Django Kill…If You Live, Shoot! is unlike any Italian Western that you’ve ever seen, somehow being all at once a Western, a splatter movie and some surrealism too. If you’re going in expecting the normal themes of a loner at war with an uncaring world, sure there’s some of that. There’s also way more than you could ever expect.
There’s a reason for that. It’s written and directed by Giulio Questi, whose films are never normal, from his script for The Possessed to the positively deranged Death Laid an Egg and Arcana, which pretty much ruined his directing career and kept him out of movies for almost a decade until he made some TV movies in the early 1980s, a place that allowed him to keep making films until as late as 2011, three years before his death.
Man, I don’t know where to even begin with this one.
Two medicine men discover a man known only as The Stranger (Tomas Milian, Don’t Torture A Duckling) who remembers attacking a Wells Fargo wagon and splitting the gold with his partner Oaks (Piero Lulli, the sheriff in My Name Is Nobody) before getting shot in the back. The Native Americans tell our protagonist that they have melted down what is left of the gold into bullets and that they want to follow him on a hunt to what they call The Unhappy Place.
The Unhappy Place ends up being a town full of maniacs who lynch Oaks’ gang. The villain barricades himself in a saloon before The Stranger finds him and wounds him before the townspeople tear him apart to get to the gold bullets. Meanwhile, as a shocked Stanger and the medicine men try to bury what’s left of the gang, the townspeople argue over what’s left of the gold.
Foremost amongst the weirdness in this town is the homosexual rancher with a hate-filled parrot Sorrow (Roberto Camardiel, Arizona Colt), who will kill anyone in his way to get the treasure. His men even crucify our hero and torture him with vampire bats (!) and scalp one of the medicine men.
What can you say about a movie where people desire gold so much that it ends up melting them while an entire town watches before our hero rides away alone, followed by children using string to distort their faces?
This is a baffling, fascinating entry in the world of the Italian Western, one that would be great even without the Django title. It’s also the movie debut of Ray Lovelock, who plays the doomed Evan.I haven’t even gotten to the psychedelic editing yet!
This is one of the strangest and yet most gorgeous Italian Westerns I’ve seen. A definite recommendation.
You can watch this on YouTube.