= Highest Rating
a genuinely good Fulci film.
Quite a contrast between this 1972 giallo
and his zombie flicks; it's actually coherent and not ridiculously
gratuitous in the gore department. Fulci's camera fares much
better in the sun-dappled mountains of Italy than the fog-bound
streets of Dunwich... In this movie, Fulci throws a few twists
into the giallo formula. Rather than the usual urban setting
the plot takes place entirely in a rural mountain village, where
a serial killer victimizes adolescent boys. The cops — while
still totally ineffectual — actually figure in the story as
more than throwaway characters. Until viewing Blood
and Black Lace, I'd never
seen the police get this much screen time in an Italian murder
Not that I mind gore effects, but it was
nice to see Fulci go for creepy atmosphere over wall-splattering
entrails. (Not a single eye is gouged out in this flick — can
you believe it?) The chain-whipping scene of Florinda Bolkan's
feral witch Maciara, however, will definitely provoke a wince
or two; however, it seems to be in the film more to drive home
Fulci's statement about the immorality of vigilante "justice"
rather than for shock effect alone.
What I wasn't prepared
for was the perverse kinkiness of the Patrizia character, played
by Barbara Bouchet (Amuck!,
Belly of the Tarantula).
The spoiled daughter of a rich Milan businessman, Patrizia is
lying low in the village after a drug scandal in the city. For
amusement she sexually teases the local boys, to include parading
around stark naked before a 10-year old lad. (You won't see
that in an American film.) We suppose this was included
in the plot to make her the obvious "red herring".
Interestingly, Patrizia is not punished for
this wicked behavior,
as would be standard operating procedure in an American-made
While not in the same
league as Argento's genre classics, Don't
Torture a Duckling makes for a
satisfying, offbeat giallo. If you enjoyed The
Bird with the Crystal Plumage or Deep
Red, you'll like this
one... Apparently Lucio Fulci could make a decent movie.
(I realize I'm being a bit harsh here, judging the director
by only a handful — albeit
his best known —
Anchor Bay's DVD release is without any real extras — not even
a trailer, unfortunately — picture and sound quality are very
good. The 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is anamorphically enhanced,
while the Dolby Mono audio track is clear and distortion-free.
bringing this virtually unknown thriller to American shores is
something to be commended in itself. 6/06/01
Blue Underground is slated to release its edition of DTAD
in February 2007.