What better way to start Frontierado Week than with 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?
The upcoming release of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained will reboot the Django saga by making him an African American and pitting him against racist villains out west. This will nicely blend Django’s bounty hunter tale with the 70s blaxploitation westerns starring Fred Williamson and others as former slaves blowing away Neo-Confederates in the Wild West.
Franco Nero starred as the original Django but sadly has just a cameo in the 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. Continue reading