Cannibal boom

The cannibal boom is a period in the history of exploitation film, lasting roughly from 1977 to 1981, where cannibal films were at the peak of their popularity in Grindhouse theaters and cinema. Though Umberto Lenzi started the cannibal genre with his film Man from Deep River in 1972, it was not until Ruggero Deodato released his film Last Cannibal World in 1977 that the concept of cannibal films began to catch on. Although five cannibal films were made in 1977 and 1978, none were released in 1979 (though Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust was in the works). In February 1980, Deodato released Cannibal Holocaust, which was the start of a chain of seven similar films to be made and released in the same year. The following year, however, in 1981, only two cannibal films were made (one of them was Cannibal Ferox, second in notoriety only to Cannibal Holocaust). Only four other cannibal films were made after 1981 until the fad's conclusion in 1988 with Antonio Climati's Natura Contro.[1]

Films of the Cannibal Boom

Film Director Year Also Known As
Il paese del sesso selvaggio Umberto Lenzi 1972 The Man From Deep River; The Country of Savage Sex; Deep River Savages
Ultimo mondo cannibale Ruggero Deodato 1977 Last Cannibal World; Jungle Holocaust
Emanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali Joe D'Amato 1977 Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals; Trap Them and Kill Them
La montagna del dio cannibale Sergio Martino 1978 Mountain of the Cannibal God; Slave of the Cannibal God; Prisoner of the Cannibal God (UK release)
Papaya dei Caraibi Joe D'Amato 1978 Papaya, Love Goddess of the Cannibals
Primitif Sisworo Gautama Putra 1978 Primitives
Cannibal Holocaust Ruggero Deodato 1980 N/A
Mangiati vivi Umberto Lenzi 1980 Eaten Alive!
Zombi Holocaust Marino Girolami 1980 Zombie Holocaust; Queen of the Cannibals; Dr. Butcher, M.D.
Mondo Cannibale Jesus Franco 1980 Cannibals; White Cannibal Queen
Il cacciatore di uomini Jesus Franco 1980 The Devil Hunter; Man Hunter; Mandingo Manhunter
Diyu wu Men Tsui Hark 1980 We're Going to Eat You
Orgasmo nero Joe D'Amato 1980 Black Orgasm
Cannibal Ferox Umberto Lenzi 1981 Make Them Die Slowly
Terror Caníbal Alain Deruelle 1981 Cannibal Terror
Diamonds of Kilamandjaro Jesus Franco 1982 Treasure of the White Goddess
White Slave Mario Gariazzo 1984 Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story
Inferno in diretta Ruggero Deodato 1985 Hell...Live!; Amazonia
Nudo e selvaggio Michele Massimo Tarantini 1985 Massacre in Dinosaur Valley; Stranded in Dinosaur Valley; Cannibal Ferox 2
Natura contro Antonio Climati 1988 The Green Inferno; Against Nature; Cannibal Holocaust 2


  1. Brown, Jennifer. Cannibalism in Literature and Film. Palgrave Macmillon. ISBN 978-0-230-36051-8.
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