Don't Torture a Duckling Reviews
Here's a horror film with something to say. "Don't Torture a Duckling" is one of Lucio Fulci's most thoughtful, most interesting films; and also one of his best. It arrives at a time in horror cinema history where a lot of good stuff came out, yet this still counts as rather..."unnoticed". I don't see why that is. I thought it was a pretty great movie. Not perfect, but most definitely something worth talking about and seeing. I'd recommend it not only to all Fulci fanatics who haven't seen it, but also to anyone open to the ominous secrets and stylistic elements that lie within this genre.
At once a tale of child innocence blossoming into adulthood emotions, and in another instant, the story of a child-murdering serial killer; this film never quite sets itself up as a generic whodunit thriller. I admired that. It was tense and scary without being particularly needy when it came to either. It had an atmosphere, it had plenty of style, and yes, I'd be willing to experience it again. It is better than I wanted it to be; or expected it to be. And that's probably why it deserves some damn good praise.
In a small village in Italy, the local children are, sadly and frankly, being found dead. This must be the work of a killer, or so go the thoughts of the local authorities. They search, they search, and they search; and as with all movies of this type, it's never the police that save the day.
The local misfits and "weirdoes" are of course the first to be targeted, but is that really right? By the end of the film, you might be asking yourself such a question. And why wouldn't you? "Don't Torture a Duckling" is all about questions of all sorts; ones that can be answered by others as well as ones that must be answered ourselves.
I'd appreciate it if you'd all forgive me for not describing the plot as much as I could. My reason behind my vagueness is simple; I do not want to spoil anything. Like I said, "Don't Torture a Duckling" is a movie worth watching. If it doesn't interest you, then why are you reading this review? I am merely being nice to those who do care about seeing the movie. You will thank me later.
Lucio Fulci is known as one of the many, if not the only, "godfathers of gore". The man's fascination with gory visual effects has always been something of interest to me. I too like it when a filmmaker puts an emphasis on visuals and style over story; yet they can still make an entertaining movie out of it. Few of Fulci's films are truly "great", in my eyes, but what the hell; he fascinates and we watch in awe.
But alas, "Don't Torture a Duckling" is just a little bit different. It began Fulci's career as a lover of gory make-up, but it's not all about the effects. The story is well-developed thematically, and there are some decent characters too. Unlike some of Fulci's movies, this one has substance as well as style and high entertainment value. It might, therefore, appeal to a broader audience; which is good for any filmmaker, really. But none of Fulci's films are truly for all cinephiles, and you have to have a certain "taste" for this or any of his movies. But if you qualify, then get ready for a rather satisfactory meal. I'd suggest you dig in as soon as possible.
And here we are; "Don't Torture a Duckling" is actually, surprisingly, quite good. I definitely recommend it; and it's something that you should even go out of your way to see. It has a nice visual look, and the style of Fulci's directorial brilliant shines through the cracks. And we enjoy it; we go along with it. This movie could most certainly be viewed as silly, but at the same time, you just have to go with it, and allow Fulci to do his thing. Whether you like it or you hate it; this is well-written and perhaps even well-intentioned horror filmmaking. And it works not only for its genre, but also on many, many more solid levels.
A metà visione perde un po' di ritmo e si appesantisce, ma dalla scena (splendida! *) ambientata nel cimitero in poi il tenore si stravolge ed arrivano colpi di scena a valanga, fino ad un finale che sinceramente non mi aspettavo (sarò scemo?).
Menzione speciale per il politically correct del '72: "è sordomuta, è una bambina scema!", "non è come pensate voi: non è deficente, è solo ritardata".
*: La colonna sonora di quella scena è un vero colpo di genio, ma in realtà tutto è fatto da dio: dai movimenti degli uomini agli effetti speciali ai tempi. 10/10.