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I Quattro dell'Apocalisse

The Four of the Apocalypse
Four Gunmen of the Apocalypse / Four horsemen of the Apocalypse / Verdammt zu leben, verdammt zu sterben

Italy 1975
produced by
Edmondo Amati for Coralta Cinematografica
directed by Lucio Fulci
starring Fabio Testi, Lynne Frederick, Michael J.Pollard, Harry Baird, Tomas Milian, Adolfo Lastretti, Bruno Corazzari, Giorgio Trestini, Donald O'Brien, Charles Borromel, Goffredo Unger
screenplay by Ennio De Concini, based on a story by Bret Harte, music by Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi, Vince Tempera, cinematography by Sergio Salvati

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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 knowing.

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.

 

An interesting 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.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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