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Cannibal holocaust piranha scene

One of the surviving stills of the scene.

Cannibal holocaust piranha scene alt angle

An alternate angle of the scene. Note the piranhas hanging from the flesh of the leg.

Cannibal Holocaust is a controversial 1980 Italian film directed by Ruggero Deodato. The film tells the story about a missing documentary crew that was filming cannibal tribes in the Amazon. New York University anthropologist Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman) is sent on an expedition to track down the missing crew. He manages to recover the film crew's lost cans of film, which an American broadcast station wishes to broadcast. Upon viewing the film reels, Monroe is appalled by the disturbing actions of the film crew and urges the station not to broadcast the documentary.

The film's use of "found footage" was unique and is considered to have influenced the found footage genre of horror films, seen in such films as The Blair Witch Project.

Cannibal Holocaust aroused a great deal of controversy not only due to its graphic violence, but due to the on-screen killings of live animals, sexual assault, and snuff film allegations that managed to land the film's director in jail on obscenity charges and possible murder. The film was banned in Italy, Australia, Norway and many other countries due to its content, though some bans have since been lifted.

Among the many gruesome scenes in the film, another one was scripted that is commonly dubbed the Piranha Scene. In this scene, a lone Shamatari warrior, injured in battle, was to have his leg amputated by warriors of the Yanomamo tribe. The tribe would then tie the Shamatari warrior to a log and lower him into piranha-infested waters, slowing being eaten alive by the fearsome fish.

Filming for the scene did commence, but was never completed due to the piranhas being difficult to control and the film crew's underwater camera was malfunctioning. The scene was scrapped entirely and only production stills exist. It was rumored that the scene was included in several obscure foreign video releases, but this has proven to be false. The whereabouts of the surviving footage, if any, is unknown.

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