Cannibal films, otherwise known as the cannibal genre, are a collection of graphic, gory movies made in the early 1970s on into the late 1980s, primarily by Italian moviemakers. These movies mainly focused on torture and cannibalism by Stone-Age tribes deep in the South American or Asian rain forests, usually perpetrated against Westerners that the tribes hold prisoner. Similar to Mondo films, the main draw of cannibal films was the promise of exotic locales and graphic gore.
Cannibal films were very popular exploitation features in the 1970s and 80s, after Umberto Lenzi made Il Paese del Sesso Selvaggio, the first film to depict on-screen cannibalism, in 1972. In 1977, Ruggero Deodato made Last Cannibal World, inspiring several other film makers to follow suit in a period known as the cannibal boom. This period would also see the most notorious film of the subgenre, Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust (an acknowledged influence on The Blair Witch Project), in 1980. After 1981, however, the cannibal boom had ended, and cannibal films were few and far in between. The fad concluded in 1988 with Mondo film director Antonio Climati's Natura Contro (also known as Cannibal Holocaust II).