18 June 2024
Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)
102 min.
Directed by Lucio Fulci.
With Florinda Bolkan, Barbara Bouchet, Tomas Milian, Irene Papas, Marc Porel.
Excellent, beautifully realized horror film from director Lucio Fulci.

In the southern Italian village of Accendura, a rash of unsolved killings involving young boys plagues the community.

A journalist from Rome (Milian) begins an investigation, aided by a promiscuous local woman (Bouchet), and the help of a local priest (Porel). The town is sure they have the boy-killer in the form of a raggedy gypsy witch (Bolkan), who they beat mercilessly in retaliation.

But the answer to Don't Torture is much deeper than the most obvious suspect.

In one of the better giallos from this time period, Fulci carefully touches on the subject of pedophilia, as the boys in the village are also the targets of a beautiful woman (Bouchet), who has an unhealthy appetite for them.

There are also shades of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, as the main suspect in the murders is the town witch.

The superior cast includes Italian action regular Milian, lovely Bouchet and Greek leading lady Pappas.

And in one of the most unsettling sequences we've ever seen - and we've seen quite a lot - a group of townspeople seek retribution by trapping Bolkan in a cemetery and beating her senseless with a chain and pipe...just the kind of realistic-looking stuff for which the director would become infamous.

Overall, one of Fulci's meatier horrors. Structurally strong, thematically resonant, and character-driven, Don't Torture is one of his finest hours.

Italian: Non si sevizia un paperino.

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