However, part of what makes Cannibal Holocaust remain so infamous is that it was only the violence against the humans in the movie that was faked. The movie also notoriously features a variety of animals that were genuinely killed on screen.

This includes the likes of a monkey getting its head chopped in half, and a brutal decapitation scene of a giant turtle. This was part of what led to the movie being banned in many countries around the world for years. To this day, Cannibal Holocaust is still banned in countries like New Zealand.

A Strong Influence

cannibal holocaust

Even knowing which portions of the film are real versus fake, the entire movie is a difficult watch. For even the most enthusiastic horror fans, Cannibal Holocaust will likely have some sobering scenes that will stick with you. And for fans of the found footage genre, this gives you a glimpse of history as to how movies like The Blair Witch Project were influenced.

Available To Stream

Despite the countries that Cannibal Holocaust has been banned in, it is still readily available to watch via multiple methods today. In 2022 it received a new 4K Ultra HD physical release. However, you can also find it through streaming via such services as Peacock. If you are in the mood for an unsettling watch, check out the movie that started the found footage genre and that was so violent it nearly put its director in prison.