Ruggero Deodato was born on May 7, 1939 in Potenza, , Italy. He grew up in the neighborhood where Rome's major film studios were located. It was there that he learned how to direct under Roberto Rossellini and Sergio Corbucci; working with Corbucci on “The Son of Spartacus” (1962) and “Django” (1966) as an assistant director. Later on in the 1960s, he directed some comedy, musical, and thriller films, before leaving cinema to do TV commercials. In 1976 he returned to the big screen with his ultra-violent police flick “Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man”.
In 1977 he directed a jungle adventure called “Ultimo mondo cannibal” (“The Last Cannibal World”) starring British actress Me Me Lai with which he 'rebooted' the cannibal film/mondo genre started years earlier by Italian director Umberto Lenzi.
Late in 1979 he againreturned to the cannibal subgenre with his ultra-gory “Cannibal Holocaust”. The film was shot in the Amazon Rainforest for a budget of about $100,000, and starred Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, and Carl Gabriel Yorke. During production, many cast and crew members protested the use of real animal killing in the film, including Kerman, who walked off the set. This created a massive controversy in Italy and the United Kingdom following its release which was wrongly claimed by some to be a snuff film due to the overly realistic gore effects.
Deodato's film license was temporarily revoked and he would not get it back until three years later, which then allowed him to release his 1980 thriller “La casa sperduta nel parco” (“House on the Edge of the Park”), which was the mostly censored in the in the UK for its graphic violence.
In the 1980s, he made some other slasher/horror films, including “Phantom of Death”, “Dial Help” and “Body Count”. In the 1990s he turned to TV movies and dramas with some success. In 2007, he made a cameo appearance in “Hostel: Part II” in a role that provided a wink and a nod to his past directing cannibal-related films.
Ruggero directed one Euro-western: “In the Name of the Father” (1969) and was an assistant director on “Django”, “Ringo and His Golden Pistol”, “Navajo Joe” (all 1966), “Hellbenders” and “Wanted” (1967).
Today we celebrate Ruggero Deodato’s 75th birthday.