If I have any followers out there reading my work at all, this will be nothing new for you. Lucio Fulci has been one of my all-time favorite filmmakers for over a decade. Ever since I first discovered his work with the criminally under-appreciated 1979 flick Zombie. I have reviewed multiple films by Fulci over the last year and a half for the Syndicate. Since it’s been a while, I thought it is a good time to dust off one of his last remaining films I haven’t covered.
Don’t Torture A Duckling (1972)
Set in the small Italian village of Accendura, we find the townsfolk completely gripped with fear. There have been a rash of grisly murders. All of these murder victims have something in common, they were all children. With a serial killer on the loose, a newspaper reporter named Martelli (Tomas Milan, The Four of the Apocalypse) comes to town to investigate. The townspeople rife with backwoods superstition are all leery of this outsider. As several possible suspects arise can Martelli and the police find the killer before it’s too late?
Don’t Torture A Duckling is one of Fulci’s earlier gialli efforts. It’s been well over 5 years since I last viewed this film and I remember feeling very blasé about this effort. But with this new viewing, it definitely reminded me that sometimes first impressions aren’t always as bad as we remember. In the case with Duckling, I was completely proven wrong. It was so much better than I remembered. There’s suspense, sexual intrigue and red herrings galore. All the key ingredients for a staple giallo. As with all these films there are multiple suspects. I counted that there were legitimately four likely suspects throughout, because of circumstance and motive alone.
Setting the tone of the film is one of my favorite Italian film composers, Riz Ortolani. House on the Edge of the Park, The Warning and the cannibal opus Cannibal Holocaust are just a few of the gems he’s composed over the years. His score grabbed me during the murder scenes with almost hypnotic ease. But as always, it’s the signature Fulci-style brand of gore that will set this film apart from the others in the Italian sub-genre. Because when most gialli are strictly mystery’s, Duckling feels more like a horror film masquerading as a giallo.
I am really glad that I re-visited this film. This is one of the few times that I am glad to have been proven wrong. This past February, I published my own personal list of the Top 10 Fulci films. Duckling was not on there. But after the credits began to roll, I immediately winced. Because this film easily cracks my top 10 list now.
Thanks for reading as always and remember….