20 November 2017



'You're rotten. More rotten than any corpse.'

When the Vatican demands that the negatives of your film be collected up and burned, you know you're on to a winner, haha. DJANGO KILL... IF YOU LIVE, SHOOT! is also sometimes rather hilariously referred to as 'the gayest Western ever made,' but if you're picturing singing, dancing and people doing the French mistake à la BLAZING SADDLES, you'd be pretty wide of the mark. It's not a musical (God forbid!) or a soppy love story or anything like that.

In fact, it's an Italian spaghetti Western-slash-horror film starring Thomas Milian, Italian heart-throb actor and singer. It's known for its high levels of bloody violence and gore and, to be perfectly honest with you, the full uncut and restored version of the film has only been made available to the public recently. Censorship laws caused some of the naughty bits to be cut out back in Ye Olden Times but now the naughty bits are back in all their resplendent glory. Yay...!

The devastatingly handsome Thomas Milian plays a chap known in the film only as The Stranger. He's a bit like Clint Eastwood's character in some of those terrific spaghetti Westerns where he rides into town, rapes the good-looking women who are eternally grateful for his attentions, puts the villains in their place and saves the townspeople from oppression before, erm, riding back out of town again. Love those old films. You always knew where you stood with them and what you were gonna get.

Anyway, Thomas Milian's Stranger has a kind of mythical, even mystical quality about him as, the first time we see him, he's literally crawling out of the grave where he was condemned to die by the double-crossing members of his own little gang of bandits.

Two Indian medicine men kind of 'adopt' him and hang out with him while he figures out what he's gonna do with the rest of his life. Clearly, college is outta the question, haha. He decides instead to go into the revenge business, a bit like Mandy Patinkin in THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Remember 'My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die...?'

The Stranger doesn't have a whole lot of luck in the revenge business. Which is just as well because, when it's all done and dusted, you never know what to do with yourself. Again, just like Mandy Patinkin in THE PRINCESS BRIDE who, after he finally kills the evil Count Rugen, is heard to remark: 'I have been in the revenge business so long that, now that it is over, I don't know what to do with myself.' Yeah, what he said...

The Stranger arrives at a nearby town to find that he's too late to extract a painful vengeance from his old pals, the bandits who tried to cheat him out of his share of the gold they've nicked together from a Wells Fargo covered wagon.

The townspeople have beaten him to it and, in an act of highly unusual pro-activeness from townspeople, who normally run around like headless chickens in times of crisis, waiting for an alpha male to tell them what to do, they've divvied up the bandits' gold between themselves. Leastways, a couple-a the town's most prominent citizens have done so.

The rest of the film is taken up with different factions trying to steal the gold from each other. In the local saloon, we've got the Templers, father Bill and son Evan, and the father's drop-dead-gorgeous mistress Flory. Flory is grasping, greedy and upwardly mobile and she wants to be married to Bill and swanning around like a lady draped in furs and bedecked with jewels.

Evan, Flory's stepson, is an unbelievably beautiful young male in his twenties, cast somewhat in the mould of the handsome Ian Ogilvy, which is ironic as Ogilvy portrayed Simon Templar, the Saint, in the television series and Evan's character in this film is also named Templer, albeit with a different spelling. 

Okay, so it's not a great coincidence, but it's the kind of thing I notice, lol. With his startlingly blue eyes, flawless skin and floppy browny-blonde hair, Evan is the kind of guy whose spectacular good looks make womens' knickers descend of their own volition, I'm telling you.

When the scrumptious Evan is kidnapped by a local band of homosexual bandits, led by the larger-than-life Sorrow (yep, him's gay too!), and held captive until his father forks over his gold to the bandits, things get really ugly. The gay bandits are jizzing themselves (pardon my frankness) at the sight of the angelic-looking Evan. The guy lasciviously eating the banana really gets his point across.

The gang-rape of Evan by the marauding homosexual bandits takes place off-screen, but its consequences are all too plain. The Stranger, who'd liked Evan as a friend and as a person, is distraught. He takes the body back to Evan's father and gives him a punch in the kisser for good measure. He deserves it too, the guy who put his precious gold above the safety of his son.

The Stranger is also involved with Templer's business partner, a chap called Alderman. Alderman's got a Mad Wife locked in the attic, Mrs. Rochester-style, and he's not above lending her to the Stranger for sex in order to induce the Stranger to protect him from the bandits, who are coming after him now for his gold. That bloody gold again. No wonder they say it drives men mad. There's hardly a character in the film who doesn't get his head turned by the stuff.

So, does the Stranger, aka The Man With The Golden Bullets (as opposed to The Man With The Golden Gun), find love with the Mad Woman In The Attic, who incidentally manages to always be wearing make-up despite her unfortunate incarceration, or does he end up riding out of town alone like Clint Eastwood's character usually does? You'll have to buy this superb spaghetti Western for yourselves to find out, folks.

I highly recommend it. It's sexy, sweaty, bloody, gory and you can practically smell the testosterone and horse-shit. It's got a fantastic musical score, vampire bats schooled in torture and a wonderful nudie gay male crucifixion scene which just screams 'blasphemy!' and was possibly the reason for the Vatican's trying to have the film's negatives burned in the first place.

There's a very graphic scalping in it too, possibly the first one of its kind to be shown in a film, and the disc comes with an interview with a film critic who was good friends with Thomas Milian for the last five years of the actor-singer's life. God bless him, he was a very impressive eighty-four years old when he passed away. Watch DJANGO KILL... IF YOU LIVE, SHOOT! if you want to see what was possibly his most famous film. It's well worth your time and your money.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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