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50th Anniversary of Lucio Fulci’s “Don’t Torture a Duck”

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From Filippo Mazzarella

Pessimism and anti-clerical ferocity in the thriller/horror film that sees the mysterious death of several children at the center of events

A well-known landmark of Italian cinema thanks to the works of the last phase of his career that made him famous abroad before Tarantino referred to him as guardian deity, the “terrorist” Lucio Fulci (1927-1996) had already signed 25 films when on September 29, 1972, what was considered Unanimously (with “…and you will live in terror! Afterlife”, 1981) his masterpiece appeared: “Do not torment the duck.” After his beginnings in comedy of morality, Fulci directed thirteen films from 1962 to 1967 with Franco Franchi and Sisio Ingracia, occasionally touching on more outlandish projects (such as “The Kind of Stranger”, 1963, This Is Celentano’s first true cinematic appearance and his entire clan). or the rude spaghetti western “If Colt sang’s time for the massacre”, 1966); However, 1969 marked a crucial turning point in the discovery of unexplored genres to lead him to a maturity that, thanks to his extraordinary culture (not just cinema), allowed him to solidify and personalize his ruthless, pathological, and self-critical artifacts. and politically provocative cinema until the consequences of extreme horror (from the legendary “Zombies 2”, 1979, to “Cat in the Brain”, 1990).

In fact, that year the thriller debuted Barra Hitchcockiano’s “One on the Other” (with a reckless sequence of evil blonde between Marisa Mill and Elsa Martinelli costing him an abduction) and then the historical drama “Beatrice Sensi” (imbued with the spirit of Grand Guignol that thrilled the French press): two films that were welcomed by few Far-sighted critics of the time with the indifference often assigned to his “light” works, which represented the cornerstone of his transformation. Two years later, in fact, Fulci ventured into the “yellow” Italian trend with a “woman-skin lizard” (the “zoophile” title imposed by producers following Dario Argento’s “Trilogy of Animals”), which cost him other troubles: a complaint from animal protection for the canine chaining disassembled and resolved by presenting the false “corpses” presented by Carlo Rambaldi in court.

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In early 1972, temporarily, but strongly After his sad return to satirical comedy, he went to look for other troubles in the company of Lando Bozanca in the prophetic prophecy “The honorable loves women”, strictly forbidden to minors under the age of 18 but in any case kidnapped for “obscenity” (excuse behind him concealed in Indeed, the fatal fury of DC labels for the resemblance between the sex-addicted protagonist and then-Prime Minister Emilio Colombo).

I don’t pay, a few months after that countless scandalFulci is back in the office with the new fifty-year-old “Don’t Torture a Duck”: apparently another powerful post-Argentina thriller, but it’s actually a new aggressive ad of pessimism and brutality, anti-clerical and extremist. At the center of the events told are actually the mysterious deaths of several children at the hands of a serial killer who made a fanatic village in Basilicata the scene of his crimes. As reactionary locals suspect the mysterious “maciara” (Florinda Bolkan) of the smell of witchcraft and nearly murder a disabled but innocent fool, journalist Andrea Martelli (Thomas Milian) arrives on the scene and meets a young and anxious parish priest from the country (Marc Borrell) and his shady mother ( Irene Pappas) and in collaboration with the beautiful Patrizia (Barbara Bouchet), the unrestrained daughter of a Melanie businessman who was sent away from the capital, she manages to solve the horrific mystery.

Usually, we stay here longer In the plot of the films we decided to celebrate: but a more detailed description of the weaving of the script (written by Fulci with Gianfranco Clerici and Roberto Gianfetti), moreover in the era of “no spoiler”, it would be out of place this time. However, it must be said that in the remainder of the director’s thriller / horror film more complete and solidarity (later, the morbid atmosphere and religious component became more and more deliberate). Critical, indicative of Folci’s subtle will to bend the kind of “political” reflections that are never ideological but rather urgent in the social framework of contemporary Italy. Here Fulci shows a knowledge of storytelling mechanics (also borrowed from French noir) and a sheer suspense-building wit.

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And if all the stylistic and aesthetic options are present (Beginning with a setting that abandons the dark dimension of suspense to perform all of its most shocking sequences under bright, sick sunlight; the beautiful portrait of Sergio de Uffizi), the cast couldn’t imagine different: the rediscovered Polcan, the former protagonist for “Lizard”, perfect, as well as his exit from the scene to the tune of “Those Days With You” by Ornella Vanoni (one of the strongest scenes in all of Fulci cinema ); Milian (also in the second collaboration with the director, after “Beatrice Sensi”) is in a state of grace; Bouchet (apparently naked in front of a child, in fact met by a stunted adult: a sequence needless to say more than an iota of censorship) is an option that turns out to be a winning one; Both Burrell and the recently deceased Pappas brilliantly play a central role in the juvenile economy. Celebrating masterpieces by reviewing them (or seeing them for the first time) is both good and right: but it is also right to remind those who will try to do their hand in the establishment that the version circulated on television has been slaughtered by cuts (also at the expense of special effects, which do not Still treated from Rambaldi, from the memorable epilogue) and that only in DVD or Blu-ray (import) the movie is in the full version.

Sep 29 2022 (change on Sep 29, 2022 | 11:46)

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