Film Review: They Call Him Holy Ghost (1972)

Also known as: Uomo avvisato mezzo ammazzato… Parola di Spirito Santo (original Italian title), …Y le llamaban El Halcón (Spain), El halcón de Sierra Madre, Blazing Guns, Forewarned… Half-Killed… the Word of the Holy Ghost, His Name Was Holy Ghost
Release Date: March 30th, 1972 (Italy)
Directed by: Giuliano Carnimeo
Written by: Tito Capri, Federico De Urrutia
Music by: Bruno Nicolai
Cast: Gianni Garko, Pilar Velazquez

Astro C.C., Lea Film, 94 Minutes


They Call Him Holy Ghost is a film that sounded much cooler from its synopsis than what the final product actually was. IMDb describes the film as “Gianni Garko returns as the Holy Ghost, a supernatural gunfighter dressed in white and with a dove sitting on his shoulder.” Man, that sounds friggin’ badass.

Gianni Garko is a legendary spaghetti cowboy, a supernatural gunfighter sounds intriguing and a sidekick played by a white dove… well, why the hell not? Plus, one of the pictures I saw online had Garko’s Holy Ghost blasting off one of those giant machine guns that were synonymous with Django and other roles Franco Nero played.

Then the film started and the opening sequence was just purely f’n awesome! Evil men, people treated like garbage to the evil men’s amusement, then the just and righteous Holy Ghost shows up with his dove and a machine gun, drops some quirky dialogue and turns the bad guys into Swiss f’n cheese! Sadly, it all goes downhill from there, though.

For 94 minutes, the film is slower than it should be. I had hoped that this would be as energetic and nuts as the original 1966 Django but it was pretty talkie and actually quite goofy. Sure, it had some action but this picture evolved into more of a comedy as it progressed. In fact, the longer the film ran, the sillier it got to where the big finale was sort of like a spaghetti western reinterpreted by slapstick performers. This would have been a cool film to have seen in a realistic and gritty spaghetti style.

This movie was mostly enjoyable even if it went off the rails after it’s great opening. Gianni Garko is always fun to watch and he committed to this role very well but the schizophrenic tone pulled me out of the movie and turned potential into disappointment.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: Any spaghetti western starring Gianni Garko.

Retro Relapse: Top 50 Spaghetti Westerns of All-Time

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Originally written in 2015.

Spaghetti westerns are better than westerns, at least in my opinion. Sure, there are fantastic American-made westerns but as a whole, the Italian-Spanish (sometimes German) films are superior. There is more grit, more bad ass shit and a level of violence that adds realism and authenticity to a genre that has typically been family friendly in the U.S.

The greatest film of all-time is a spaghetti western. And many of the other greatest films ever also fall into this genre.

I have spent the last several months watching a lot of these films. I have always been familiar with the greats but I had to delve deeper into the more obscure reaches of the genre. A special shout out goes to the Spaghetti Western Database for the hours of research I was able to accomplish in mostly one place. Also, thanks to Amazon, Hulu and YouTube for providing several of these films. The rest were an adventure to track down.

This list is the result of my hundreds of hours of film watching.

1. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
2. Once Upon A Time In the West
3. The Great Silence
4. The Big Gundown
5. For A Few Dollars More
6. Django
7. A Fistful of Dollars
8. The Mercenary
9. Face to Face
10. Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!
11. A Bullet For the General
12. Compañeros
13. Duck, You Sucker! (A Fistful of Dynamite)
14. Day of Anger
15. Keoma
16. Sabata
17. Return of Ringo
18. Death Rides A Horse
19. Cemetery Without Crosses
20. My Name Is Nobody
21. The Grand Duel
22. A Genius, Two Partners and A Dupe
23. A Pistol for Ringo
24. If You Meet Sartana, Pray For Your Death
25. The Dirty Outlaws
26. Django, Prepare a Coffin (Viva Django)
27. Run Man Run
28. Tepepa
29. Navajo Joe
30. Four of the Apocalypse
31. Massacre Time
32. Shoot the Living, Pray for the Dead
33. Mannaja
34. Django Strikes Again
35. The Return of Sabata
36. A Few Dollars For Django
37. Light the Fuse… Sartana Is Coming
38. Machine Gun Killers
39. Beyond the Law
40. Ace High
41. The Bounty Killer (The Ugly Ones)
42. Trinity Is Still My Name
43. Hellbenders
44. Django the Bastard
45. God Forgives, I Don’t
46. Minnesota Clay
47. God’s Gun
48. They Call Me Trinity
49. Ringo and His Golden Pistol (Johnny Oro)
50. Arizona Colt

Film Review: Devil Fish (1984)

Also known as: Shark – Rosso nell’oceano (Italy), Monster Shark, Monster from the Red Ocean, Devouring Waves, Shark: Red in the Ocean
Release Date: September 7th, 1984
Directed by: Lamberto Bava
Written by: Gianfranco Clerici, Dardano Sacchetti, Herve Piccini, Vincenzo Mannino, Luigi Cozzi, Sergio Martino
Music by: Fabio Frizzi
Cast: Michael Sopkiw, Gianni Garko, William Berger

Filmes Cinematografica, Nuova Danis Cinematografica, Filmes International, National Cinematografica, Films Du Griffon, DLF Distribution, Lanciamento Film, 90 Minutes


This is an Italian ripoff of Jaws. Except in this film, we have a giant sharp-toothed fish that also has squid like tentacles. This was pretty unique for 1984 and the Syfy Channel, whose new spelling I will never get used to, pretty much stole the concept with all their weird hybrid creature features such as  SharktopusDinosharkCrocosaurusPiranhacondaSharktopus vs. Pteracuda and Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf. What in the holy hell is a “whalewolf”?

For a film boasting the talents that this one does, it should have been better. Director Lamberto Bava, the son of Mario Bava, went on to make the Demons film series and those were fantastic. But maybe like James Cameron, this is Bava’s version of Piranha II. It certainly feels similar to that film.

This movie also has the acting talents of spaghetti western regulars Gianni Garko, known mostly as Sartana, and William Berger. But then, Luigi Cozzi was also involved in the film and he was responsible for the horrendous Lou Ferrigno Hercules movie, as well as Starcrash, which is mostly watchable because the angelically majestic Caroline Munro is scantily clad the entire picture.

Devil Fish or Monster Shark or whatever of the half dozen other names it’s called is not a good movie. It is amusing in some parts but there just isn’t a lot to sink your teeth into (pun actually intended). It is full of a lot of sciencey mumbo jumbo that isn’t very engaging. Most of the times the creature actually does show up, it is pretty obscured or shot with such tight closeups that it is hard to get a grasp of what this monster looks like. Nothing about the creature makes much sense. Even the poster doesn’t make sense, as it shows the fish coming out of the water to swallow its victim but the victim’s arms are in front of and under the fish’s jaw. That is not the attack of a skilled predator.

As is customary with the films I review that have ended up riffed by Mystery Science Theater 3000, I should mention that you can watch this in an episode of that show. You’ll find it near the end of season nine.

Rating: 3/10