Ruggero Deodato was born in 1939 in Potenza, Southern Italy, moving with his family to Rome as a child. His friendship with Roberto Rossellini’s son was the starting point for his involvement in cinema. He worked as a assistant director in six Rossellini films, and afterwards, for Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia and Sergio Corbucci, including the classic western spaghetti “Django” (1966). It is through his collaboration with Anthonio Margheriti that he begins directing, with the peplum film “Hercules, Prisoner of Evil” (1964), despite not actually being credited.
“Man from Deep River” (1972), by Umberto Lenzi, kickstarted a decade of exploitation of shock through cannibal films, while Ruggero Deodato was working in television. But some years later, Deodato would create two of the most famous titles in this subgenre, “Last Cannibal World” (1977) and “Cannibal Holocaust” (1980).
“Holocausto Canibal” - as it was released in Portugal - was considered one of the most controversial films of all time, being censored and banned in several territories. In Italy, the director had to prove in court that the actors were in fact still alive. The film was also a landmark in horror cinema for its innovative visual style, a precursor of the found footage genre, popularised in “The Blair Witch Project” (1999).
In addition to some works inspired by popular films at the time, like “Concord Affaire ‘79” (1979), “Body Count” (1986) or “The Barbarians” (1987), Deodato’s extensive body of work also includes several must watch cult films such as “Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man” (1976), “The House on the Edge of the Park” (1980), and “Cut and Run”(1985).