Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot
Director - Giulio Questi
Cast - Tomas Milian, Ray Lovelock
Country of Origin - Italy
Discs - 1
MSRP - $29.98
Distributor - Blue Underground
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
The Film (4/5)
Sergio Corbucci's Django had, I believe, one sequel made nearly 20 years after the original was made. That being said the original Django was so popular that outside of Dracula, Frankenstein, James Bond, and maybe Sherlock Holmes more films might have the name Django attached to them than any other. This continues through to this day with directors like Takashi Miike (Sukiyaki Western Django), and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) appropriating the name Django for their own Western-style films.
One of these early Django in name only films was Giulio Questi's Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! It is also one of the most violent, wild, and weird spaghetti westerns of the late 1960's, and that Dear Readers, is truly saying something. If you want to get a good grasp on the vibe present in this film imagine an Italian splatter possessed David Lynch packing up, and directing a Western, and you might have a bit of a clue. If you're starting to think El Topo, you've gone a bit too far, while a film like El Topo plays more in a metaphysically strange sandbox, Django Kill, is more of a dirty visceral experience.
The film stars the always excellent Tomas Milian as the Stranger. A man who got involved with a gang to find some gold in the desert. The people who headed up this little expedition, decided to betray the Mexicans they hired to do the dirty work, killed them (including the Stranger), and buried them all in a mass grave. Fortunately for the Stranger, he wasn't quite dead, and managed to dig his way out, and with the help of some kind Native Americans is resuscitated back to health. The gold that was on his person was forged into bullets, and he is lead into the nearby town only referred to as "The Unhappy Place" to seek his revenge.
The film starts strange, and gets stranger as we along with The Stranger wander through the community, with children arguing over who is ugliest, gangs of gay cowboys, and autopsies being interrupted by greedy townsfolk in search of a little gold. This is truly midnight movie material, the kind of film one would put on in the middle of the night as delirium begins to set in, and let it's eccentric flow just sort of happen. The only film I can really think to compare it to if Jim Jarmusch's 1995 film Dead Man with Johnny Depp, which is quite obviously inspired by this film.
In a way Django Kill is sort of an anti-spaghetti Western. When researching Blue Underground's prior release of a Bullet for the General, the director stated he was trying to parody the spaghetti western genre, however, he ended up making what is quite possibly one of the greatest none-Leone or Corbucci Spaghetti Westerns. Django Kill on the other hand, feels like Questi took a look at the Spaghetti Western at the spaghetti western playbook, then through it in a campfire, and made the movie.
Blue Underground have presented Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! in a nice 2:42:1 AVC encoded transfer that preserves the films original aspect ratio. The transfer itself is solid, but suffers from the same primary issue plaguing many of BU's recent releases namely a good helping of digital noise throughout. I will state, however, that this is a nice improvement over the DVD edition with bright colors, accurate flesh tones, and black levels, and a lot of extra added detail.
There are 2 Audio options a DTS-HD Master Audio track in both English and Italian. As I am a traditionalist (even though the Italians did not record sound on set), I went with the Italian language option for my viewing. The sound on the track was quite excellent with the effects coming through quite nicely, and the dialogue and music mixed quite well with nothing truly drowning out the other elements. Subtitles are included in English, English SDH, French, and Spanish.
All the extras on this release of Django Kill have been ported over from the prior DVD release of the film. The primary extras is a 21 minute interview with Tomas Milian, Giulio Questi, and Ray Lovelock about the film. The disc is rounded off by a trailer, and a stills gallery.
Django Kill is a weird and wild Spaghetti Western experience that should not be passed up. The Blu-ray looks pretty darn good, but does have some issues, and although slim the interviews on the disc are interesting. This movie, comes Highly Recommended for fans of strange cinema, and spaghetti westerns.