Friday, February 11, 2011

FOUR OF THE APOCALYPSE (1975) - Lucio Fulci

Westerns, it's safe to say, are not Fulci's strong suit. Unlike his fellow countryman, spaghetti maestro Sergio Leone, Lucio seems a bit out of his element in the American West (i.e., the Spanish countryside) and in Four of the Apocalypse. He seems unsure where to find a labyrinthine murder mystery plot amid the prairie brush, unsure where to park his split diopter shots, unsure where to derive signature gore. Until the arrival of the sadistic "Chaco" (Tomas Milian), this movie is oddly sweet-natured for a Fulci flick. It's content to roam the desert with very little plot and four mismatched travelers -- a prostitute, a drunk, a black guy who sees dead people, Fabio Testi. They're all on the way to a town named Sin City or Sand City (hard to tell from the dubbing).

Though Chaco is only in this film for about 20 minutes, he leaves a feature-length impression. Whether he's carving out pieces of a captured man's stomach, tying up the foursome and force-feeding them peyote buttons or casually raping a pregnant prostitute while the helpless Testi looks on, Chaco is the type of guy you might want to forget to invite to your bar mitzvah. He serves as Four of the Apocalypse's sole reminder...ah yes, though I am in the "Old West" I am indeed watching a Lucio Fulci film.

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