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Four of the Apocalypse
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VINE VOICEon August 2, 2008
Lucio Fulci, Italian gore meister, shocked me with "Four of the Apocalypse." Except for the scene where Chaco is slicing a patch of skin from his captive's stomach, this movie isn't as gory as I suspected it would be. I don't understand why it was never released in America. It is a very emotional movie starring Italian hunk Fabio Testi who starred in one of my favorite Italian gialli, "What Have You Done to Solange?" It also has British beauty Lynne Frederick of Pete Walker's "Schizo" and Hammer Production's "Vampire Circus" - one of my favorite Hammer films.

Testi and Frederick are locked together in the town jail when the good people decide to massacre everyone in a nearby saloon. They are freed, along with two others, and head across the desert towards another town. They are befriended by Chaco who betrays, tortures, and leaves them to die in the hot desert sun. They do manage to survive the attack, but they have no food, water, or transportation. Testi, a gambler, vows to obtain revenge against Chaco.

"Four of the Apocalypse" is a violent, emotionally packed tour de force of betrayal and revenge. I became emotionally attached to the four friends who struggle to survive. There are several scenes where I cried. I felt their pain. Their loss was my loss. I was very glad when Testi got his revenge!!

A beautifully filmed movie, "Four of the Apocalypse," has grandiose scenes of breathtaking mountains and deserts. I especially enjoyed the snow falling on the mountain village. (During filming, Testi caught a bad flu and was bedridden for several days.) The pop 70's music was great; there were several songs I wanted to sing along with. Great direction was provided by Lucio Fulci who has proved that he was a great film director of all genres.

