The Cinematic Impact of Ruggero Deodato: Master of Italian Horror.
Ruggero Deodato was born on May 7, 1939, in Potenza, Italy and passed away on December 29, 2022, in Rome. He initially gained recognition as a director of comedies and crime films. However, he became particularly well-known for directing horror films, especially within the cannibal genre. He earned the nickname “Monsieur Cannibal” due to the extreme content of his films, which often led to issues with censorship.
Deodato spent part of his early life in Denmark, where he began as a pianist and orchestra leader. Upon returning to Italy, he was enrolled in a piano course but was expelled after three days for playing by ear. At the age of 14, he moved to Rome and grew up in the renowned Parioli neighborhood, where he began interacting with notable figures in the film industry.
Initial Foray into Film Industry
Deodato initially worked as an extra in films directed by Domenico Paolella but soon shifted his focus toward direction. His first significant opportunity came when he worked as an assistant director with Roberto Rossellini on films like “Il generale della Rovere” and “Viva l’Italia”. Deodato also collaborated with other directors such as Sergio Corbucci and Antonio Margheriti.
First Directorial Ventures
His first foray into direction was in 1964 with “Ursus il terrore dei Kirghisi,” which he co-directed with Antonio Margheriti. In 1968, he made his true directorial debut with “Gungala la pantera nuda,” under the pseudonym Roger Rockfeller. The same year, he directed three other films in various genres, honing his unique style.
In the late 1960s, Deodato met Silvia Dionisio on a film set, and the two were married until their divorce in 1979. They had a son, Saverio Deodato Dionisio, who also became an actor. Deodato had a second child, Beatrice, with his second wife, Valentina Lainati, in 2001.
Work in Television and Advertising
From 1969 to 1975, Deodato primarily worked in television and directed numerous commercials for well-known brands such as Piaggio, Fiat, and Philips. He returned to filmmaking in 1975 with the erotic thriller “Ondata di piacere,” which performed well at the box office.
Notable Works and Controversies
Deodato’s most controversial film, “Cannibal Holocaust,” released in 1980, drew significant attention and legal issues for its extreme content, including the real killing of animals. Despite this, the film is often regarded as a sharp critique of modern society and mass media.
Another film, “La casa sperduta nel parco,” further cemented his reputation for extreme realism in depictions of violence. His 1985 film “Inferno in diretta” concluded his cannibal trilogy but was primarily an action film featuring extreme violence and gore.
Influence and Legacy
Throughout his career, Deodato influenced other filmmakers such as Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino, and Eli Roth. He also contributed a column to the monthly magazine Nocturno.
In the years following his most iconic films, Deodato worked on various projects in different genres, including the slasher film “Camping del terrore” and the fantasy film “The Barbarians.” In the mid-1990s, as the genre cinema declined in Italy, Deodato returned to television, directing series like “I ragazzi del muretto” and “Padre Speranza.”
- “Ursus il terrore dei Kirghisi” (1964)
- “Gungala la pantera nuda” (1968)
- “Cannibal Holocaust” (1980)
- “La casa sperduta nel parco” (1980)
- “Inferno in diretta” (1985)
Featured image: Ruggero Deodato and Eli Roth, source.
Topics: Impact of Ruggero Deodato on Italian Cinema, Ruggero Deodato’s Controversial Films, Analysis of Cannibal Holocaust, Legacy of Italian Filmmaker Ruggero Deodato, Understanding Ruggero Deodato’s Filmmaking Style