Also known as: I quattro dell’apocalisse (Italy)
Release Date: August 12th, 1975 (Italy)
Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Written by: Ennio de Concini
Based on: The Luck of Roaring Camp and The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Brett Harte
Music by: Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi, Vince Tempera
Cast: Fabio Testi, Lynne Frederick, Michael J. Pollard, Harry Baird, Adolfo Lastretti, Tomas Milian
Coralta Cinematografica, Cineriz, Blue Underground, 104 Minutes
Lucio Fulci is most known for horror but he did do a few spaghetti westerns as well. Four of the Apocalypse may be the most brutal western of his that I have seen. It actually could be the most brutal western I’ve ever seen from any director.
The most notable star is Tomas Milian, who plays the sick and twisted Chaco. The “four” from the film’s title are played by Fabio Testi, Lynne Frederick, Michael J. Pollard and Harry Baird. Donal O’Brien also shows up as a sheriff.
The plot follows four strangers: a gambler, a pregnant prostitute, a drunk and a crazy person. The town they are in comes under attack during a raid of the local casino. The next morning the sheriff gets the four strangers out of town on a wagon. The four encounter some religious types on the road and eventually run into a Mexican named Chaco. Chaco tortures a lawman to the disgust of the group, he then gets them high on peyote, ties them up in their sleep and rapes the pregnant prostitute. He does more dastardly things and makes an enemy out of the “four”.
The film is very dark and pretty uncomfortable and plays more like a horror movie than a western at times. Fulci employs the best of both genre worlds and makes it work. There is nothing remotely likable or redeemable about Chaco and you want to see the hero hurt him bad, not just kill him.
This isn’t a typical Italian western and you had best prepare for a good amount of gore and violence. Think 70s Italian horror with a western twist and that is the best way to go into this picture.
Visually and tonally, the film is consistent with Fulci’s style and has the same sort of spirit you would expect if you’ve seen any of his other work.
Milian, who is typically a really likable guy, has never been more evil.