For most of us, the usual Valentine’s Day activities either include a romantic, candlelight dinner for two, or periodic rants on Facebook and/or Twitter about the capitalist agenda and false sentimentality of the ‘so-called’ holiday. This year, however, Mondo and the Alamo Drafthouse are shaking things up and providing a new way to spend the day; an “anti-Valentine's Day” event, full of guts, brains, and vinyl. Mondo has teamed up with the Alamo Drafthouse to present one of the most ingenious and demented events of the year: for one night only, the people of Austin will have the chance to sample a four-course meal — including thinly sliced pickled tongue, turtle soup, human stew, and monkey brains — while watching Ruggero Deodato’s notorious 1980 gore film, Cannibal Holocaust. A film enshrouded by its infamy and previously banned and/or censored in over 50 countries, it is perhaps the most controversial horror film. Called everything from enlightened social commentary to revolting and cruel exploitation, love it or hate it, Cannibal Holocaust is one of a handful of titles that elicits a strong, visceral response two decades following its release.
The big news comes with the announcement that after 25 years, Riz Ortolani’s original score for the film will finally be released on vinyl to coincide with the event (as well as offered online through MondoTees.com). While the late Ortolani’s work entered the mainstream consciousness through appearances in Quentin Tarantino’s films, he was an iconic figure in the Italian genre and exploitation scene. Cannibal Holocaust is one of his most masterful scores. It is an eclectic composition that runs through different stylistic and thematic movements. Far from the typical dark, brooding aesthetic characterized by conventional horror scores, Ortolani’s vision is almost schizophrenic in its juxtaposition between eerie synths and classical orchestrations. The final product is one that typifies his entire discography, a blending of the Spaghetti Western and Horror.
Now that Mondo has teamed with Death Waltz Recording Company, there relly isn’t a better home for this record. They have given the record the treatment it deserves, “green inferno” 180 gram colored vinyl, packaged in a thick gatefold sleeve, with newly commissioned artwork by graphic and comic book artist Jock (Batman). Like most things Mondo — and with no original predecessor — it is hard to imagine that these records will last long.
"To kickoff the launch of the Cannibal Holocaust vinyl we reached deep into the reservoir of the most insane screening ideas we've ever had and came up with a Valentine's Day feast to celebrate a horror movie that gives horror fans pause. This is truly an anti-Valentine's Day event and one we'd recommend if you're looking for an easy way to break up with a significant other but can't muster the courage to do it via text," said Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael. While the four-course meal will only be served up for those in attendance at the flagship Drafthouse located in Austin, Cannibal Holocaust will be screening at Alamo Drafthouse locations nationwide to kick off their Mondo x Chiller screening series.
Noisey: You refer to Cannibal Holocaust as the ‘holy grail of gore films,’ additionally it safe to say that the score is also among one of the most desired scores to reach vinyl. What was the process like getting this lined up?
Justin Ishmael: Cannibal Holocaust has a notorious reputation, not just because it’s gory (since truthfully it has long since been outmatched in that category) but also because at the time people actually thought it was real. And even though the found footage technique is no longer novel, Cannibal Holocaust feels unsafe in a way that even the most extreme horror films do not. We had always wanted to do a poster for the film and when we started doing music, this was very high on the list of dream scores. We hounded the rights owners to get the license and the answer would either be flat out “no” or it would cost too much money – there was always some obstacle. And then when we finally got the license, I would say it took at least two years to make this thing a reality.
Can you share a little about how the menu was created?
We knew we wanted to do this as a Valentine’s Day event, in the mold of traditional Alamo Drafthouse feast events for the holiday that they’ve done for movies like Gone with the Windor Casablanca, but with the twist that it would be a cannibal feast. We worked with the Alamo Drafthouse chefs, Spencer Hickman from Death Waltz and Alamo CEO Tim League to select the actual dishes for the night. Another key element is the timing for some of the courses, which will mirror the horror on screen in fun ways.
How do you anticipate people will react to the meals and the visual accompaniment?
This is an excellent question! There have been movies where I’ve very distinctly thought to myself there’s no way I could eat anything while watching right now. And If you’re being served Turtle Soup while turtles are being cut open, I don’t know how folks will react – but we’ve tasted the food and it’s delicious! I’m going on Saturday, so I’ll see first hand.
I love the artwork. With a release like this, I am sure you had your run of artists willing and ready to contribute, what was it about Jock's style that made him your choice?
Jock’s involvement is entirely due to his love for the movie. When I first started talking to Jock about working with Mondo, Cannibal Holocaust was a film he included in his top ten list of movies he wanted to work on. We actually already had artwork for the film in place but it turned out to be too similar to Eli Roth's Green Inferno so we had Jock do something entirely new since we didn’t want people to think we were re-releasing something. We absolutely love the blood-red collage of carnage that he worked into the shape of a skull for the cover art. It’s a stunning piece of artwork.
Can you shed a little more info on how the merger with Death Waltz will affect the future of Mondo/Death Waltz?
The release of Cannibal Holocaust actually illustrates one of the most exciting benefits that we think the merger will have for fans of Mondo and Death Waltz. Spencer Hickman came on board when we bought Death Waltz and he also had a release for Cannibal Holocaust in the works, which is resulting in two different editions for North America (Mondo) and Europe (Death Waltz) respectively. And now, as a single entity, we’re able to acquire rights on a worldwide basis, expanding opportunities to reach more fans of original scores on vinyl.
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST Original Soundtrack
Music Composed, Orchestrated, and Conducted by Riz Ortolani
Artwork by Jock
Pressed on 180 gram Green Inferno vinyl
Available for the first time ever on vinyl
01. Cannibal Holocaust (Main Theme) (2:55)
02. Adulteress' Punishment (3:21)
03. Cameramen's Recreation (3:11)
04. Massacre of the Troupe (3:52)
05. Love With Fun (2:53)
06. Crucified Woman (2:20)
07. Relaxing In The Savanna (3:08)
08. Savage Rite (3:40)
09. Drinking Coco (3:24)
10. Cannibal Holocaust (End Titles) (3:53)