Don’t Torture a Duckling – Review (Arrow Video Blu-ray)
Lucio Fulci has a varied career of cinematic weirdness, which ranges from gory zombie flicks, psycho slashers and quirky Giallos. This time around my review is going to about a quirky Giallo named Don’t Torture a Duckling. If you’re wondering what this little Duckling is about, it’s a convoluted, red herring filled murder mystery where it will leave you rightfully confused all the way to the end.
Lucio Fulci has decided that he was going to write and direct a murder mystery that was going to be filled with so much random shit, it almost comes across as comical. We have a mysterious woman who practices black magic, who may or may not be using the magic to kill the local boys. We have the weird loony who doesn’t like the local boys. We have the gorgeous Barbara Bouchet, who fancies the local boys a bit too much, as in entering possible jailtime territory. All of it is mixed together and thrown at the wall, hoping that it sticks.
Does the messy story work? Surprisingly enough, it does. There is a lot that is not needed, which makes the story harder to follow, but in the end, once the killer is revealed, it all works in the end. The lunacy that is thrown into the flick, like the witch, is placed there to convey the town’s craziness and out of touch morals. It also allows for Fulci to shoot a very graphic scene that is somewhat hard to watch.
Short answer Don’t Torture a Duckling is classic Fulci all the way. It’s a twisty, loopy story that packs in an abundance of quirky characters, but keeps the viewers in the dark as to who is behind the madness. It’s a fun ride.
This is a Fulci flick, so there is some graphic violence on display here. We have children being murdered, a woman being savagely beaten and also a death that is hilarious looking, but explicit as well.
Barbara Bouchet provides all the nudity in this flick, and it’s glorious. She is a drop-dead gorgeous.
The hilarious, cheesy death scene. I won’t spoil it.
Barbara Bouchet. Beyond interesting actually.
Was I this horny as a twelve-year-old boy?
Arrow Video has done a splendid job on the video transfer for the movie. It’s so clear and pristine in places. The booklet in the package provides a lot of information on the transfer, so much information, in fact, it seems like Arrow Video is coming across as apologising for any issues, but I see no problems with this one.
Audio is also near perfect, with both a lossless Italian and English track. No complaints from this easy to impress reviewer.
Special Features are filled with plenty of interviews. We get an enjoyable older audio interview with Fulci. I liked the essay about Fulci’s problems of being labelled as a misogynistic director. She provides plenty of pointers that show you that he wasn’t misogynistic at all. I also admire the lovely cardboard sleeve supplied with the package. I know, small things impress me.
Don’t Torture a Duckling might be utterly confusing and convoluted at times, but Fulci has a certain quirkiness and raw grittiness in his films, that makes you always end up liking it and this film is no different. Arrow Video racks up another top Blu-ray in their ever-growing library of amazing releases.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
The Blood of Innocents, a new video discussion with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film
very (Wo)man Their Own Hell, a new video essay by critic Kat Ellinger
Interviews with co-writer/director Lucio Fulci, actor Florinda Bolkan, cinematographer Sergio D’Offizi, assistant editor Bruno Micheli and assistant makeup artist Maurizio Trani
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Timothy Pittides
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet with new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and Howard Hughes