The Etruscan Kills Again (1972)

OCTOBER 23, 2008


Ordinarily I like to have zombies in my zombie movies, but I am glad that The Etruscan Kills Again (if the Blues Traveler song “The Mountains Win Again” was a hit, I’d totally record a parody, btw) was inexplicably included in the Silent Movie Theatre’s zombie movie fest (which yours truly is a co-host of! I hope some of you have been coming!). See, I had never heard of the movie, and even though I kept hoping zombies would show up, I was continually delighted by the nonsense displayed on the screen.

At one point I thought maybe the reels were out of order or something, because few movies have ever leapt so violently from one scene to another. Characters will suddenly teleport into a different location even though they appear to be having the same conversation, undetermined lengths of time pass by in between scenes, things happen for no real reason... it’s like a classier version of Pieces.

It’s also a movie that has a protagonist who looks like Michael Bay with a moustache, so I was on board right from the start. But he turns out to be a guy, like Jim Carrey in Number 23, who simply forgets he was in an institution for attempted murder. That’s awesome. He’s also an archaeologist, and he’s prone to holding long rods in a particular manner that had the audience rolling (except for one dude who apparently forgot that it’s OK to laugh when you go to an old Italian horror movie with ludicrous plot development – I got “ssh”ed for laughing when a guy on a bike drove through the shot for no reason and said “Hi!” to our hero, never to be seen again).

One thing about this movie that may make it interminable if you were watching it alone is that almost nothing happens in it after the first 20 min. There’s a pair of great, gory murders, but then the only other deaths are offscreen, until the ending. And it’s a long movie (around 1:45), which means there’s a lot of talk and people puttering about. With a crowd laughing at things and such, it doesn’t bother me as much, but I am guessing had this been a Monday morning Netflix thing, I’d be giving it a different review entirely.

Sadly, the DVD is out of print. Though I'm not really surprised, it seems to be relatively obscure (I couldn't find a trailer to embed, and the Wikipedia page, under the alternate title of The Dead Are Alive, seems to have been written by a babel fish) and director Armando Crispino has seemingly retired. Still, if you happen to come across it, and are in the mood for a really goofy giallo, it’s definitely worth a watch.

What say you?


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