Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Then God Said to Cain..."Your Name Shall Be Klaus Kinski..."
Part of what I meant to say yesterday...

It's late in the day for me to be writing up one of these, so I'm taking the easy way out.

It's time to dish up some spaghetti (...and lots of bad puns).

After The Ruthless Four, I needed a pick up in the world of spaghetti. My crisp clean copy of Face to Face just wasn't quite enough. And I still had one I hadn't seen yet.

Antonio Margheriti, the man who would be responsible for science-fiction masterpiece Yor: The Hunter from the Future (be sure to read masterpiece with the proper amount of sarcasm, but don't think I don't like that movie), helmed the Klaus Kinski starring And God Said to Cain. This is one of the only times I can recall that Klaus ever played a non-ensemble heroic lead. Furthermore, like The Stranger's Gundown, the tone of this one was more horror than western.

Kinski plays Gary Hamilton who at the opening is released from prison. He returns to his hometown preparing to seek revenge on a wealthy rancher named Acombar. When Acombar learns of Hamilton's return he sends his squadron of goons to hunt him down. Using the dark and heavy storm blowing in and a network of caves under the town, Hamilton eliminates his hunters one by one. Eventually, Acombar's on seeks Kinski out and learns the truth behind the revenge before the final shootout.

To be honest with you, if I had one major complaint, it's that I never thought I was gonna learn why Kinski's ticked off. You get a hint here and a hint there, but everyone mainly talks around it. Well, that gets irritating after a while. "Yes he told me." "You know, but he must never learn." That sort of thing. When the explanation did finally come, it was in the middle of the climactic shootout. That's sort of distracting from the carnage.

Now, it didn't bother me, but those expecting more traditional western story, or even a more traditional spaghetti story will likely be letdown. As I said this is more horror, specifically slasher movie plotting. Now, it's not as gory of course, but Kinski's Hamilton is definitely the Jason Voorhees of western heroes. It's all about one guy wandering off from his buddies and being killed in creative ways. For instance, one of the signs Kinski gives that he's claimed another victim is by wringing the church bells. At one point the thugs think they've trapped Kinski wringing the bells, but when they bust into the belltower they find a buddy strung up whose dead weight is pulling the cord up and down.

Perhaps the films most effective scene is the final shootout between Acombar and Hamilton in a room full of mirrors. Much like the finale of Enter the Dragon years later, Acombar shoots out a lot of glass trying to find the elusive Hamilton. All the raging fire in the scene was also a nice touch. (Reminded me of the finale of Samurai Reincarnation with Sonny Chiba.)

Ok, granted, if you've seen the movie, you're already making fun of me for calling Kinski a heroic lead. Well, he is THE heroic lead, but he's not much of A heoric lead because of the intense creepy factor. But come on, this is a horror-western, Kinski is by far the best choice. I have one minor complaint which is that they picked the weirdest voice to dub Klaus. Granted it's always a little weird because I know what Klaus sounds like anyway, but this one is way off. Then again, my copy, though DVD, was from a videotape, and hence as the movie is dark throughout, some of the scenes were totally indecipherable.

In any event, I had a good time.

Don't know what's next for me in spaghetti land. I'm still trying to track down my last Sollima western, The Big Gundown, and I've not had a chance to swing by the rare video store by me to pick up Cemetery Without Crosses. Anyway, once I, of course...will be the first one to hear me blather about it.

Ok. I've got run.

Be good.

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