In the backward village of Accendura, the boy Bruno Lo Casio goes missing and the police inspector and the local commissioner and the village Captain Modesti investigate the case. When his father receives the request of a ransom, the police arrest the local Giuseppe and realize that he is innocent. Then the boys Michele and Tonino are also murdered and the police suspect of the local witch Maciara, who practices black magic, might be the killer but they find she is also innocent. However the superstitious and ignorant locals brutally kill her. Meanwhile that village is crowded of journalist, including the experienced Andrea Martelli (Tomas Milian) from Rome. He befriends Patrizi, a daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur that is living in the village after a drug scandal. They meet the village priest Don Alberto Avallone, who has a group of boys that plays soccer at the church and is the son of the weird Dona Aurelia Avallone that raises her slow six year-old daughter. They believe the ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sporting a title seemingly more suitable for a Looney Tunes featurette than a grisly giallo, "Don't Torture a Duckling" (1972) is nonetheless a Grade A thriller from horror maestro Lucio Fulci. In this one, someone has been strangling the preteen boys in a rural, southern Italian village and, typical for these gialli, there are many suspects. There's Barbara Bouchet (Patrizia), looking more scrumptiolicious than you've ever seen her, a rich girl hiding out after a drug scandal; Florinda Bolkan (Martiara), the local epileptic voodoo woman; her witchcraft-practicing beau; Giuseppe, the local idiot; the sweet-faced priest; his dour mother; and on and on. The film features some unusually violent set pieces, including a chain whipping of one of the main characters in a graveyard (one of the most realistically bloody sequences that I've ever seen) and a nifty dukeout when the killer is ultimately revealed. The film's bursts of violence compensate for the fact that there are no real scares or suspense to speak of. Still, this giallo fascinates, with its unusual rural backdrop, unsettling child murders, oddball characters, and freaky score by Riz Ortolani. The film has been beautifully photographed in what I presume to be Monte Sant'Angelo, near the Adriatic in southern Italy (at least, that town's police force is thanked in the closing credits). And while subtitling would've made this fine-looking DVD work even better (the American slang doesn't convince in this rural Italian setting), Anchor Bay is to be thanked for another job well done. Oh...that title DOES eventually make perfect sense, too!
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