Ruggero Deodato was born on May 7, 1939, in Potenza, Italy, and grew up outside Rome. One of his close friends at the time was Renzo Rossellini, the son of famed Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Knowing Ruggerio's love for the movies, Renzo persuaded him to work as a second unit director on some of his father's productions. From 1958-67 Deodato worked as a second unit director for several cult film directors such as Anthony M. Dawson (Antonio Margheriti), Riccardo Freda and Joseph Losey. Deodato's directorial debut was the action-fantasy Hercules, Prisoner of Evil (1964), replacing Margheriti who quit the production. Deodato's claim to fame was the spaghetti western Django (1966). His career took off in 1968 when he directed a number of films based on comic-book characters and musicals. It was while shooting one of these films that Deodato met, and later married, Silvia Dionisio.
From 1971-75 Deodato worked in television, directing the series "All'ultimo minuto" (1971) as well as TV commercials, including ones for Esso Oil, Band-Aid and Fanta. Deodato returned to filmmaking with an erotic melodrama and a police thriller. At the same time his marriage fell apart. In 1977 Deodato directed the notorious Last Cannibal World (1977) and later Cannibal Holocaust (1980). Deodato traveled to New York City and directed the disturbing thriller House on the Edge of the Park (1980), a semi-follow-up to Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left (1972). Deodato made House on the Edge of the Park (1980) in just 19 days on a tiny budget. He then returned to directing action and horror flicks.
Deodato lives in Rome with his current partner, Micaela Rocco, and still works in movies and occasional TV series. He is rumored to be planning a sequel to "Cannibal Holocaust".
|Silvia Dionisio||(5 December 1971 - 1979) (divorced) 1 child|
He directed the notorious Cannibal Holocaust (1980), in which--among other things--animals were actually killed on-screen. He was arrested shortly after its premiere in Italy, and faced accusations of first-degree murder--the authorities believed that several local actors in Colombia, where the film was shot, were also actually killed onscreen--as well as animal cruelty. He was exonerated after the actors were brought into the courtroom very much alive; they had special clauses in their contracts ordering them to "disappear" for a year to increase the film's hype. Though Deodato was found not guilty, he was barred from making films in Italy for several years afterward, and the film itself was banned.
I make films that people call "horror" because I want to make films about real things that happen in the world, and most real things aren't very nice.
[on the animal deaths in Cannibal Holocaust (1980)] I am sorry they have been killed. But you have to understand I come from the countryside in Italy. So when we were hungry, we killed and ate pigs and chickens. That's what the real villagers did who were in the film--they ate everything we killed. But also, when I made this film, I was in another mentality. It seemed natural to show this. It was like when our grandparents died their bodies would be on display to begin with, but now the bodies go straight into the ground. Things change and we have a different mentality about things like death.
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