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Controversial Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato has died aged 83

Controversial Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato has died aged 83

He was once arrested for murder before proving that the film wasn't real

Ruggero Deodato, the director of one of the most controversial horror movies ever made, has died aged 83.

Though the Italian filmmaker was behind many movies in his lifetime, none are quite so famous as his 1980 found-footage flick Cannibal Holocaust.

The movie pushed the boundaries for shock and horror, centring on an American film crew who disappear in the Amazon rainforest while filming a documentary about indigenous cannibal tribes.

Due to the film's documentary style as well as the employment of real indigenous people as actors, many people believed that the deaths on screen were real.

So much so word spread that Cannibal Holocaust was a genuine snuff film, and Deodato was eventually arrested on suspicion of murder.

Thankfully he had all of the evidence - including the actors who were alive and well - to bring to the courtroom and the charges were eventually dropped.

But the controversies didn't end there. Many people were in uproar over the depiction of animals being slaughtered. Unlike the human deaths, these scenes were real.

A number of animals were killed in the making of Cannibal Holocaust, including a snake, tarantula, pig, turtle, coati and, most contentious of all, two monkeys.

Deodato, the producers and the screenwriter were all found guilty of obscenity and animal cruelty, although the verdict was overturned in 1984.

Numerous animals were killed in the making of the film.
United Artists Entertainment

The filmmaker later expressed regret over these scenes, stating: "I was stupid to introduce animals."

However, he also defended the decision in a 2011 interview with The Guardian in which he said: "In my youth, growing up, I spent a lot of time in the country close to animals and therefore often seeing the moment of their death.

"The death of the animals, although unbearable – especially in a present-day urban mindset – always happened in order to feed the film's characters or the crew, both in the story and in reality."

Despite the past controversies, Cannibal Holocaust is a cult classic and is still considered a legend amongst horror buffs – which is even more of an achievement when you consider the budget was around just $100,000 (£82,875).

Fellow filmmaker Eugenio Ercolani, who was close with Deodato and his family, took to Facebook yesterday (28 December) to update people about the director's health, which had been suffering due to his old age.

He wrote: "I just communicated with his partner. All I can divulge, for the time being, is that his situation is extremely serious."

However, today (29 December) he shared a post expressing his sadness over Deodato's passing, writing: "How many interviews, dinners, jokes, scoldings, laughs and times you called me to come and fix your wifi. Damn Ruggero..."

Eugenio Ercolani paid tribute to the late director.

Italian newspaper Il Messaggero also reported on the news. It said: "Ruggero Deodato, the director of Cannibal Holocaust and The Lost House in the Park, died today at the age of 83.

"The screenwriter originally from Potenza has influenced directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone and Eli Roth (he also plays a cameo in one of his 2007 films)."

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677

Featured Image Credit: F.D. Cinematografica Album/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, TV and Film