Seeing that Django Unchained is set to be released reasonably soon, I figured I’d compile a list to go with it. I present to you ‘Django Listed’. In this list I will name my favourite Django films that call themselves sequels but in actuality aren’t.
From the mid 60′s to the early 70′s hundreds of spaghetti westerns were cashing in on the character of Django, originally from ‘Django (1966)’. Only a small percentage of them manage to be watchable in regards to the franchise and only a select few that aren’t related at all yet borrow the name in their titles stand-out as original.
(Some people may not be aware of this, but the original Django is in fact a remake of an Akira Kurasawa film titled ‘Yojimbo’, the same goes for Sergio Leone’s ultra famous ‘A Fistful of Dollars’. Many films are in fact remakes/spin-offs/knock-offs of Yojimbo. Look into it.)
One of the stranger Django knock-offs, being that it doesn’t exactly steal anything from the franchise, it just sounds very similar. I had to resort to using the internet in order to watch this film, but it was well worth the guilt.
Cjamango (we may as well call him ‘Django’) wins it big by playing a poker game only to be attacked by the local gangs of ‘El Tigre’ and ‘Don Pablo’. Recovering from his injuries, DJANGO becomes attached to a Mexican boy and girl. Meanwhile, El Tigre and Don Pablo are at odds about the gold, so DJANGO decides to Yojimbo the situation.
I’m very thankful to the website that made it possible for me to view this film. It was great fun. I just wish they’d have went the extra step to call the character Django (like director Mulargia’s later knock-offs), since it’s the same basic plotline.
The only way I’ve managed to see this film is on VHS, which had a lot of fuzzy lines and such, it was still enjoyable though (although if anyone reading this has a better copy or knows how to get one please contact me via my WordPress account). The DVD available on Amazon isn’t much better I’m told.
The story is set in a small desert town called ‘Black City’ that’s become overrun by a gang of nasty criminals lead by the ruthless Bud Willer. Sherrif Jack Ronson shows up to establish law and order with Django by his side.
Instead of using just the ‘Django’ name to sell this film, the makers decided to cash in on the ‘Sartana’ franchise as well. Now, to my recollection I can’t say that I have seen a single Sartana film (and don’t really plan to), so I can’t really comment on how the character was portrayed, but Django was played brilliantly and this film was delightful, even though it was fullscreen and on an awefully moldy VHS tape.
Directed by horror master Lucio Fulci and starring Django himself (Franco Nero), this film manages to still be a knock-off, being a Django by title only. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see this as I’m a huge fan of Fulci’s work.
Set in New Mexico around a character called Tom Corbett, who is a prospector called back to his hometown in Texas by an old family friend. When he arrives in town he sees that it’s been taken over by a father and son ganster duo. Tom then persuades his alcaholic brother Jeff to help him take them down, so the town can live in peace again.
Being this is a Fulci film and I had only seen his horror films previously, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I got was a dark western with a dash of horror. Fulci never fails to impress me.
The first time I saw this was when I purchased the DVD from Amazon and it left me feeling like I’d been ripped off, considering the film was cut and an extremely terrible transfer, as if it was from a 3rd generation VHS tape or something. Later on I managed to track down and watch the complete uncut version in pristine quality and had an absolute ball with it.
It begins with Django’s wife being raped then killed, prompting him to plot his revenge for all of them (of course). Along his journey to track down the killers he rescues a horse thief from certain death. Said horse thief knows the men he is after and they team up to exact his revenge.
I’m so glad I discovered that there was a better copy of this film than the official English DVD release. It seems this film wasn’t too well recieved and still isn’t today. I think it deserves it’s spot here as number two, no question about it.
DJANGO KILL… IF YOU LIVE, SHOOT!
Director: Giulio Questi | Year: 1967 | Country: Italy | Buy: DVD (Uncut)
Of all the films to use ‘Django’ in the title to gain more viewers, this is definitely the best and probably the most unrelated spin-off. Italian film-maker Giulio Questi made this as his directorial debut and could have gained cult notoriety as a spaghetti western genius if he stuck with the genre, unfortunately this is all he contributed (although I read somewhere before that he directed a second spin-off to the original).
IMDB seemed to sum it up pretty well: “Mexican outlaw Django is part of a band of thieves that steal a cargo of gold from a stagecoach. However, the Americans in the band betray him, and shoot all the Mexicans. Django is not completely dead though, and crawls his way out of his shallow grave, continuing his pursuit of the gold, and exacting a bloody vengeance.”
This movie has everything a spaghetti western needs to stand out, including but not limited to hangings, scalpings, horse mutilation, a golden bullet retrieval autopsy and a teenage boy that gets gang raped by gay cowboys. I obviously don’t have cravings to see such things, but they’re certainly there for us to view, providing you purchase the Blue Underground DVD of the film. Earlier versions don’t contain most of the scenes I just mentioned because they were deemed too violent for previous home video releases.
Instead of watching ‘Django Returns (1987)’ (the only official sequel in the franchise) as a follow up to the original, I watch this and I recommend that you do to. It’s far superior.