February 3, 2023

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Ruggero Deodato dead: ‘Nannibal Holocaust’ horror director was 83

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Ruggero Diodato, the director of the shocking horror movie “Cannibal Holocaust,” which was so controversial it was banned in some countries, died Thursday, Italian newspaper Il Messagerro reported. He was 83.

The 1980 film “Cannibal Holocaust” is considered one of the scariest films of all time and is noted as the first film to use found footage. It was banned in several countries due to its graphic depictions of violence, sexual abuse, and animal cruelty, and led to Deodato’s arrest on obscenity charges. He was accused of killing several actors on camera to achieve a level of realistic brutality, but was later cleared and the charges dropped. He directed other films throughout his career, but “Cannibal Holocaust” was his most famous and reached cult-classic status in the horror community. This earned him the nickname “Monsieur Cannibal” in France.

Born on May 7, 1929 in Potenza, Italy, Deodato studied under Italian directors such as Roberto Rossellini and Sergio Corbucci. He directed some musicals, comedies and thrillers in the 60s and 70s, then made a splash with the 1976 spaghetti crime film (known in Italy as “Polizioteschi”) titled “Live Like a Cop, Die like a Man.” The film was originally censored in Italy due to a scene in which a man’s eyeballs are pulled out and crushed underfoot.

After making 1977’s “Last Cannibal World,” which was censored in the UK for animal cruelty, he made “Cannibal Holocaust.” Starring Robert Carman, Gabriel York and Francesca Ciardi, the movie follows an American rescue crew searching for missing documentarians who were making a movie about cannibal tribes in the Amazon rainforest. Deodato was filmed in the Amazon, which proved to be a challenge for some cast members with graphic violence, gore and nudity. The movie was reportedly banned in 50 countries and received mixed reception upon release, but its legacy as one of the most shocking films of all time has inspired filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth and Oliver Stone.

After the release, Deodato went on to make other horror movies like “Body Count”, “Phantom of Death” and more, and he even had a cameo as a cannibal in Roth’s horror movie “Hostel: Part II”.

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