Friday, 28 December 2012

Keoma (1976)

A fellow horror lover on IMDB made an interesting post saying that horror movies and spaghetti westerns go hand in hand.  I think it's a fair point and I agree with it to an extent.  There's lots of shared themes in both types of film.  Personally, I don't understand why there isn't more horror/western hybrids.  Think about the Old West as a setting for a horror film.  Why hasn't it been tapped into more.  In fact, why hasn't it be done so often that we're not sitting here right now thinking, ''Oh no!  Not another horror western.''  Anyway, I'll save this topic for my next post, because believe me, I have a LOT to say on it and I hope some high up movie person sees my little insignificant rant and does something to make it a reality.  Until then, I want to talk about Enzo G. Castellari's cult classic, Keoma, starring the original Django, Franco Nero.  This movie is so good that people still consider it a masterpiece in spite of its atrocious soundtrack (which didn't bother me much but I'll admit it wasn't exactly Morricone standards).  This is considered a classic among many fans of spaghetti westerns and after watching it, I understand why.

Nero stars as Keoma, a half-breed who returns to his hometown after serving in the Civil War to find it under the control of a vicious gang, which includes his 3 brothers.  They're pretty mean bastards as they force the sick townspeople into slave labour and treat women with the utmost disrespect to say the least.  It's up to Keoma to save the day and restore order to the town with the help of an old friend.

Apparently, the script was binned before shooting and they all just kinda made this up as they went along.  I can believe that to be the case as the dialogue isn't exactly going to win any awards.  Furthermore, there's no real cohesion to the plot.  It does however make up for those misdemeanours with raw emotion, bleak grittiness, impressive shots, beautiful landscapes, appropriate settings and some fine slow motion, action packed shootouts (the big shootout at the end is fantastic).

I recommend this movie strongly.  In a genre that has spawned countless movies (including a lot of trash), this really stands out.  Watch it now with all of the Django Unchained excitement in the air (Nero has a part in Tarantino's new 'Southern', I believe).

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