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This Day in Horror History February 7th edition celebrates the granddaddy of found footage films!

Cannibal Holocaust releases February 7, 1980

It’s said that upon seeing Cannibal Holocaust for the first time, Sergio Leone (Once Upon a Time in the West) wrote to the film’s director, Ruggero Deodato and said:

“Dear Ruggero, what a movie! The second part is a masterpiece of cinematographic realism, but everything seems so real that I think you will get in trouble with all the world.”

Leone’s words now seem almost prophetic. Ten days after its Italian release, the courts seized the prints and Deodato was brought up on charges of obscenity followed by further charges of murder.

They believed he’d actually killed several actors in the making of the film, and those actors had signed agreements to disappear after the filming for one year in order to further the realism of the film. Deodato managed to contact one of the four actors who got in touch with the other three, and it was only after they showed up in court that the charges were dropped.

Today, Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust has taken on the mantel of legend. It’s realistic gore and harrowing storytelling have made it a mountain climbed by the most ardent of horror fans.