Umberto Lenzi (born August 6, 1931), is an Italian film director who was very active in low budget crime films, peplums, spaghetti westerns, war movies, cannibal films and giallo murder mysteries (in addition to writing many of the screenplays himself).
Lenzi was born in Massa Marittima, Grosseto, southern Tuscany. He is the writer/director of two highly controversial exploitation films: Mangiati vivi (1980) and Cannibal Ferox (1981) as well as the director of the film adaptation of the Italian comic book Kriminal (1966). He was one of the first Italian directors to get involved in the Giallo film craze (along with Mario Bava and Dario Argento), and his “Man From Deep River” is credited as being the film that started the Italian “cannibal film” genre later popularized by Ruggero Deodato, Jess Franco and others. Lenzi has claimed in interviews however that he was never too enamored of the cannibal films he made, being much prouder of his war films and crime/ western/ action movies… read more
Having seen more of his films I am starting to gain more respect for Lenzi. However, I can't understand why his is most famous for his cannibal films outside Italy. Most of his best films are crime films or poliziotteschi but sadly some of the best ones are rarely seen outside Italy. Da Corleone a Brooklyn (From Corleone to Brooklyn) for example is a great one but I believe it is currently unavailable everywhere on DVD. Almost Human (Milano Odia: la polizia non puo' sparare) is also an excellent film with a superb (if a bit over the top) performance from Tomas Milian. I'd recommend his critics to watch these films before dismissing him as a hack.