MASSACRE TIME (1966) Reviews and overview of Lucio Fulci Western

 

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Massacre Time is a 1966 Italian Western film about a prospector and his alcoholic half-brother who fight a rancher and his sadistic son. Also released as Colt Concert and The Brute and the Beast

Directed by Lucio Fulci (The Beyond; House by the Cemetery; Zombie Flesh Eaters) from a screenplay and story written by Fernando di Leo (Calibre 9; Slaughter Hotel). Fulci and Enzo Dell’Aquila collaborated on the screenplay uncredited.

The soundtrack score was composed by Lallo Gori (Poker with Pistols (1967); The Handsome, the Ugly, and the Stupid (1967); Django and Sartana Are Coming… It’s the End (1970); A Fistful of Death (1971); A Barrel Full of Dollars (1971); Werewolf Woman (1976).

New release:

Massacre Time will be available on the Arrow streaming service on July 12, 2021. The film is also part of the Arrow Blu-ray box set Vengeance Trails which will be released on July 27, 2021.

Reviews:

” …it’s definitely an entertaining western, with tons of action and even a bit of mystery thrown in (why are the Scotts so interested in Tom?) And while it’s not nearly as gory as some of Fulci’s later work, the movie has a high enough body count to keep the director’s fans happy.” 2,500 Movies Challenge

“Rather than revelling in the parodic excesses suggested by Sergio Leone’s then-current work, the story follows a fairly standard stylistic furrow, with just a few touches of baroque violence and familial collapse to mark it out. Unlike Sergio Corbucci’s Django films, there is little sense of a dark, mocking re-take of American manners, and the technical aspects of the production are only infrequently impressive.” Stephen Thrower, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, FAB Press, 2018 (new 348 pages revised expanded edition)

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“Unlike Nero’s stoic, emotionless character, Hilton’s has a cynical, almost goofy outlook on life and his stage play training shows through with his magnificent performance. Hilton was so good that he would rightly earn his own place in Spaghetti Western history matching Franco Nero’s star power and thus became a star of uncountable Italian films in varying genres to come.” Blood Brothers

“A particularly disturbing Freudian subtext is developed between Junior and his father […] The hard-edged nature of Massacre Time and the lack of female characters makes it an emotionally hollow experience, one which at times meanders a little too slowly. But it makes up for this with an exceptional final sequence that is shot entirely without dialogue and makes excellent use of a variety of strange camera angles.” The Celluloid Highway

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“Being a stereotypical Spaghetti Western Massacre Time uses the schematic laid by previous movies, and has the hero take one hell of a beating before standing back up and settling the score. Massacre Time has the splendid peculiarity that the “hero” in the traditional meaning still stays quite passive, and it’s brother Jeffrey, who actually is the sharpshooting settler of scores when it all comes around.” Cinezilla

“The Brute and the Beast might have been put together on a relatively low-to-middling budget but it’s a great looking and — at times — stylishly presented show. Indeed, Fulci and cinematographer Riccardo Pallottini present some expertly framed and angled shots here and the show’s action scenes — which feature quite a lot of flashy stunt work — are particularly well-staged.” DVD Talk

“Though just a “simple” spaghetti western, the film feels like it enters a very authentic dream space that we most often associate with the greatest of auteurs. Though he would most often be a “for-hire” director, he demonstrated a strong sense of personality in all his projects. Massacre Time is one of his stronger pictures and is a rare treat for the western fan.” Pop Optiq

“Fulci pulls off a handful of subtly disorientating scenes, including the moment Tom wanders into a genteel Southern garden party amidst the surrounding poverty and brutality. This prefigures the whip-wielding duel that in spite of its sadism proves a well-executed, gruelling set-piece […] Fulci stages a cracking final shootout at Scott’s ranch with an acrobatic energy worthy of John Woo.” The Spinning Image

“The film is beautifully realized from start to finish: Riccardo Pallottini’s expert color cinematography helps to belie the film’s low budget and Fulci shows tremendous assuredness in staging the action scenes. The characters are well-drawn and engaging and the actors do a splendid job. Nero is ideal as the world-weary but compassionate hero.” Troy Howarth, Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films, Midnight Marquee Press, 2015

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“Characters do flips, fire their weapons in mid-air and there’s even a few pigeons and some symbolism in there as well. Simply a great film. A very high four out of five for this Fulci classic, hopefully others out there will give it the chance it so rightly deserves.” Varied Celluloid

” …while obviously lacking Fulci’s trademark gore, Massacre Time is a dark and violent film. Apart from the opening, there’s a crucifixion, a nasty duel with whips and, while we don’t see them killed, we do see the freshly killed bodies of Carradine’s wife and two young daughters. Once revealed, the rather complicated relationships between the main characters only adds to that darkness.” Voices from the Balcony

Choice dialogue:

” …Massacre Time contains all of the best ingredients to be found in the genre: machismo that teeters on the brim of absurdity, peculiar dubbing, bizarre characters, elliptical dialogue and a casual disregard for human life. There’s also an absolutely fantastic score (complete with compulsory inappropriate title song) and enough singular touches to raise it into the highest class of its type.” The Wild Eye

Cast and characters:

Franco Nero … Tom Corbett
George Hilton … Jeff ‘Slim’ Corbett
Linda Sini … Brady (as Lynn Shane)
Giuseppe Addobbati … Mr Scott (as John M. Douglas)
Nino Castelnuovo … Jason ‘Junior’ Scott
Tom Felleghy … Murray
Franco Moruzzi … Scott Henchman (as Franco Morici)
Rina Franchetti … Mercedes
Tchang Yu … Undertaker (as Yu Tchang)
Aysanoa Runachagua … Sonko (as Aysanoa Runachagua [Sonko])
Roberto Alessandri … Scott Henchman (uncredited)
Gino Barbacane … White Dressed Henchman (uncredited)
John Bartha … Carradine (uncredited)
Sal Borgese … Short Scott Henchman (uncredited)
Amerigo Castrighella … Scott Henchman (uncredited)
Franco Cobianchi … Barman (uncredited)
Mario Dionisi … Farmer’s Son (uncredited)
Sergio Endrigo … The Balladeer (voice) (uncredited)
Giglio Gigli … Scott Henchman (uncredited)
Franco Gulà … Old Farmer (uncredited)
Rocco Lerro … Scott Henchman (uncredited)
Romano Puppo … Tall Scott Henchman (uncredited)
Franco Ukmar … Scott Henchman (uncredited)

Technical details:

92 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1
Audio: Mono

Original title:

Le colt cantarono la morte e fu… tempo di massacro [“The Colt Sang Death and it was… Massacre Time”]

Trailer: