Django, 1966. Directed by Sergio Corbucci. Franco Nero, Loredana Nuskiak

This infamous Spaghetti Western finds mysterious stranger Django (Franco Nero) coming between a gang of viscious vigilantes and Mexican bandits. During the course of the movie, Django racks up the most impressive body count of any gunfighter in the history of the Western. This movie is violent--shockingly violent, even today. The entire thrust of the movie seems to be to see how many people can be annihilated at he hands of our anti-hero. To this end, it skews things so that everyone who gets killed appears to deserve killing. The vigilantes aren't just stock bad guys, they are genocidal fascists who wear red hoods (rather than white hoods) and carry a burning cross as a standard and amuse themselves by using Mexican peasants as skeet targets. The Mexican bandits are drawn just as broadly--every negative stereotype of the Mexican bandito is amplified in the depictions of these loathsome characters. Django himself is hardly any better, but since he is happily exterminating the rest of the cast, he seems to be at least a cut above the rest. Having said all of that, the movie itself has some arresting imagery: Django first appears dragging a coffin behind him, kind of like the Ancient Mariner and his albatross. The town itself is possibly the bleakest, most foreboding town ever to appear in a western. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Django is how it serves as a snapshot of Eye-talian exploitation before the Eye-talians discovered zombies and cannibals. The same streak of sadism is there, as are many of the usual suspects (the assistant director on this flick, for instance, is Ruggero Deodata of Cannibal Holocaust infamy). The idiom even seems appropriate for expressing whatever it is that makes spaghetti exploitation as sick at heart as it is. There are over fifty unofficial sequels to Django, which seems incredible given how viscious and mean a film this really is.


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