Italian director Ruggero Deodato began as an apprentice under neorealist master Roberto Rossellini. Decades later, he would use some of those techniques to film one of the most realistic, infamous and troubling horror flicks ever made. In what is certainly one of cinema’s oddest phases, Italian exploitation filmmakers of the 1970s made a slew of movies about cannibals in jungles. Cannibal Holocaust is the most famous of the group. Actually filmed in the Amazon rain forest, Holocaust purports to show found footage of a group of filmmakers that went into the wild looking for sensational stuff only to meet a grisly end — a conceit that preceded The Blair Witch Project by two decades.
Banned at various points in several nations, the movie almost landed Deodato in prison, as Italian authorities were so convinced by the violence on-screen — rape, murder, mutilation, skewerings, castrations, beheadings — that they assumed the director had actually murdered his actors. It was only once he was able to present them in person that all charges were dropped. Notoriously, though, several animals were killed during the filming of Cannibal Holocaust, including a large turtle, a monkey and a pig.
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