With Frontierado rapidly approaching on August 5th – or for those of us who kick things off the night before – August 4th – let’s take a look at some of the most obscure but laughably weird Italian westerns. And what better way to start that list than with one of the countless Spaghetti Westerns with phony Django titles?
Franco Nero starred as the original Django but sadly had just a cameo in the 2012 reboot. The original movie was a monumental success everywhere in the world except the U.S. back in 1966. There was only one other “official” Django movie (also starring Nero) but there were literally nearly a hundred false Django movies featuring different actors in the lead role (my favorite being Terence Hill) or that just plain retitled and redubbed other Italian westerns to make them seem like Django movies.
1. DJANGO KILL (1967) – Originally titled If You Live, Shoot!, this was one of the many Eurowesterns to be re-released to theaters years later as a phony Django movie just so it could clean up on the guaranteed cash cow of the Django name.
In this one our pseudo-Django finds himself involved with a kidnapped teen boy, the gay outlaws who have kidnapped and raped him (seriously), and their Wild West castle (?) where they torture their victims medieval-style, including roasting them on spits. Pseudo-Django shoots gold bullets in this flick and greedy townspeople rip open the corpses of the gunmen who fall to him just to get at the precious metal.
Even worse is the scene where the gold-hungry townspeople rip open the wounds of people who were just injured by the gold bullets, adding wince-inducing screams to the tableau. For my review of the original 1966 Django movie click HERE.
2. THE PRICE OF POWER (1969) – The John F Kennedy assassination gets restaged in the Old West in this movie that also plays hob with the facts of the James Garfield assassination. Neo-Confederates in Texas 1n 1890 kill President Garfield when he visits Dallas. In real life Garfield was assassinated by a disgruntled office seeker in Washington DC in 1881.
Maybe Michael Moore had a secret hand in this flick. It’s as loaded with inaccuracies as anything he has ever made.
Anyway, there’s also a patsy for the assassination who – you guessed it – gets killed during a prison transfer. The hero is a gunslinger who stops the Neo-Confederates from engineering a second Civil War in the wake of Garfield’s death.
For my full-length review of this unintentionally hilarious movie you can just click HERE.
3. BAD KIDS OF THE WEST (1967) – Two wanted desperadoes take refuge in a town populated exclusively by children who all act like adults. The little boys all behave like squinty-eyed gunmen and the little girls all act like saloon dancers and prostitutes.
Hey, let’s just be glad this didn’t get re-released under the phony title Young Django or something. It’s not quite a comedy but also not quite an outright horror film like the “evil children movie” Who Could Kill a Child? The scene everyone talks about is the part where the kids urinate in glasses and serve it to the fugitives as “warm beer”. Based on a story by A.A. Milne. I’m kidding!
4. JESSE JAMES’ KID (1966) – Incredibly bizarre dubbing accentuates the bad movie appeal of this already strange movie. This flick distorts the facts every bit as laughably as The Price of Power did, but without the pretentious subtext of that movie.
Jesse James’ Kid proceeds from the premise that Jesse James’ son was THE Billy the Kid. Not only that but in this movie the man who shoots Jesse from behind is not Robert Ford but … Bat Masterson! Billy grows up and wants revenge on his father’s killer, which, to the surprise of nobody, he eventually gets, in a climactic scene where he shoots Bat to death with a six-gun that fires fourteen bullets in a row … I’m serious.
One of the many bizarrely dubbed versions out there features supporting characters being addressed as Pat Garrett, Doc Holliday and Judge Roy Bean. FOR MY NOT SAFE FOR WORK REVIEW OF THIS MOVIE CLICK HERE.
5. JOHN THE BASTARD (1967) – Don’t believe websites or reviews that call this a western adaptation of the story of Casanova. Instead, it is clearly a western adaptation of Don Juan, right down to a death by statue finale.
Our hero John Donald (Don Juan, John Donald … get it?) is a slick-talking gunslinger who seduces the ladies and outshoots their men as he roams the west with his manservant (not an African American) who often abets his boss’s trysts like Don Juan’s servant in the classic tale. Think of the scurvy adventures of the British antihero Harry Flashman and you’ll know what to expect from this movie.
John escapes a shotgun wedding with the help of the smitten sister of the woman he knocked up, then seduces and abandons that sister, too. He beds down with his brother’s wife (Martine Beswick), then protects a few Mormon wives headed for Utah from the army of Ku Klux Klansmen trying to kill them enroute. Naturally, his pay for wiping out the Klan army is getting a steady diet of threesomes with some of the brides to help pass the time on the long journey.
Finally, in order to steal the family fortune he shoots down his brother, beds down with his wife again, and is crushed to death by a statue of his slain brother, a death engineered by a gunslinging Mormon Danite sent to kill John for “disgracing” the brides he was trusted to protect.
HONORABLE MENTION GOES TO:
DYNAMITE JOE (1966) – The title hero is a Jim West- style government agent who dresses well, gambles even better and is a deadly hand with … dynamite. This oddity features Dynamite Joe on the trail of stagecoach robbers who have stolen a fortune in gold.
Naturally he beats all the bad guys without once drawing (or carrying) a gun but by hurling sticks of dynamite with giddy abandon, regardless of the collateral damage. This is NOT a comedy, which makes it much funnier. The theme song tells us Dynamite Joe is “dyna-mighty”. I’m serious.
