Horror SFX Legend Giannetto De Rossi Dies at 79

One of his first special FX roles was as make-up artist for Joe D'Amato, whose film Emanuelle in America required detailed special FX for the notorious snuff film sequences. De Rossi prepared several gruesome effects for the film reels, which were played as part of the narrative; the effects included a woman's breasts being hacked off, multiple floggings, burning with acid and pokers and shootings. The FX were so convincing, many thought them real snuff film scenes, also an actress complained, she had been traumatized by the effects as well.

When gore master Lucio Fulci required FX, for the goriest horror film in history Zombi 2, De Rossi arrived on set, and in the process created zombies, bite wounds and an exploding head. This film cemented his reputation as possibly the greatest special FX designer of all time. De Rossi would continue to help Fulci in two more films: The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery.

De Rossi was next called by Dino De Laurentiis to work with Carlo Rambaldi to create the on-set practical effects for two films in Mexico including the sci fi blockbuster Dune, for which he worked wonders, creating the fetus-shaped Spice Guild Navigator seen floating in a tank. The other film (shot simultaneously and using many of the same sets) would be Conan the Destroyer in which he helped create the mutated Wizard as well as the Dagoth monster suit worn by André the Giant.

In the late 1980s he created the special makeup effects on Rambo III most specifically the shot in which Rambo heals himself by igniting gunpowder inside of a torso bullet wound (De Rossi rigged a device which caused flame to burst from both Sylvester Stallone's stomach and back at once). Stallone was so impressed by De Rossi's work that he made sure to hire him again for the make-up effects for Daylight, which was shot in Rome and put Stallone's son Sage Stallone in contact with Lucio Fulci. Fabrizio De Angelis (who had previously produced all the Fulci films De Rossi had worked on) invited him in to work in the Dominican Republic to create the title monster in the film Killer Crocodile with the offer to direct two low budget sci-fi films (Killer Crocodile 2 and The Cy Warrior) of his own for his company Fulvia Film.

He is also notable as the designer of the mask used in the film The Man in the Iron Mask.


De Rossi continued creating FX for both Italian and American cinema, until his death on 11 April 2021


His film credits as special make-up and effects artist

  • Christopher Roth (2010)(post-production)

  • The Last Legion (2007)

  • "Pompei" (2007) TV mini-series

  • Ring of the Nibelungs (2004)(TV)

  • Modigliani (2004)

  • Haute tension (High Tension) (2003)

  • Uprising (2001) (TV)

  • Amici ahrarara (2001)

  • Harrison's Flowers (2000)

  • Vatel (2000)

  • Asterix et Obelix contre Cesar (1999)

  • The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)

  • Kull the Conqueror (1997)

  • Daylight (1996)

  • Dragonheart (1996)

  • Catherine the Great (1995)(TV)

  • The Inner Circle (1991)

  • Dr. M (1990)

  • Killer Crocodile (1989)

  • Rambo III (1988)

  • State buoni...se potete (1984)

  • Dune (1984)

  • Conan the Destroyer (1984)

  • I predatori di Atlantide (Atlantis Inferno) (1983)

  • La traviata (1983)

  • Piranha Par Two: The Spawning (1981)

  • Quella villa accanto al cimitero (The House by the Cemetery) (1981)

  • E tu vivrai nel terrore-L'aldila (The Beyond a.k.a. Seven Doors of Death) (1981)

  • Zombi Holocaust (Zombie Holocaust a.k.a. Dr. Butcher M.D.) (1980)

  • Apocalypse domani (Cannibal Apocalypse a.k.a. Cannibals in the Streets a.k.a. Invasion of the Fleshhunters) (1980)

  • Zombi 2 (Zombie a.k.a. Zombie Flesh Eaters) (1979)

  • L'umanoide (The Humanoid) (1979)

  • King of the Gypsies (1978)

  • Emanuelle in America (1977)

  • Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (Fellini's Casanova) (1976)

  • Cattivi pensieri (1976)

  • Novecento (1900)(1976)

  • Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti (No profanar el sueno de los muertos a.k.a. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue a.k.a. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie a.k.a. Don't Open the Window a.k.a. Do No Speak III of the Dead) (1974)

  • Mussolini: Ultimo atto (The Last 4 Days)(1974)

  • Ash Wednesday (1973)

  • Valdez, il mezzosangue (Chino) (1973)

  • II prode Anselmo e il suo scudiero (1972)

  • La piu bella serata della mia vita (1972)

  • All'onorevole piacciono le donne Nonostante le apparenza...e purche la nazione non lo sappia (The Senator Likes Women) (1972)

  • The Valachi Papers (1972)

  • Quando gli uomini armarono la clava e...con le donne fecero din-don (When Men Carried Clubs and Women Played Ding-Dong a.k.a. When Women Played Ding Dong) (1971)

  • Waterloo (1970)

  • Quando le donne avevano la coda (When Women Had Tails) (1970)

  • The Invincible Six (1970)

  • C'era una volta il West (Once Upon a Time in the West) (1968)

  • The Taming of the Shrew (1967)

  • Io, io, io...e gli altri (Me, Me, Me...and the Others) (1966)

  • Svegliati e uccidi (1966)

  • La donna del lago (The Possessed) (1965)

  • Cadavere per signora (Corpse for the Lady) (1964)

  • I maniaci (The Maniacs) (1964)

  • Obiettivo ragazze (1963)

  • Le ore della'amore (The Hours of Love) (1963)

His credits as director and writer