Hellfire Video Club: Spaghetti!
This month Hellfire video Club are celebrating some of their favourite Euro westerns. the Segio Leone biggies are the kings, but there are a pile of lesser-spotted ones that are worth your time. Here's a fistful:
DEATH RIDES A HORSE
Giulio Petroni, 1967, Italy
A meaty revenge western featuring many of the classic spaghetti western traits: A nihilist 'no one is a good guy' premise, beautiful visuals, a beast of an Ennio Morricone score, and Lee Van Cleef. The cheery plot follows a man, whose whole family were murdered in front of him as a child, spends his teenage years becoming an expert gunfighter so he can hunt down and dish out some ice cold vengeance to the killers. Badass!
Cesare Caneveri, 1970, Italy
This idiosyncratic entry in the Spaghetti cycle has the much-used 'drifter arrives in a town and gets mixed up in shenanigans' plot, but this has a very strange trippy vibe.
Light on dialogue and heavy on atmosphere, plus a boomerang fight and a killer psych-rock score (unusual for these films! The title track - as heard in the trailer - can be found on a B-side of a 70's Italian pop 45. Get digging!) this film will defo pique the interest of jaded cult film fans. Caneveri made a few other cult euro trash films - "Gestapo's Last Orgy" anyone?
CUT THROATS NINE
Joaquin Romero Marchent, 1972, Spain
Technically a Paella western (it's Spanish), this also inhabits the unused liminal genre-space of horror-western. The plot follows a wagonload of convicts being taken to jail across a snowy mountain. Bandits set them loose whilst looking for gold and the lone sargeant and his daughter have to try and corale these violent and untrustworthy buggers to their destination on foot. A gruelling and, at times, shockingly violent (for the time) film - surviving in the wilderness is the main focus here, as well as a heavily misanthropic tone - all the best Westerns have this though! Need to seek out some more Spanish westerns from this era.
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