|Index||7 reviews in total|
"Hate Thy Neighbour" combines the classic Spaghetti revenge scenario,
with the regular Spaghetti "map" tale. The story centres around Ken
Dakota's search for the murderer of his brother, who was killed by
bandit Gary Stevens, at the behest of Mexican land owner Chris Malone,
for a goldmine map. Stevens tears the map in two, and gives Malone
half, spiralling into a running feud of double crosses between the two,
whilst Dakota attempts to bring the men responsible for his brothers
death to justice.
This is a really enjoyable Spaghetti Western, albeit with the odd moment of corny dialogue. It includes some really exciting moments, such as peasants and bandits duelling with metal claws for Malone's pleasure, torture by hanging over a pit of snakes, and some very talented bandito musicianship! My experiences to date have highlighted that Director Baldi can come up with some great movies (Blindman, Viva Django) and some absolute turkeys (Get Mean and, so I've heard, Rita of the West). Hate Thy Neighbour doesn't hit the highs of Blindman by any means, but is certainly an enjoyable view, with George Eastman (as Stevens) and Horst Frank (Malone) putting in good roles, and the plot having some quality twists and turns.
Not the easiest of movies to get your hands on, but certainly worth the effort if you are a fan of the Spaghetti genre.
There are some positive things I can say about the spaghetti western
"Hate Thy Neighbor". The colorful outdoor location shooting makes the
movie look different than the average spaghetti western. The musical
score, while not a classic of the genre, is tuneful enough. Eastman and
Frank make a couple of charismatic villains. And the action sequences,
from the hand-to-hand combat sequences to the shootouts are pretty
Unfortunately, despite all those positive things, the movie is almost ruined by two factors. One is the hero, played by Spiros Focas. He is not very charismatic, especially when placed before the movie's villains. He is also written to be a pretty boring hero, someone who needs assistance from a sidekick among other things. But a bigger problem is the movie's pacing. Between the (few) action sequences, the movie moves at a sluggish pace, and the story feels very boring.
So if you're not a spaghetti western fan, forget it. Even if you are a spaghetti western fan, don't seek it out. But if you are a spaghetti western fan AND you happen to come across it AND if you are pressed to watch something you haven't seen before... only then should you watch it.
After "Preparati la bara!", director Baldi made another movie with the
same team of villains: Horst Frank as the boss and George Eastman as
his right hand man. "Odia il prossimo tuo" is just a minor work, but
overall enjoyable. Ken (Spiros Focas) wants to kill his brother's
murderer Gary Stevens (Eastman), but Stevens seems to be protected by
the powerful Malone (Frank). But when Stevens and Malone become
enemies, Ken tries to get his revenge.
The three most memorable scenes of the movie are: 1) at the beginning of the movie, when Ken's brother is desperately knocking on every door trying to find help while Stevens is hunting him. 2) The duel with metal claws instead of knives, quite unique. 3) Malone tortures Stevens, hanging upside down above a snake pit. Yes, it's a violent movie. It suffers a bit from Focas not being one of the familiar (anti-)heroes of the genre, but with Eastman, Frank and beautiful Nicoletta Macchiavelli, some good actors save the flick.
Along with the town undertaker, a Man follows his brother's killer
(George Eastman) to Mexico, where sinister (and I mean sinister!)
gringo Horst Frank forces his Mexican slaves to fight to the death
using steel claws. Frank then sets his sights on Eastman's secret
goldmine, holding him captive and torturing him until the justice
seeking brother comes to take him away.
A fairly standard revenge plot is helped along nicely by some interesting ideas, unusual developments, and some fairly graphic violence, keeping things exciting and entertaining throughout.
Due to the crackpot nature of some of the film's plot elements, this seems more like a drive-in movie than a spaghetti western.
Horst Frank is a lot of fun to watch as the deranged, yet urbane bad guy, while George Eastman is good and nasty too. However, the hero is too bland and cardboard. You don't really feel anything about him, one way or another.
In the long line of spaguetti westerns, this has a double right to belong to the genre: it is a product 'made in Italy', and it has enough ketchup blood on the 'pasta'. Besides a few shootings, the highlights that may make this rather unique is the 'classic' addition of iron-claws used in two duels to the death: one between two Mexican slaves for their masters pleasure; and one between two 'gringo' bandits for possession of a tract of land, and a woman. Either the filming, or the video copying, are so bad as to diminish greatly the original intended gore effect.
I gave this movie a 2 only because the dubbing into English was pretty good. Other than that: simplistic, unbelievable and amateurish. I watch these things only for the comic value while wondering why anyone would actually spend money producing it. I like westerns, but they have to have some semblance of reality. Apparently the director invented a whole new way of fighting when the two fighters with the steel hooks would dance around each other covering their faces. Very strange. And it was amazing that so many men could be shot with one bullet and just fall over dead. One even got stabbed in the stomach and just died instantly. Give me a break.
Ken Dakota seeks revenge for the killing of his brother Bill and wife.
In his search for the murderers he runs into conflict with the evil
Mexican land owner Chris Malone (Horst Frank) who lets peasants fight
against each other for pure pleasure. The plot isn't straight and
simple and more often than not it is difficult to find any serious
reason for what is going on. E.g. why putting Eastman over a snake pit.
If he dies everything is lost and he won't talk anyways. Well, there is
the reason of maintaining a constant flow of carcasses. Despite the
rather violent and dark plot with various scenes of torture the film is
beautifully shot in a nice landscape with lakes and waterfalls in front
of a blue sky. Often the violence is accompanied by nice music and even
the villains prove to be skilled musicians. This generates a strange
contrast. George Eastman acts with pleasure and Horst Frank plays a
credible villain. Nicoletta Machiavelli has definitely some problems
with her role.
The film is pretty long for a Spaghetti Western and able to entertain as long as the viewer doesn't care about the plot. It seems to be filmed in 4:3 format.
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