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Here’s another spaghetti western from Fulci. In this yarn, the four survivors of a vigilante attack (Bunny, a pregnant prostitute, a gambler named Stubby, an alcoholic named Clem, and a man who sees ghosts named Bud) on a wild west town traverse the trackless terrain of the desert while being hounded by a bandit gunman named Chaco who at first makes friends with the motley crew before poisoning them with hallucinogens and leaving them to die. Yeah, it’s that kind of movie. While lacking in the typical excess gore that Fulci usually brings to the table, the story is an emotional roller coaster filled with violence and a dramatic plot that’s sure to engross viewers. It may not be your atypical spaghetti western, but it still mixes the wild west genre with a few elements that it rarely sees to make for a unique viewing experience that only Fulci would have been capable of.
Now for a little something different. Lucio Fulci wasn’t just a gorehound, he also devoted some of his time to spaghetti westerns. Silver Saddle (aka The Man in The Silver Saddle and They Died With Their Boots On) takes place in a border town in Texas sometime in the 1850s. A young boy watches his father get gunned down and turns the tables on the would-be assassin, killing the man where he stands and making off with his horse and distinctive silver saddle. The young man is shown a few years later as a successful bounty hunter named Roy Blood. Roy Blood. If the protagonist’s name alone isn’t enough to make you want to watch the film, the fact that it incorporates Fulci’s trademark quirks and style in what was actually his first genre of choice – a genre he does considerable justice to. Rather than a trailer, here’s a video of the kill count in the film to whet your appetite for both spaghetti westernsm gunfire, and explosions.
This is one of Fulci’s most significant films in that it was the film he started using so much gore in. This is another of Fulci’s works that is deeply rooted in mysticism – although Fulci himself was a well-known atheist, and this film saw only a limited release in Europe because of it’s heavy criticism of the Catholic church. In the small Italian village of Accendura, a sudden string of child murders prompt a reporter and a ‘worldly’ young woman to investigate. It’s not easy for them along the way considering that the town is steeped in old world superstitions and surprise, surprise, they hate outsiders. Thrown in a little bit of black magic, tense sexual themes, and a scathing look at the Catholic church, and you’ve got a classic giallo on your hands.
This film wasn’t even released in the United States until 1983, two years after it had been made. It’s one of Fulci’s goriest offerings and by far, and one of the spookiest too. It’s the second film in the Gates of Hell trilogy and takes place at Seven Doors Hotel, where in 1927, an angry lynch mob crucified and poured quicklime all over one of the tenants whom they believe to be a warlock. Why can’t anyone ever die in peace in a Fulci movie? His death prompts the opening of one of the seven doors of death, which allow the dead to cross over into the world of living. A few decades later a young woman inherits the hotel and subsequently has to face off against supernatural baddies ranging from ghosts to the living dead to face-eating tarantulas.
Up until number one and two on the list, I’d had a relatively easy time deciding what should be put where. Zombie holds a special place in my heart and so it’s made it’s way to number one. The Beyond and Zombie are perhaps Fulci’s best known works outside of Europe, and with several good reasons. The movie starts straightaway with akilling a policeman on an abandoned yacht. The boat belongs to the father of a young woman who teams up with a reporter to go to a remote island in in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where her father was last heard from, suffering from a strange disease. You can guess how the plot takes off from there, but most of you will have seen a few shots from this film in some media or another. Worth the price of admission is the infamous scene where a zombie does battle with a tiger shark underwater. The more cringe-worthy of the death scenes is an excruciatingly long scene in which a character’s eyeball is forced toward a splintered piece of wood by a zombie. It almost feels like a climax when the pay off finally happens. Zombie has inspired countless works of fiction and has created a legacy and standard for all zombie films that few have been able to measure up to.
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