Monthly Archives: June 2012

HEA Workshop – How Far Can You Go?

How far can you go? Ethics, Transgression and Independent Study

The HEA and The University of Derby, Kedleston Road,

Derby DE22 1GB, Room N310

26th June 2012 1-4pm

How far can and do you want your students to go with their research? What are the boundaries? What are you willing to supervise? What would your ethics committee not approve? Does your ethics committee function well? Have you had projects turned down that you thought were reasonable?


Cannibal Holocaust (still courtesy of Shameless Films)

In 1979, Italian director Ruggero Deodato created Cannibal Holocaust, a film that was to revolutionise and scandalise the nature of realist horror cinema. Deodato’s film centres on four intrepid documentary filmmakers who go missing in the Amazonian wilderness, leading to fears that they have been butchered by local ‘savages.’  However, when a famous anthropologist discovers the group’s final filmed diary, a far more shocking tale emerges…

With its complex narrative and innovative use of documentary techniques, Cannibal Holocaust initiated a trend of ‘found footage horror’ that continued through to The Blair Witch Project (1999) and beyond. However, the film’s stylishness was overshadowed by it savage imagery, which led to the movie being banned and heavily censored in many European countries such as the UK.

In 2011, staff at Brunel’s Cine-Excess festival framed the official BBFC submission for the new HD master of Cannibal Holocaust, resulting in a landmark ruling that allows the most complete cut of the film to be nationally released in September 2011 by Shameless Films.

As part of the Ethics and Transgression Workshop, Xavier Mendik will be discussing the educational issues of bringing the study of cannibal movies on campus, as well as considering how movies such as Cannibal Holocaust can be linked the wider social tensions of the cultures which have created them. The talk combines a discussion with a 20 minute extract from Xavier Mendik’s documentary on Cannibal HolocaustThe Long Road Back From Hell.

About the Speaker

Xavier Mendik is Director of the Cine-Excess International Film Festival and DVD label at Brunel University, from where he also runs the Cult Film Archive and research centre. He has written extensively on cult and horror traditions, and some of his books in this area include 100 Cult Films (with Ernest Mathijs, 2011),The Cult Film Reader (2008), Alternative Europe: Eurotrash and Exploitation Cinema Since 1945 (2004), Shocking Cinema of the Seventies (2002), Underground USA: Filmmaking Beyond the Hollywood Canon (2002), Dario Argento’s Tenebrae (2000) and Unruly Pleasures: The Cult Film and its Critics (2000)He has two further volumes forthcoming in 2012: the monograph Bodies of Desire and Bodies in Distress: The Golden Age of Italian Cult Cinema and the edited collection Peep Shows: Cult Film and the Cine-Erotic. 

Beyond his academic writing, Xavier Mendik has an established profile as a documentary filmmaker and distributor. He was responsible for the 2011 high-definition UK restoration of Dario Argento’s Suspiria for the Nouveaux Pictures- Cine-Excess DVD label, and the recently completed documentary The Long Road Back From Hell is included on the Shameless Films 2011 UK Director’s Cut of Cannibal Holocaust. Further details of these activities can be found on


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