Cannibal Holocaust started shooting on this day in 1980. Directed by Ruggero Deodato, this film was part of a wave of exploitation era Italian films about cannibals and easily the most recognized of all of them. Featuring the actual killings of seven animals, graphic scenes of cannibalism and a racist portrayal of Amazonian natives, Deodato’s commentary on violence in the media has been a subject of controversy from the moment of its release. After 10 days at the domestic box office, the film was seized under suspicion of being a snuff film (a rumor that endured for years). In response, several countries banned Cannibal Holocaust, including Australia and the U.K. Still, many critics have commended Deodato on his direction and the conscientious message the film conveyed. Holocaust remains one of the most notorious grindhouse films of all time.
Factoid: Ruggero Deodato makes a cameo appearance in Eli Roth’s upcoming Hostel: Part II.