Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cannibal Holocaust Essay Contest:Entry #3

By Eric Polk-
Sup Reaps! Our third entry into the Cannibal Holocaust essay contest belongs to The Real Cie. While she has not seen this movie, she does have strong opinions regarding the use of animal cruelty and rape that you may find interesting.

Regarding Cannibal Holocaust, I haven't seen the film. As someone who was sexually assaulted myself, I don't know if I could watch the graphic depictions of rape. It might well be too triggering. From the reviews I've read by the talented writers on the Dollar Bin Horror site, the film makes important points.

The use of actual animals is, in my opinion, fairly well inexcusable. My great-grandfather was a butcher. He would have been appalled by the killing of animals for sensationalism and shock value. He would also be appalled by factory farming. He believed that livestock should always be treated humanely.

I don't think that most people are actually that keen on animal cruelty. I would prefer to think that it's a twisted minority who actually get off on such things. However, as an admin for a page on Facebook dedicated to improving the lives of animals in need, I've seen some things that make me wonder how many people actually get a twisted thrill out of seeing living creatures tortured and mutilated. I'll be haunted for the rest of my life by the images I've seen of the unfortunate animals used in "crush" videos. It makes me sick.

It seems that many people enjoy realistic depictions of violence and gore, but most do not want the activity to be real. For example, the band Skinny Puppy has taken a hard stance against animal experimentation. During one show, they performed a mock vivisection of a realistic veterinary model of a dog. Some people believed that the dog was real and called the police. The members of the band were arrested for disorderly conduct.

Cannibal Holocaust apparently touches on some very important and disturbing points about human nature. How far will people go if they are in a situation where they have power over others? Certainly there are cases where settlers in new territories raped and killed native people. During war, invading troops have been known to rape and kill civilians.

Although the film was made before the advent of cell phone cameras, I think it touches on the mindset of those who film themselves raping or brutalizing their victims. These individuals want their performances to be immortalized. If individuals who lack empathy are placed into situations where they have power over others, it is very likely that they will abuse those in a vulnerable position.

One of the features of an antisocial or sociopathic personality is the belief that they are justified in doing whatever they want to do. This, rather than stupidity, would explain why some people film themselves engaging in acts of violence against others. The idea that they should be punished for their actions is foreign to them. They see their victims as less than human, as not mattering in the grand scheme of things.

Cannibal Holocaust perhaps reveals the attitudes of so called civilized persons towards people in less developed societies as sociopathic. The civilized person sees themselves as superior to the primitive. If a person lacks basic empathy, they may have disdain for the primitives, and, seeing them as less than human, believe that there is nothing wrong with doing to them whatever they may see fit.

How far will people go given a certain level of power over others? How far will people go to immortalize themselves? It would seem that Cannibal Holocaust poses these questions. I believe that the answer lies in whether or not a person possesses empathy. If one has a sociopathic personality, there is likely no limit to which they won’t go for power and perceived glory.

The question was posed: Should Cannibal Holocaust be revered or reviled? Perhaps Cannibal Holocaust offers an unsettlingly accurate view into the dark side of the human psyche. The film may, overall, have an important message. However, I feel that they went too far in their method of delivering said message. There was no need to include the actual killings of animals for shock value. Thus, I argue that it should be reviled. The message could have been effectively delivered without such vile actions being taken.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You may feel a little better knowing two things about the animal kills (these were the only reasons I was able to console myself with after watching it): 1. During filming they used actual tribes from the area in which they filmed and all of the animals used (2 monkeys, a pig, a turtle, and something I can't pronounce) were given to the tribes as food after filming. I am somewhat comforted in the fact that they didn't just kill for the sake of killing, that the animal was used for food. 2. The director now regrets the animal kills.