Judge Daryl Loomis sells quality corpses at a huge markup.
The worst is over, the best is just beginning.
In anticipation of Quentin Tarantino's upcoming Django Unchained, the cut rate Timeless Media Group has begun to release single-disc double features to cash in on the fact that, finally, everyday movie fans will have heard of the character. Luckily, both of the entries in Django! Double Feature: Django Kills Silently/Django's Cut Price Corpses are appearing on DVD for the first time and, luckily, both look pretty good. Not so luckily, they're both very poor entries in the Spaghetti Western cannon.
Facts of the Case
Django Kills Silently: Hired by a man called Sanders, Django (George Eastman, Keoma) comes to a small town to help protect him from El Santo (Mimmo Maggio, Fire over Rome), the most feared bandit in the area. When he arrives to find that Sanders has already been killed, he takes to the dusty trail to kill El Santo and, maybe more important, find the gold that the bandit stole from the dead man.
Django's Cut Price Corpses: Django (Jeff Cameron, Pray to God and Dig Your Grave) goes on the hunt for the gang that kidnapped his fiancee only to find that the bandits, in addition to the snatching, have robbed a bank and hid somewhere in a remote cave. Luckily, he finds help in an agent who has been hired by the bank to recover the money, and another bandit, Pickwick (John Desmont), who's looking for revenge for the group's theft of his special saddle. Together, they're in a good position to find the bandits, but it's unclear who will wind up with the money.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that the two films in this collection have anything to do with Sergio Corbucci's classic Django, which was one of the best Italian westerns ever produced. The character name was used for dozens of entries that vary in quality as much as they possibly could, with a few approaching the original and most ranging from bland to terrible. Sadly, both films verge toward the bottom end of that spectrum, though one is decidedly better than the other.
Django Kills Silently is the better of the two, though that's damning with faint praise. The plot is the most basic of Spaghetti Western stories, with the lone killer coming into town and manipulating rival groups into working with him and killing each other. It's not a bad way to go, but when you're working with the sad talent involved here, there aren't a lot of ways to make it work.
George Eastman, the giant of Italian exploitation (he stands 6'9" tall and walks liked a golem), does his best, I suppose, but that's not terribly impressive when it comes down to it. Director Massimo Pupillo (Bloody Pit of Horror, under the pseudonym Max Hunter) puts in a workmanlike effort, but to no avail as, while the movie isn't the worst I've seen in the genre, it's tough to remember what actually happened in it seconds after completion.
It's way better than Django's Cut Price Corpses, though. Despite the hilarious title and a pretty decent score by Vasili Kojucharov (SS Experiment Love Camp), there is nothing worthwhile in this film at all. Jeff Cameron is plainly awful as the title character, but his isn't even close to the worst of the performances. Director Luigi Batzella (Nude for Satan, another title favorite) does nothing here worth noting, and gives the film a terrible cheapness and some of the worst pacing one could possibly imagine. I'm not sure it's the worst Spaghetti Western I've ever seen, but it's pretty close and the less said about it, the better.
Timeless Media Group, a division of Shout! Factory, actually does a pretty good job with these dogs of films. Given the relatively unknown nature of the films and the seven dollar price tag, I was expecting some awful looking VHS ports, but no; both films look quite nice on disc. The anamorphic transfers are sharp and clean, with only a bit of dirt and damage to the prints. The colors on both are a little bit washed out, and Django's Cut Price Corpses has a definite flat look to it, but I've seen plenty of Italian western discs that look far worse. The sound is nothing to write home about, but isn't that bad, either. Both are Dolby mono tracks with minimal noise and clear dialog, for whatever its worth to understand what these actors are saying. Extras on both are limited to the original trailers and poster galleries, but it's better than nothing.
While Django Kills Silently has a bit of merit, both films in this set are for die hard Spaghetti Western fans only. If you're new to the Django brand and only want to see where Tarantino might have pulled his inspiration, watch Corbucci's original and leave these to the hardcores and the masochists.
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Scales of Justice, Django Kills Silently
Perp Profile, Django Kills Silently
Studio: Timeless Media
Distinguishing Marks, Django Kills Silently
• Poster Gallery
Scales of Justice, Django's Cut Price Corpses
Perp Profile, Django's Cut Price Corpses
Studio: Timeless Media
Distinguishing Marks, Django's Cut Price Corpses
• Poster Gallery
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