"Four of the Apocalypse" is a must have for all fans of Lucio Fulci. I will have to view other Westerns that he directed. I bought "Four of the Apocalypse" for my dad who is a fan of the Western genre. Even though he enjoyed this movie, I'm going to have to keep it for my own Lucio Fulci collection. I'm only joking.
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on September 14, 2016
A great spin on the western. Kinda cheap but it's a great movie. My second favorite Fulci movie.
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on December 18, 2001
For it's time (1975) I Quattro dell'Apocalisse (Four of the Apocalypse) was considered so graphically violent that it was banned or shown largely edited in most countries when it was released and was never released in the United States. Now on DVD, it is shown uncut for the first time, and while it is a very violent film, it certainly isn't anything shocking by today's standards. It's a solid spaghetti western though, with some terrific performances by Fabio Testi, the beautiful and doe-eyed Lynne Frederick, and Harry Baird. There's also a typically quirky performance by Michael J. Pollard (probably the only actor in this film most American viewers will recognize), but the show is absolutely stolen by Tomas Milian as Chaco, a brutally sadistic outlaw the four encounter in the wilderness who terrorizes them then leaves them for dead. This is a good solid western, with good performances, some great action sequences, some truly disturbing scenes, and also some very touching ones. The only downside to the film is one sequence where Chaco hunts by shooting birds and rabbits--and it seems to go on FOREVER. Seemed totally unncessessary and cruel and could have been easily cut out of the film. The film would have lost nothing by removing this tasteless scene. The other downside to the film is the soundtrack. The instrumentals work well, but the songs that include vocals are horrid. So bad, in fact, that they nearly ruin the movie. Instead of the moody and ethereal soundtracks associated with most films of this genre, I Quattro dell'Apocalisse has a soundtrack that sounds like something out of a 70s easy listening radio station--just awful. If you can get around that one animal-violence scene and the hideous soundtrack, and you enjoy violent, brooding, thoughtful westerns, I Quattro dell'Apocalisse is one you're sure to enjoy. Tomas Milian's performance alone is worth the price of this DVD. And for Fulci buffs there's a very interesting (though awfully short, only about 17 minutes) extra featuring current day interviews with Fabio Testi and Tomas Milian that is worth seeing. Not great, but a good, solid Italian Western.
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on May 4, 2003
This isn't your typical spaghetti western - you know the sort - lot's of glowering faces, silly dialogue and violent action that crops up every five minutes or so. This operates on a slower, more pretentious level. The dialogue is still silly, the glowering faces are still there, but instead of numerous action sequences, Fulci gives us a slow, pretentious - almost dreamlike - affair. It's supposed to be one of his personal favourites, and it does have that air of "the director doing his thing" about it. Lots of "meaningful" but somehow unrelated sequences strung together to give an incoherant whole. The violence, when it comes, is pretty strong stuff: there's an opening massacre that has no bearing on the plot whatsoever, a scene where a sherrif gets skinned alive (while the heroes stand by doing nothing, for some strange reason), a rape, cannabalism and torture. But it's not the stuff of westerns - it belongs more in the realm of horror films or thrillers (in fact, compare this film with Fulci's earlier western, Massacre Time, and you can see that Apocalypse is really a precursor to his ultra-bloody and silly horror flicks of the 80s, where long bouts of inactivity and inane dialogue are punctuated by extreme gore). Apparently, in order to woo audiences back to a dying genre, the spaghetti westerns became increasingly explicit in their depiction of violence (it didn't work - this was one of the last westerns made). For a better example, check out Majanna. So why 3 stars? Well, it is a strangely haunting film. Maybe it;'s the cinemaphotography, or Tomas Milian's over-the-top performance as Chaco (the DVD features a great interview with him and Fabio Testi), or even the out-of-place 70s style soundtrack. Or maybe it's a combination of all the above (and the gore, of course). But be warned. If you like your spaghettis fast and furious, stay away.
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on March 6, 2002
To begin with, I hate westerns. Westerns continually bore me. But I love the films of Lucio Fulci (The Beyond, Zombie). So I thought I would give it a try. It turned out to be one of the greatest gambles I ever made ... It was a beautiful movie from start to finish. It is definitely Fulci down to the last drop. A lot of details are paid to the violence. And there are some scenes that were banned from America the first time and for good reason. If you have a weak stomach, Fulci might not be the director for you.
Normally, I don't appreciate the voices used when selecting voice-over dubs. But the voice they got for the black guy was very expressive and emotional. The movie is filled with poignance. And you have to admit the scene in the mining town when the miners are gambling over what the gender of the baby's gonna be, and then he is born and every miner stops and faces towards that little building is one of the most beautiful of all time. There's some nudity, disturbing scenes, graphic (and I'm not kidding) violence.
If you have a strong stomach and love westerns or well-written stories, Four of the Apocalypse is definitely for you.
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on June 17, 2007
I bought this alongside "Great Silence" after viewing "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly", my favorite again, during a resurgence of interest in Spaghetti Westerns.
"Silence" was great (see seperate review) but this one didn't deliver on the hype that surrounded it. I applaud it for it's mostly UN-western approach being a tale of four individuals traveling from a dangerous situation in one town with literally the clothes on their back to the next and their encounters along the way.
Chief of which is Tomas Milian's Chaco playing the role of the Western equivalent of a deranged psycho hitchhiker. This is when the film is at it's best, but alas all too briefly.
After this high the movie seemed to drag for me until the no-surprise finale that could have been done better.
There was a lot of build-up to this I had either heard or read. Like most items of the type you need to see them for yourself. "Great Silence" measured up..."Four of the Apocalypse" didn't.
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on February 3, 2015
First off I'm a big fan of Tomas Milian - my favorite western is Companeros! With him, Franco Nero & Jack Parlance. It's just wild. "The Great Silence" is fantastic too. That being said - this is just too slow and even with the violence - boring. It could be condensed to 20 minutes and you would not miss any scenes. I liked the camera angles, the shots, the lighting, but just not the movie.
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on September 17, 2002
This is a strange film. It's a dreamy, hypnotic Western, and Fulci was evidently developing the weird dream aesthetics that permeated THE BEYOND and HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY. There are some brilliant sequences: the opening massacre; Chaco's torturing of a lawman; the travelling through the desert sequences, and others are a marvel. But the film can't sustain this. Sentimentality ruins the film. There are too many extended death bed scenes and too much gushing warmth. The sequences of dread are far more convincing. The film takes a massive detour into sentimentality and takes ages to get back. But the final showdown between Stubby and Chaco is brilliant: the penultimate image of Stubby's shattered narcissism is unforgettable.
The dvd is fine. Picture is excellent, and an interesting interview with the film's stars: the brilliant actors Tomas Milian and Fabio Testi.
Overall, an interesting film, one that I wish was the masterpiece that it could have been. You'll like it, but you'll wish you could like it better.
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on September 12, 2002
"I Quattro dell'apocalisse" is a good example of the spaghetti western at the end of its run: sensationalistic, self-referential, often tedious, yet sporadically brilliant. For Lucio Fulci surely has his moments in this film: the greatest is when Lynne Frederick (who plays "Bunny" O'Neill) gives birth in an isolated, mountain mining town inhabited solely by men, the entire population of which waits silently outside the saloon in hopes of hearing the baby's first cry. It's a stunning moment, visually and narratively. Unfortunately, Fulci too often descends into gratuitous sadism, such as when Tomas Milian (as "Chaco," a rather banally gruesome outlaw) tortures an unlucky lawman or when Fabio Testi (as Stubby Preston, the film's ostensible anti-hero) attempts to remove a bullet from a comrade's leg. The massacre that opens the film (in which townspeople rid themselves of local "undesirables") is also an act of pure gratuity: poorly filmed and edited, it seems simply a warm-up for Fulci's subsequent horror film techniques. Although the bare bones of the plot is intriguing--four of the town's "undesirables" are allowed to "escape" into the desert where they are further victimized by Chaco while attempting to make it to a rather mythical place called "Salt City"--the film's heavy-handed symbolic imagery, outrageously dated scoring, and perfunctory "revenge plot" coda, are surely not what Bret Harte had in mind all those years ago. Unless you're a big fan of Fulci's special brand of film-making, "Four of the Apocalypse" is best viewed as a curiosity or a final nail in the spaghetti western's coffin.
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on October 28, 2012
Of the large body of Italian westerns, many are largely forgotten. For every Sergio Leone, there would have been a dozen or more contenders. Four of the Apocalypse is a real oddity; but one that should be seen by any afficianado of the genre. Way over the top, it is a real hoot. What places this slightly above the others though is the modern documentary included. Not very long but interesting to hear the actor's speak.
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