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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 15 December 1936Rome, Lazio, Italy
Date of Death 23 January 1999Rome, Lazio, Italy  (heart attack)
Birth NameAristide Massaccesi
Nickname The Evil Ed Wood

Mini Bio (1)

Joe D'Amato was born Aristide Massaccesi on December 15, 1936, in Rome, Italy. At age 14 he began working for his father, a chief electrician and later the founder of the company A.C.M. By going to school in the daytime, Massaccesi worked afternoons part-time as a stagehand and stage cameraman around various film sets. After finishing grade school, from 1953 to 1957 Massaccesi worked for his father. Mole Richardson, another motion picture company, was looking for someone to work as an assistant cameraman and Massaccesi jumped at the opportunity. Starting in 1969 he worked as director of photography as well as assistant director for a number of films until 1974. His first directing work was in 1972's low-budget Go Away! Trinity Has Arrived in Eldorado (1972), co-directed by Diego Spataro, under the pseudonym Dick Spitfire. The film was a commercial failure. Later that same year Massaccesi directed a western (under the name of Oskar Faradine). He then used his assistant's name, Romano Gastaldi, for his next film, Fra' Tazio da Velletri (1973), as well as a few others.

Massaccesi was reluctant to use his real name early in his directing career, since he was still known mainly as a director of photography and he didn't want his directing jobs to jeopardize his cinematography career. He used his real name for screenplay and cinematography roles, but worked under many aliases (such as Michael Wotruba) to disguise the authorship of some films in order not to mix up the different genres of comedy, western, drama, thrillers and others. He used to many phony names that he may well have used more pseudonyms credited to him than any other director in the world.

Massaccesi entered the horror film genre with Death Smiles on a Murderer (1973) under his real name, which inspired him to make other gothic horror films. Under a new pseudonym, Joe D'Amato, he directed soft-core, erotic films starring Laura Gemser, such as Emanuelle e Françoise (Le sorelline) (1975), Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977), Emanuelle in America (1977), Sexy Nights of the Living Dead (1980) and others. He also directed such action films as Tough to Kill (1979).

Massaccesi, now referring to himself as Joe D'Amato, entered the "gore" genere films with Beyond the Darkness (1979), which remains his most successful horror film, shot in four weeks on a low budget entirely at a villa near Bressanone and which had an excellent music soundtrack by the rock group Goblin. His next horror film, but less successful than the previous one, was Anthropophagus (1980), directed under the alias "Peter Newton". The film starred Tisa Farrow, sister of Mia Farrow and the star of Zombie (1979), another gore genre flick.

During the 1980s and 1990s D'Amato directed over 100 hardcore porn sex films for the Italian video market, although under his many pseudonyms he continued to direct and produce other films. One of them was StageFright: Aquarius (1987) directed by Michele Soavi on which, under his real name, Massaccesi served as producer. He then directed two "Ator the Invincible" films. He directed the violent, hardcore The Emperor Caligula: The Untold Story (1982), using the name "David Hills", a commercial exploitation (some might say "rip-off") of the successful film by Tinto Brass.

D'Amato's other films during the 1980s were Paradiso Blu (1980) and violent adventure films such as Deep Blood (1990), which were filmed in Florida, and Ghosthouse (1988). Some of D'Amato's greatest successes abroad were L'alcova (1985) and 11 Days 11 Nights Part 3 (1989), as well as the horror-thriller Paura nel buio (1989) (aka "Hitcher in the Dark").

However, his long film career came to an abrupt end when, in January 1999, he suffered an unexpected and fatal heart attack at his home in Rome. He was 62. Joe D'Amato had made his mark on Italian cinema as a talented director, scriptwriter, producer and cinematographer with scores of films and more than a dozen aliases to his credit.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Matthew Patay

Trivia (3)

Father of Daniele Massaccesi.
The Necro Files (1997) is dedicated to D'Amato, who helped inspire it with his film Porno Holocaust (1981). "The Necro Files" played the official Joe D'Amato Film Festival in Italy.
His alias Joe d'Amato was inspired by the director with whom he worked as a cinematographer, Silvio Amadio in Twisted Girls (1969).

Personal Quotes (2)

The last one, always the last one. Each time I make a movie, it's a little better than the last. I'm not young but I'm very enthusiastic. I'm lucky in that I've been able to make any movie I've wanted to: war movies, thrillers, terror movies, even porno movies. I don't have any movies in me that I haven't been able to do.
I change my name many, many times, mainly for the European market because it makes the movies seem like they're American or British. It's better for European distribution that they seem that way.

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