Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 9th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, August 10th, 1966
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writer: Fernando Di Leo
Cast: Franco Nero, George Hilton, Linda Sini, Giuseppe Addobbati, Nino Castelnuovo, Tom Felleghy, Franco Morici, Rina Franchetti, Tchang Yu, Aysanoa Runachagua
Approximate running time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 & Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Eagle Pictures
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (Italy)
Retail Price: $16.95
Synopsis: After being away for many years a prospector named Tom Corbett returns home after receiving a cryptic note from an old friend. Corbett soon discovers after returning home that this once peaceful town has been overrun by a man named Scott and his henchmen. The Scott’s have taken away the Corbett’s farm and now Tom’s brother Jess has been reduced to a drunk. When Tom and Jeff Corbett start to stir things up they end up in a fight for their lives against Scott and his hired assassins.
Franco Nero had a handful of Spaghetti Westerns before his performance in Django made him one of the most in demand actors within the Spaghetti Western genre. In 1966 he was star in three of Spaghetti Westerns Texas, addio, Massacre Time and Django. The story for Massacre Time bears many similarities to Texas, addio. Both films start off with a death of two brothers’ fathers and they both end with a similar twist where one of the brothers discovers the man they are seeking revenge against is actually their farther. Here is where the similarities end with the violence more prominent and sadistic in Massacre Time. One of the film’s most memorable moments is beating Franco’s Nero’s character Tom Corbett suffers at the hands of his nemeses’ Mr. Scott’s son ‘junior’. Nino Castelnuovo is gleefully demented in the role of Jason ‘junior’ Scott.
Massacre Time was the first of three Spaghetti westerns directed by Lucio Fulci. The other two being Four of the Apocalypse and Silver Saddle. A fourth Spaghetti Western A Bullet for Sandoval and his exact role is this production has never been fully confirmed. Before directing Massacre Time Lucio Fulci had primarily directed comedies and there is some of this present in Massacre Time especially in the character of Jeff Corbett, who is deliriously played by George Hilton. When we are first introduced to the character of Jeff Corbett he is an alcoholic with no ambitions beyond securing his next drink. One interesting attribute of the Jeff Corbett character is his uncanny ability to shoot a gun while inebriated. Visually Lucio Fulci creates menacing tale filled with tension which leads up to a bloody finale that will stratify even the most hardcore Spaghetti Western fan.
In the lead role of Tom Corbett is Franco Nero, who’s performance while solid is not as memorable as his work in other Spaghetti westerns like Django, The Mercenary and Companeros. Nero as usual has a strong psychical presence that really shines during action sequences. The most enjoyable part of Massacre Time the pairing up of Franco Nero with George Hilton whose comic relief perfectly balances Franco’s stern exterior. Coriolano Gori’s score for Massacre Time features the style often employed in most Spaghetti Westerns from this era. This is not to say that the score is not without its own merits it just lacks the timelessness present in many of Ennio Morricone’s scores. Overall Massacre Time is fast paced tale about revenge that fully exploits all the elements that one would expect in a quality Spaghetti Western.
Massacre Time is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Transfer wise Eagle pictures release is a marked improvement upon the previous DVD release of this film from DWV. The image looks clean, detailed and colors look nicely saturated with only a few instances where they are just a tad off. Outside of a few frames with print damage the transfer as a whole is in great shape and this is the best that I have ever seen Massacre Time look.
Three audio mixes have been included with this release Dolby Digital 5.1 Italian, Dolby Digital Mono Italian and Dolby Digital Stereo English. There is some background hiss that is noticeable on the English audio mix while the two Italian mixes sound robust and are in great shape. Removable Italian subtitles have been included with this release.
Extras for this release include the films Italian trailer, English opening titles, an image gallery with posters, lobby cards, stills, LP & VHS covers, Biographies of cast & crew (text in Italian) and a eighteen minute interview with George Hilton (in Italian). Eagle Pictures gives Lucio Fulci’s Massacre Time a solid DVD release at a more than affordable price.