Casey James, Balladeer’s Blog’s Official Movie Hostess
With the Frontierado holiday coming up this Friday August 1st the spectacularly beautiful Casey James, the Official Movie Hostess of Balladeer’s Blog, helps us get in the seasonal mood with another look at some very odd Spaghetti Westerns.
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). Continue reading
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