EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally reviewed this film on August 8, 2020. Since it’s part of Arrow’s new Vengeance Trails box set, we’ve revised and added to this article.
Massacre Time was originally supposed to be an Italian-Spanish co-production with Ringo co-star George Martin playing Tom Corbett. According to Troy Howarth’s book Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films, the Spanish side withdrew their involvement and funding after Fulci refused to tone down the script’s violence.
Fulci instead cast Nero at the suggestion of his assistant director, Giovanni Fago, based on his look from the production stills of the recently completed Django. George Hilton was cast in the other lead and had difficulty dealing with Fulci as a director.
This was written by Fernando Di Leo, who co-wrote A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, A Pistol for Ringo and The Return of Ringo, with the title taken from Franco Enna’s book Tempo di Massacaro.
Speaking of the violence in this film, Fulci would later claim that he pushed Di Leo to make the film as violent as possible, which Di Leo refuted, stating “I don’t know anything about Fulci’s claims that he insisted that I write a very violent movie. Fulci only directed well what was already on the page. The script was good and ready and he liked it the way it was, otherwise I’d have complied to his demand if there had been any”.
Nero and Hilton play the Corbett brothers, with Tom (Nero) coming back to their hometown to find it under the iron rule of Mr. Scott (Giuseppe Addobbati, billed as John MacDouglas for American audiences; he’s also in Nightmare Castle) and his son, Junior Scott (Nino Castelnuovo, Strip Nude for Your Killer).
Linda Sini is also in this. She also is in Fulci’s Don’t Torture A Duckling as Bruno’s mother.
Although an English-language version was made, AIP made their own dub of the film and released it as The Brute and the Beast, making it one of only two Italian Westerns released in the U.S. by the studio (the other is God Forgives… I Don’t!). In the UK, this is known as Colt Concert and in Denmark and West Germany, it was released as Djangos seksløber er lov (Django’s Six-Runner Is Legal) and Django – Sein Gesangbuch war der Colt (Django – His Hymnbook was the Colt). My favorite alternate title has to be what it was called in Hong Kong, Ghost Gun God Whip, and Spain, Las Pistolas Cantaron su Muerte (y fue Tiempo de Matanza)(The Pistols Sang His Death (and it was Time for the Killing).
Arrow Video’s Vengeance Trails box set has 2K restorations of this movie, as well as My Name is Pecos, And God Said to Cain and Bandidos, as well as a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by author and critic Howard Hughes plus a double-sided poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx. Massacre Time has an alternate U.S. dubbed audio track, new commentary by authors and critics C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke, a new documentary featuring a new video interview with Franco Nero and an archival video interview with George Hilton, an interview with film historian Fabio Melelli and the Italian trailer. You can order this from MVD.
It’s also available on the ARROW player. Head over to ARROW to start your 30 day free trial (subscriptions are available for $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly). ARROW is available in the US, Canada and the UK on the following Apps/devices: Roku (all Roku sticks, boxes, devices, etc), Apple TV & iOS devices, Android TV and mobile devices , Fire TV (all Amazon Fire TV Sticks, boxes, etc), and on all web browsers at https://www.arrow-player.com.