• Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!

    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: September 25th, 2017.
    Director: Giulio Questi
    Cast: Tomas Milian, Ray Lovelock, Marilu Tolo
    Year: 1967
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    One of over forty unofficial sequels, in name only, to Corbucci's 1966 masterpiece Django, Guilio Questi’s bizarre 1967 spaghetti western Django Kill! is a tight and frequently very surreal film with a penchant for cruel violence and strange religious imagery.

    Leading man Tomas Milian plays an unnamed stranger, who at the beginning of the film is part of a gang of thieves comprised of Mexicans and Americans. Together they steal a massive cargo of gold from a stagecoach, but soon the Mexicans are shot down and left for dead by the Americans, who take off with all the gold. Milian, known only as 'the stranger' in this film, is down but not out and with the help of a pair of mystical natives he tracks the gang to a small town, not far from where they abandoned him and left him to die.

    He arrives to find all but one of the gang hung in the streets, and takes down the surviving member with his gun that he's loaded with gold bullets. But gold lust gets the better of the townspeople, and various corrupt factions within the small community erupt and start turning on one another with dire consequences.

    Django Kill! is a strange film, with scenes of rapid fire editing that are unusual for a forty-year old film. It moves at a very quick pace and is periodically laced with some fairly shocking violence, even by the tolerant (at least in that regard) standards of the spaghetti western. Additionally, the film has some unusual scenes of veiled homo-eroticism – again, something you don’t normally see in the genre, but not entirely out of place or out of context here in the story being told. Director Giulio Questi, probably best known for his surreal giallo Death Laid An Egg made the year after this film, shows a knack for strange set pieces, bizarre color combinations and odd camera angels highlighted by the movie’s most famous scene that (not wanting to go into spoiler territory) involves the final acquisition of the gold which the plot is centered around.

    Tomas Milian, every bit the anti-hero in this role, plays the character with more than a bit of a Christ complex, and turns in one of his better performances here. He’s sympathetic enough that we can get behind him but at the same time believably tough as the cowboy who has to set things right. A supporting performance by Ray Lovelock, better known for his crime films than westerns, is also welcome and noteworthy and both men turn in fine work here.

    The script was co-written by Franco Arcalli, who co-wrote Once Upon A Time In The West, and shows some interesting leftist leanings when you think about the political ramifications of what it lays out for us. It’s a smart, heady, and trippy film, not at all like any other spaghetti western and feeling more at home with the films of Jodorowsky or Fellini than Leone or Corbucci.


    Django Kill! arrives on Blu-ray from 88 Films in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer that seems to mirror the one used by Blue Underground for their 2012 Blu-ray release (reviewed here). The movie is presented in its original 2.35.1 widescreen aspect ratio. Compared to past DVD editions there’s a nice upgrade in terms of color and both texture and detail are frequently much better as well. However, some noise reduction is obvious here and there and sometimes the grain looks odd. In terms of the colors specifically, the movie isn’t concerned with realism in certain regards, so those bloods are supposed to look crazy bright and garish rather than dark and natural. Overall this is a pretty nice upgrade from the DVD but the transfer still leaves some room for improvement.

    English and Italian DTS-HD Mono options are provided, with optional subtitles available in English only. The subtitles translate the Italian track, not the English track. Again, things are pretty much the same as what we get on the domestic Blue Underground release, but that’s not a bad thing. Both tracks sound fine and offer clean, clear and well balanced dialogue. Both tracks sound quite good without a huge difference in quality between the two – take your pick, both offer clean, clear dialogue, properly balanced levels and a nice, strong sound mix overall.

    The main extra on the disc is an eighteen minute long featurette entitled Django Kill And The Evolution Of Tomas Milian. Hosted by ‘Spaghetti Western Historian’ Eric Zaldivar this is basically a history lesson in the production of the film that covers the cast’s work on the picture, Questi’s unusual style, the locations featured in the picture and more.

    Outside of that there’s a theatrical trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection. 88 Films has also supplied some nice reversible cover sleeve art for this release and the first 1,000 copies that are ordered off of their website do include a limited edition slipcover.

    The Final Word:

    Django Kill! is about as odd as a western can get but that doesn’t take away from its entertainment value. Milian and Lovelock are great in their respective roles and Questi directs with style and a flair for the surreal. It may not appeal to those looking for only the most traditional of cowboy movies but for fans of oddball European cinema, it comes highly recommended. 88 Films’ presentation seems identical to the Blue Underground release but those who don’t already have that disc or those in the company’s native UK who didn’t want to import, this is a nice option.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!