Four of the Apocalypse – Review

Four of the Apocalypse

with Fabio Testi, Lynne Frederick, Michael J. Pollard
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Written by Ennio De Concini, Bret Harte
(Anchor Bay Entertainment)
by John Bikowski

Though it sounds like a war movie, this film is surprisingly a Lucio Fulci Spaghetti Western (?!). Fulci is best known for horror films like The Beyond and The Gates of Hell; films full of maggot-infested corpses and puked-up intestinal tracts. Having always been a fan of his zombie epics, and ignoring the fact that I don’t like Westerns, I was anxious to see this baby. I can honestly say that I enjoyed it… partly because of my curiosity for what the hell Fulci would do next, but mostly because the story and characters held my interest.

Anchor Bay was dedicated enough to secure this film in its entirety. This DVD release features the 104-minute widescreen presentation that includes scenes of violence not available since the film was first shot in the mid-’70s. The only drawback is that these scenes were never dubbed into English, so they had to retain the Italian dialogue but with English subtitles (as in Deep Red). Also included is a feature called Fulci of the Apocalypse that features interviews with the stars Fabio Testi and psycho Tomas Milan. Throw in a trailer, talent bios, and language options and you have yourself a keeper.

The basic storyline is about four down-on-their-luck people who meet in jail. Stubby is a professional gambler and all-around studly dude. Clem is the town drunk who forgets his name. Bunny is the town whore who is pregnant. And Buck is a feeble-minded madman who communicates with the dead. This golf foursome from hell is turned loose on society after bandits massacre the town. You gotta love Fulci’s denial of physics and his predilection for extra gore… People are just not supposed to explode towards the front when they are shot. Anyhow, our motley crew starts to grow on each other as they battle the desert for survival in an effort to reach a far-off city. Unfortunately, they run into Chaco, a mean S.O.B. who’s way too quick with a gun and doesn’t shy away from cutting open and torturing his victims. Chaco rapes and abuses our friends and leaves them for dead. The remainder of the film is a revenge tale sprinkled with lethal childbirth, love, cannibalism, and many odd moments. Alternating between corny and touching, this film somehow works. Topping it off is a sweet ’70s folk-like soundtrack that actually uses the characters names in the lyrics. Funny stuff.