Giulio Petroni directed some very good spaghetti westerns during his short career, among them DEATH RIDES A HORSE, TEPEPA, AND FOR A ROOF A SKYFULL OF STARS, and this very obscure 1970 story of intrigue and murder, NIGHT OF THE SERPENTS (NEST OF VIPERS, RINGO KILL) starring the little known American actor Luke Askew and genre regulars Luigi Pistilli and William Bogard. Luke plays Luke, a gringo saved from death in the desert by bandit leader Bogard, whose men treat the Americano like the drunken fool he is. He's been inside a tequila bottle for a long time (later on we find out why) and is chosen to be a sacrifice in a plot hatched by Federale Lieutenant Hernandez (Pistilli). The plot? Kill Manuel, a kid who stands to inherit 10,000 dollars, and all of Manuel's relatives want a piece of it. Askew is good as the drunk, nervously rubbing his lips and eyeing bottles of tequila he can't afford. When he decides to sober up and take a stand the hair on your neck will stand up. The drunk fights like he's ten feet tall, says one of Bogard's men. Chelo Alonso is along for the ride as Manuel's immoral aunt, and the entire cast is good, as is the music by Riz Ortolani. The English track for this was very elusive, finally surfacing in a nice South African widescreen print released by Global under the nonsensical title RINGO KILL. Definitely worth a watch by fans of the genre.
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