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Without any legal justification, clean-cut Stubby (Fabio Testi)
suddenly finds himself thrown into jail with pregnant whore Bunny (Lynne
Frederick), drunkard Clem (Michael J.Pollard) and gravedigger Bud (Harry
Baird) - and that's a good thing, too, because this night, a group of
masked vigilantes pay the town a visit to massacre pretty much everyone
who they find on the street, with the blessings of the local Sheriff
(Donald O'Brien). The next day, the Sheriff gives Stubby and his new-found
friends an old coach and two horses - and warns them to ever set foot in
his town again.
Our four heroes try nothing else but to make it inot the
next town, which is some 200 miles away, but the path seems to get longer
and longer the longer they travel. Eventually, they meet Chaco (Tomas
Milian), an expert marksmen and hunter, and since he is able to get meat
on theri plates (quite literally), they take him with them ... but
eventually, he drugs them, forces Clem to tie them up, rapes Bunny, and
then leaves with all their belongings. he offers Clem a ride - after all,
he was his (unwilling) accomplice -, but when Clem tries to knock him out,
he shoots him in the leg and leaves the four of them to die. Clem unties
his friend though, and as a thank you they build a stretcher to take him
with them ... to wherever they are going.
Finally, our four heroes make
it to a ghost town, but once there, Clem dies and Bud goes crazy - so much
so that he serves his friends some of Clem's flesh for dinner without them
Stubby and Bunny, who have in the meantime fallen in love,
decide to leave Bud behind (not that he seems to care anyways), and make
it to wherever on their own. Eventually, they meet a travelling reverend
(Adolfo Lastretti), who takes them to a town without women - where
Bunny finally gives birth to a boy, but dies at child birth. The
inhabitants of the town without women, mostly cutthroats and low-lives,
grow soft with the arrival of the new boy they have christened Lucky by
the reverend, and Stubby decides to leave Lucky with them, witnessing the
men giving him an amount of love he could never give the boy who took away
the woman he loved.
Finally, Stubby catches up with Chaco when Chaco is
sleeping, and he tortures and kill him.
spaghetti Western, in which the Wild West is presented as a sort of
anti-utopia: Almost everybody in this film seems to be insane in one way
or the other, death seems to be lurking around every corner, the wide
landscapes seem to be primarily hostile and the paths through them seem to
invariably lead nowhere in particular.
Unfortunately, this bleak concept
of the West is not always supported by screenplay and direction: The
storyline of the film is a bit too episodic and too often seems to lose
its direction to really keep up the film's tension throughout, and
director Lucio Fulci doesn't always manage to translate the menace of the
story to the screen when it goes beyond blunt bloodshed (the film is
pretty gory) to creating a proper atmosphere.
All this said though, Four
for the Apocalypse is still worth a look though, also because it goes
beyond telling another typical vendetta tale the Italian Westerns have
become famous for.