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Blue Underground presents
"Isn't it a pity that every time you shoot a man, you're wasting gold? Don't you save it for special occasions?"
DVD ReviewBlue Underground's new Spaghetti Western box offers four seriously whacked Westerns for the consideration of the Eurocult buff. Django, Kill, one of the early unauthorized sequels to the epochal Django, is even more depraved than usual and provides a striking and often horrific vision of the Old West.
The unnamed half-breed hero (Tomas Milian; for convenience's sake we'll call him Django here) is found by a pair of Indians buried alive in a mass grave. Through a flashback we see that Oaks (Piero Lulli), leader of a gang of bandits, had stolen Django's gold and shot him and his company of Mexicans. The Indians, out of some kind of mystical respect for the man back from the dead, make him a set of bullets out of the bits of gold left behind, and soon the trio is on the path after Oaks and his band. The bandoleros have made their way to a town known only as The Unhappy Place, and they soon find that Django is not their only problem, since the denizens of the town are even more depraved, sadistic and vicious than they are.
From the summary it will be seen that certain elements of From Dusk Till Dawn may have had their origins here, with the abrupt shift of paradigm from Western to gothic horror (though no vampires are present here). The brief montage as Oaks' gang hits town really says it all; glimpses of jarring and bizarre images assault the viewer and the bandits in a dreamlike manner. Nude children, a woman biting a man and other disconcerting images set up the evil of the town that will come up against Oaks and make Django's vengeance and attempt to reclaim his gold all the more difficult. The film is full of striking imagery as well, such as the sequence where Django stalks Oaks in the general store, brushing among hanging peppers, as well as shelves full of derbies and top hats. The greed of the townspeople is palpable and linked implicitly to sexual perversion. Flori (Lori in the subtitles, played by Marilś Tolo) peers through a keyhole at the men dividing the gold, caressing herself sensuously, while her lover's son Evan (Ray Lovelock) voyeuristically gazes on her with Oedipal lust. Django also falls in love with Elizabeth (Patrizia Valturri), wife of one of the leading citizens, who keeps her locked up in the attic on grounds of madness; the movie hints that she may also be her husband's daughter.
Milian doesn't have the brooding intensity of Franco Nero, but he does convey a certain blankness that befits his semi-zombie condition as a man believed to be dead. Tolo turns in an energetic performance but suffers from poor dubbing on both the English and Italian tracks. Roberto Camardiel as Mr. Zorro, the local grandee, has a gleeful approach to his own wickedness and is plenty of fun to watch as he attempts to lure Django into his band of ruffians. Dressed in white, he presents a picture of cleanliness that hides a black heart that is willing to stoop to kidnapping, blackmail and murder to get his own hands on the gold. Oddly, the subtitles give his name as Mr. Sorrow, which lends a whole new level of meaning to the character, particularly after he orders Django crucified.
The film was severely cut a week after release, with two very gory sequences being chopped out. One is a body of a live man undergoing surgery and then being probed by greedy fingers digging for the golden bullets of Django; the other is a merciless scalping. Since the loss of these sequences means two major characters disappear without explanation, their restoration to this print is invaluable. They are understandably in a little rougher condition. While some of the gore can be hard to take, the film is undeniably gripping in its own weird way.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B
Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture looks practically flawless for the most part. Color is superior and there is plenty of fine detail throughout. The wallpaper in the bar has a very nice clarity of texture that is surprising for a mere background element in a cheap picture that's 35 years old. The restored surgery scene is rather yellow and slightly dupey, but considering its history I'm willing to let that slide. The one downside is that two brief nighttime sequences toward the end are almost completely illegible.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: Both an English and an Italian dub are provided. Several of the characters seem to be speaking in English, but Milian's lip movements don't seem to match either language very well, so which language is preferable is nearly a tossup. The Italian version has a number of background speeches and interjections that are missing in the English version. The restored sequences do not have an English dub, obviously, and the disc reverts to Italian at that point. The Italian track is surprisingly clean for the most part (again, with the exception of the restored sequences, which are noisy). The English track has some minor hiss but nothing too obtrusive. The music tends to be somewhat tinny, but Ivan Vandor's score adequately comes through both with the obligatory electric guitar and mood music that would not be out of place on Dark Shadows. Both tracks are 2.0 mono.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Django. Run, Man, Run, Mannaja: A Man Called Blade
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Layers Switch: 01h:09m:26s
A gallery of 22 posters and lobby cards from around the world is provided as well as 9 stills and a few video cases. Wrapping up the package are anamorphic widescreen trailers for all four of the films in the Spaghetti Western box (the other three are hidden in an Easter Egg on the Extras menu).
Extras Grade: C
Final CommentsAn uncut version of one of the weirdest and nastiest of the Spaghetti Westerns, given a very nice transfer and some useful extras.
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