Cannibal Holocaust: Looking back at Ruggero Deodato's most shocking and controversial film
POTENZA, ITALY: Ruggero Deodato, the filmmaker behind the most shocking and controversial film Cannibal Holocaust (1980), who also inspired several notable filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, and Eli Roth, reportedly died at 83. Deodato had a long career that began as Roberto Rossellini's esteemed assistant director. He also assisted Sergio Corbucci on the famous spaghetti western film, 'Django'.
Although he directed more than 30 films alone, Cannibal Holocaust is the one for which he is most known because of the controversies it surfaced. What made the film so controversial is the animal cruelty depicted on the screen. Screen rant points out that "the fact that the creatures were killed solely for the purposes of film production was the most often brought up point of controversy surrounding the Cannibal Holocaust."
How did Ruggero Deodato die? Film director who made controversial film 'Cannibal Holocaust' dead at 83
'Cannibal Holocaust': How the 1980 cult classic became one of the most controversial films ever
The film Cannibal Holocaust has been intermittently outlawed in dozens of nations due to its extreme brutality and gore, which has periodically incensed regulatory bodies while it also was part of the banned list of the UK's infamous 'Video Nasties'. The most gruesome animal death is that of a huge turtle, but another animal, a monkey, is also cruelly slaughtered in a scenario that was filmed twice, necessitating the deaths of two monkeys.
The documentary film Cannibal Holocaust relates the tale of a crew of documentary producers who vanished after entering the Amazon jungle to film a documentary about cannibal tribes. An American TV news network decides to air the cassettes once their video is discovered. Ten days after Cannibal Holocaust's shocking Italian debut in Milan in 1980, the law demanded its confiscation, and Deodato was ultimately convicted for obscenity. After the movie's theatrical premiere in France a year later, rumors in the media began to circulate that possibly the reason the death scenes were so violent was that they were based on actual events, as per CBR.
Deodato was also charged with murder in Italy since none of the actors who played in the movie's death scenes were reportedly seen around for at least a year. It convinced people that the movie was a 'snuff' film throughout the court proceedings as none of the actors the filmmaker claimed were alive had been seen around. Facing 30 years in jail, he had to ask the missing cast to appear in court to prove they were still alive. Deodato eventually got in touch with the actors and crew and brought them together to appear on an Italian TV show. However, it took more convincing to prove the indigenous killed in the 'infamous' scene was still alive and not really killed.
Deodato was able to break down to the court how he achieved the gruesome practical effect and after the evidence was submitted, it was proved that no one was murdered on the set of Cannibal Holocaust. Deodato was cleared of all charges but the film was still banned in various countries because of its depiction of real animal deaths and the overall disturbing nature of the movie, an outlet mentioned. The film remained banned for years and did not get a certificate from UK censors until 2001. But its notoriety helped it find a cult audience worldwide, the Sun noted.