Friday, 17 July 2009
"But all my life I've searched for gold and this man is full of it!"
Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! is a movie I've wanted to see for years ever since I read a review of it in Empire and saw Alex Cox enthusing about it in the same reverential tones most moviephiles save for the works of Renoir on his Moviedrome season for BBC2 which featured the original Django, but, for some unfathomable reason, I never quite got around to buying it (why I bought practically every other movie in 4 Front Video's Spaghetti Western collection, including Django and the extrodinarily titled but excrutiatingly pisspoor Ringo And His Golden Pistol but not DJango Kill still stumps me) and managed to miss it when it was on TV in the late 90s as part of BBC2's Forbidden series, so in a fit of HMV browsing t'other day I finally bought myself a copy.
There's a lot right about it : the "motherless Mexican" taunts; Django/The Stranger emerging from the grave hand first; plenty of trademark Spaghetti Western looming close-ups and an experimental editing technique employed in Django's flashback montage scene; some fine scoring by Ivan Vandor which runs from sweeping to almost psychedelic to genuinely creepy; the gold stealing varmints strolling into the dystopian town known only as The Unhappy Place and being greeted by sickly men, children being used as footstools, creaking doors, singing girls with vampire fangs and gimpy hedgehogs crawling over the wooden walkways; a gang of gay cowboys led by a fat ginger landowner called Mr Sorrow and his yabbering parrot; some good shootouts throughout the movie with every character gunned down being completely lacking in morals and, thus, deserving their fate; various residents of said town plunging their hands into the sliced open stomach of the varmint Oaks who Django blasted full of golden bullets; the hot chick with the black hair; the supposedly crazy wife locked in the attic like some sort of Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre figure; the graphic scalping of the injun which was cut from the movie for many years; Django's Jesus-Christ-Pose when he's locked up in the jailcell and the wide-eyed bats twittering above him; the hot gold melting onto the guy during the house fire turning him into a molten bloke version of whatsherface from Goldfinger; and the two children pulling bits of string across their faces in the cemetary as they debate who's uglier in the final scene as Django surveys the tore-up cemetary before riding off into the hazy sunset.
Which, I realise, make it sound like a deliriously crazed masterpiece, but after all the hyperbole I've read and heard over the years I was expecting something more of a downright fucked-up, rabid bloodbath. I had visions of it being the original Django flick with the hallucinatory qualities of a Buñuel, the depravity of Cannibal Holocaust and the blood soaked style of Suspiria (the vivid crimson blood splatters and floods were probably an influence on Argento) with Django/The Stranger being less the O.G Franco Nero Django and more of a maniacal hellbent-on-revenge hybrid of Walker from Point Blank, Major Charles Rane from Rolling Thunder and Don Lope De Aguirre from Aguirre, Wrath Of God.
Not quite so, but a fine movie which blends Spaghetti Western and Italian Horror that I'm glad I've finally seen, and it was probably for the best I left it so long to see it because the movie which was released on VHS/played on BBC2 was an incomprehensible cut version and the dvd we have of it in the UK now is the full version, albeit with the cut scenes being in Italian from an original print. Damn you all for the slightly misleading, O-T-T hyperbole which pumped my expectations up to unrealistic proportions, and damn me even more for feeling disappointed when watching a great movie which can make a justifiable claim as the most peculiar Spaghetti Western ever. Peep Alex Cox waxing lyrical about it :
Completely unrelared note :
Oh shit, one of my favourite tracks of '09 has finally got a video :
G. Mane & G-Side - No One Duz It Betta