BLINDMAN (1971) – A blind gunslinger, wearing a sign around his neck that says “Blindman”, is a deadly shot based on his extraordinary smell and hearing. This was one of the many Spaghetti Westerns adapted from Japanese movies, in this case the series about the blind, sword-wielding hero Zatoichi.
There are blatant comedic elements in this movie, which costars Ringo Starr, or else it would have made the main list. A knowing sense of humor dulls the Bad Movie Appeal. See also Deaf Smith and Johnny Ears (1972).
KUNG FU BROTHERS IN THE WILD WEST (1973) – Two brothers from China are separated in Hong Kong, but encounter each other in the American west. They heroically protect their new hometown from the scourge of the evil warlord who has followed them across the ocean. Not nearly as much fun as that description makes it sound. This movie is so bad it’s barely watchable.
JOHNNY HAMLET (1968) – Hey, if we’ve had Don Juan in the west, why not Hamlet? Johnny Hamlet comes back from the Civil War to learn that his father is dead and his sinister Uncle Claude has married his mother. Uncle Claude has also taken over the family estate, a sprawling Ponderosa-sized ranch with the hilariously strange name “Rancho El Senor”. Elsinore … “El Senor” … Get it?
WHITE COMANCHE (1967) – Shatner times two! This is a Shatnerific bad movie starring the one and only Captain Kirk as half-breed brothers Johnny Moon and Garvin Moon. The brothers are feuding as part of a romantic rectangle which also includes a white townswoman and a Comanche squaw. Joseph Cotten plays the Rio Hondo town boss who embroils the town in a war with the local Comanches, bringing the situation to a full boil.
FOR MY LOOK AT OVER TWENTY HORROR WESTERNS CLICK HERE.
36 responses to “MOST LAUGHABLY WEIRD SPAGHETTI WESTERNS”
Those are a great list–haven’t seen any of them. You didn’t include any of the Clint Eastwood ones. Maybe they aren’t technically spaghetti westerns, just looked like them.
No, you’re right, Clint Eastwood films like For a Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly are indeed Spaghetti Westerns, but they are not hilariously bad like the ones on this list.
I like the way you think. I am sad to say I enjoyed all of them!
Hey, nothing to be ashamed about, they are pretty good westerns. This list was strictly for bad movies.
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There are two in my list not mentioned in your list. I died laughing because of the actor and singer Dean Reed (who was a singer and actor in Hollywood but finished his career in East Germany and Russia (at that time USSR) because he was either a Communist, opportunist, or his talent sucked or the three in one
Oh yeah, Dean Reed! Last I heard it was unknown if he really did die accidentally or if the Soviets killed him because he started to complain about life in the USSR.
Dean Reed died in East Germany in 1986. He was already a liability in the Perestroika era. The Communists probably killed him and made it an accident. Reed did do an interview with 60 Minutes (his big mistake) because América didnt want him either ( he was a traitor and his talent was mediocre at best). These things combined to give the Soviets a POWERFUL reason to eliminate Reed.
Wow. He learned a sad lesson.
My opinión was he chose that life.
Yes, but he learned how foolish his choice was. He threw away life under freedom for life in a totalitarian nation.
Dean Reed’s life should serve as a lesson for those here in America who want to do the same thing and take us with them in the process
It should, but sometimes I think they are too far gone to ever learn.
I agree. They will be too far gone until life hits them. Then it will be too late.
You know it.
I decided to write my comments in my blog in order to close the issue.
Which blog post did you add it to? I did not see it over there.
This one. I wanted to use some of the old videos but was not sure about copyright issues although maybe it did or did not apply. I used this video of a record by Supraphon Czechoslovakia  provided by You Tube and declared it educational [which it is]. I then added my comments in English and Spanish in the hops that the American Continent, Great Britain, Spain, and the Pacific would learn something.
Okay, great! I will check it out, thanks!
PS: The cover was too funny
Ha! I know what you mean!
The films were Adiós Sabata with Yul Bryner and the other was Veinte Pasos Para La Muerte (20 Steps Toward Death). A university in Colorado honored this individual with a scholarship. Regardless I laughed because his acting was bad
I will need to watch 20 Steps Toward Death, as I’ve never seen it! Thanks for the recommendation! I love watching bad acting, etc. I enjoy Adios Sabata even under its original title of Indio Black. Why they thought tying the film to Lee Van Cleef’s oddball Sabata movies was always beyond me!
There are things I wont understand
Adios Sabata was originally titled Indio Black, referring to Yul Brynner’s character. However, it was later retitled Adios Sabata and distributed as if it was a Sabata movie like Lee Van Cleef’s film Sabata and Return of Sabata, even though Yul Brynner’s character didn’t act or dress like Lee Van Cleef’s Sabata character.
You can’t go wrong with anything that has William Shatner in it. The producer yells, “Get me Shatner!” Franco Nero is such a beautiful man. Just my impression is that American studios utilized him so poorly.
Exactly! In the original Django in 1966 Nero bowls women over to this day when they see him.
Bad as you might believe them to be, way much better than the shi(whoopee!) the Boss watches of the “current” ka-ka. I am, convinced with few exceptions, movies targeted at “hip” audiences of today are the result of minds in late stages of syphilis.
If you will, for comparison. “late stage” like Repullicans and Demicrinks.
I know what you mean!
You may very well be right about that!
I be Mister Science. Book on it.
You’re Mister Grammar, too! Your book-learnin’ is mighty impressive!