In a small town in the Old West, a bandit is about to be hung for his crimes, but before the sentence can be carried out, his friends and a group of hired Mexican killers attack the townspeople and free him. Re-united, the gang pay off the Mexicans, but quickly attack them at night and take back their money. The group plan an attack on a stagecoach carrying a large amount of money - the heist is successful, but Randall (Rod Dana) is gunned down and doesn't make it back. The rest of the gang hide out in a ghost town until the heat is off and they can move into Mexico, but when a drifter and a woman he has rescued from an overturned wagon arrive in the town, the atmosphere begins to change and tensions arise between the gang members...
Penned by screenwriter Mino Ripoli, Kill the Wickeds is an example of the great changes that the Italian film-makers would make to the Western during the 1960s - the fights are harsh, brutal and bloody and there are several sexual hints and near nude scenes that make the film seem like a much later entry to the Italo-Western cycle. The storyline is deceptively simple and for two-thirds of the runtime the characters never leave the ghost town - however, although slowly paced, some strong characterisation combined with a very unsettling and genuinely creepy atmosphere means that the film never becomes dull - building up to a very effective and tense climax.
Director Tanio Boccia (credited as Amerigo Anton) had worked previously on the very traditional style Spaghetti Western Uccidi o muori (1967) and a number of Pepla, but he adapts well to this very different production, often filming it more like a horror film than a Western. The ghost town set is a highlight of the film, looking genuinely filthy and abandoned, with a gothic undertone that adds to the horror tinged atmosphere. As well as a rather typical opening song, hard working European composer Angelo Francesco Lavagnino, also behind the score for Corbucci's Gli specialisti (1969), provides a really fitting soundtrack that well suits the mood of the production (with one exception during the stagecoach robbery where the tone of the music is much too light).
Two small name American actors take top billing here. Larry Ward, an experienced television actor (but now best known for providing the voice of Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars Episode VI (1983)) made a couple of European films and here plays the drifter, while Rod Dana - who came to Rome to sing (providing the theme song for Massacro al Grande Canyon (1964)) but soon found himself appearing in bit parts and some leading roles - gets a brief part as gang member Randall but gives a good showing. A couple of familiar genre names, Furio Meniconi (Il grande duello (1972)) and Massimo Righi (I tre volti della paura (1963)) alongside the very alluring Daniela Igliozzi (Mille dollari sul nero (1966)) play the other gang members.
A dark, brutal horror themed Spaghetti Western, Kill the Wickeds is a clear sign of the direction in which the genre was bound during the 1960s. Some great sets, solid action and direction and a storyline that manages to keep the movie moving despite being stuck for over an hour in the small town, makes this film well worth watching. Recommended to genre fans.
|Anyone famous in it?||
Rod Dana - travelled to Rome to sing but found leading roles including spy film Sicario 77, vivo o morto (1968)
Larry Ward - a veteran American television actor, best known today for voicing two characters in Star Wars
|Directed by anyone interesting?||Tanio Boccia - a little known Italian director who helmed a number of Peplum titles, including Caesar the Conqueror (1962) and later a few Westerns, including the very traditional Uccidi o muori (1967)|
|Any gore or violence ?||Several quite brutal fight scenes, some blood.|
|Any sex or nudity?||A few very near nude scenes.|
|Who is it for?||Spaghetti Western fans will certainly enjoy this unusual and well made entry
|Matalo (1971)||A very unusual Spaghetti Western from later in the genre cycle that re-uses the script from Kill the Wickeds almost scene for scene, providing a very curious viewing experience.|
|Visuals||Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1. Anamorphically Enhanced. Colour.
The print is very grainy but the colours are strong..
|Audio||English mono - sounds fine.|
|Extras||The disc includes:
|Region||Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC|
|Availability||Only available as part of a single disc, two film set along with Kill or be Killed.|
|Other regions?||Available in Italy from Surf Video - in Italian only.|
|Cuts?||Cut status unknown - no apparent cuts. Print language is Italian.