Saturday, June 20, 2009

Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)

Next up in our giallo-fest is Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling or Non Si Sevizia Un Paperino in Italian. Lucio Fulci is one of the triumvirate of Italian horror directors, the others being Dario Argento and Mario Bava. Fulci is known as the Godfather of Gore, fans of his gore-fests will not be delighted by Don't Torture a Duckling as it is light on the gore. It is, however, a very good thriller that kept me guessing until almost the very end.

The plot of this one is pretty good. In a small Italian village full of superstitious natives and even a local witch doctor, a serious of murders of young boys is occurring. The state police are called in to help whittle down what is a shockingly large suspect list for such a small village. The list of suspects includes the village idiot who also happens to be a Peeping Tom, the witch doctor, the witch doctor's girlfriend, the priest's mother, and the daughter of the village's richest man who has been sent home due to getting in trouble with drugs in the big city. One by one the suspects are eliminated (some literally) and the job of solving the crime falls on the shoulders of a reporter.

The film makes some interesting commentaries. The village and its residents, looking as if they are trapped in time, are juxtaposed against an ultra-modern super freeway; the incongruity is jarring. The priest's mother is a suspect simply because her daughter is mute and slow for her age. There are jabs at mob mentality, superstition, and the Catholic church. The boys that were killed are shown to be not nice at all, almost as if the film is saying that they deserved to die because they were rotten. The daughter of the rich man likes to tease the young boys and call them up late at night for assignations. And there are fat hookers.

The film is well-made, handles its subject matter well, is not overly gratuitous in its obligatory nude scene and kept me entertained throughout. I can wholeheartedly recommend this one.

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