Ruggero Deodato dead: Italian director of Cannibal Holocaust dies aged 83

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Italian director Ruggero Deodato has died at 83 years old, according to industry figures.

The horror film director and screenwriter was nicknamed “Monsieur Cannibal” after his 1980 found-footage film Cannibal Holocaust gained notoriety.

Deodato’s reported death has been mourned by his contemporary Sergio Martino, director of films such as All the Colors of the Dark (1972) and Torso (1973).

In Italian, Martino wrote on Facebook: “I just found out that Ruggero Deodato passed away. With him, I shared a wonderful season of cinema.

“We basically started together on a parallel path that in these years of reevaluation of our cinema has ‘goliardically’ taken us around the world together. Goodbye Ruggero!”

Similarly, director and writer Lorenzo Lombardi paid tribute to Deodato.

The In the Market (2009) director wrote on Facebook: “Today is a sad day. A great master of cinema leaves us. A friend who gave me advice and anecdotes. Thank you for everything. Bye Ruggero, have a safe trip!”

Cannibal Holocaust is infamous for the controversy that surrounded it upon its release. The film’s depictions of extreme violence and torture, sexual assault and the real killings of monkeys and a coati, resulted in it being banned in many countries, including the UK after the Video Recordings Act came into play in 1984.

The film was re-released in 2001 with five minutes removed, and then again in 2011 in its entirety, bar one short scene of an animal’s death.

In 2011, Ruggero defended his use of scenes that depicted animal cruelty. “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,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.

“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.”

Other films on Deodato’s resumé include the torture-filled film The House on the Edge of the Park, horror flick Body Count, and The Washing Machine, a thriller.

On screen, Deodato continued his persona as “Monsieur Cannibal” by making a cameo in the horror film Hostel Part II, playing a cannibal, in 2007.

His final stint as an actor came in the French-language film, Chimères, in 2013.