Ruggero Deodato, the director of the 1980 found footage horror movie Cannibal Holocaust, has died at the age of 83. The Italian director is famous for creating one of the first major found footage horror films, with the graphic nature of Cannibal Holocaust convincing many viewers that the movie was a real-world event. Deodato’s infamous film was marred in controversy due to snuff film allegations that were coupled with genuine animal executions seen within the movie. Despite the level of controversy surrounding it, none of that stopped Cannibal Holocaust from garnering a cult following over the decades.
First reported by Italian newspaper Il Messagero, Deodato died at the age of 83 in Rome. The director leaves behind a lasting legacy not only for his work on Cannibal Holocaust, but for other horror films as well, such as The House on the Edge of the Park and Cut and Run. Overall, Deodato directed 21 films at the time of his death, with his latest, Deathcember – part of a horror anthology film – having released in 2019.
Despite Deodato’s passing, his legacy thanks to Cannibal Holocaust will live on for horror fans with a love for found footage movies in the genre. Prior to Cannibal Holocaust, no found footage films had ever been released, marking it as the first time the public had ever seen a movie that claimed to be newly discovered footage of a horrifying situation. The premise of an American film crew disappearing in the Amazon rainforest being presented as real was so new for the time that Deodato was arrested and charged with murder due to the believability of Cannibal Holocaust. Since then, Cannibal Holocaust has cemented itself as a classic for horror aficionados who enjoy the terrifying ride the found footage film displays.
Cannibal Holocaust opened the door for other found footage productions, making the type of filmmaking popular within the horror genre. One of the most famous examples of a found footage horror movie purporting to be showing viewers real events is The Blair Witch Project, which pulled some of its style from Cannibal Holocaust. The Blair Witch Project would become a pinnacle in its own right, inspiring films like Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity to use found footage in new and creative ways. However, while The Blair Witch Project may have inspired many found footage filmmakers in their own endeavors, Cannibal Holocaust was an early adopter of the technique, paving the way for decades of future movies.
Deodato has left behind a major legacy with Cannibal Holocaust and the other films he’s created over the decades. While he will likely be remembered most for directing Cannibal Holocaust, it’s important to note that Deodato directed many films in his career, including thrillers like Cut and Run and the slasher film Body Count. While none of these films match the lasting impact of Cannibal Holocaust, Deodato still dedicated his life to creating controversial and graphic stories in film that will stand the test of time.
Source: Il Messagero