Blu-ray Review – Don’t Torture a Duckling – Arrow Video

Don’t Torture the Duckling

Director: Lucio Fulci 

Screenplay: Lucio Fulci, Roberto Gianviti, Gianfranco Clerici

Minutes: 102

Year: 1972

Score: 6.80

Release: Arrow Video

I am not sure I said this before but there was a long time during which Zombi was the only Fulci picture I had seen, but that is what happens when you have watched Star Wars about a hundred times, you miss a lot. But, I am very glad I waited for this new restoration of Don’t Torture a Duckling because it is tremendous.


From Lucio Fulci, the godfather of gore (The Psychic, The Beyond), comes one of the most powerful and unsettling giallo thrillers ever produced: his 1972 masterpiece Don’t Torture a Duckling.

When the sleepy rural village of Accendura is rocked by a series of murders of young boys, the superstitious locals are quick to apportion blame, with the suspects including the local “witch”, Maciara (Florinda Bolkan, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin). With the bodies piling up and the community gripped by panic and a thirst for bloody vengeance, two outsiders – city journalist Andrea (Tomas Milian, The Four of the Apocalypse) and spoilt rich girl Patrizia (Barbara Bouchet, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times) – team up to crack the case. But before the mystery is solved, more blood will have been spilled, and not all of it belonging to innocents…

Deemed shocking at the time for its brutal violence, depiction of the Catholic Church and themes of child murder and paedophilia, Don’t Torture a Duckling is widely regarded today as Fulci’s greatest film, rivalling the best of his close rival Dario Argento. Arrow Video is proud to present this uniquely chilling film in its UK high definition debut.

You can save a little time and just order the movie now, if you have read this far you are already interested and you will definitely not be disappointed. As I mention above I am grateful to have waited to watch this picture. It looks great. Which causes a little disconnect in one specific scene when the effect is obvious, but that doesn’t bother me at all.

There are some harsh themes with Fulci sticking it to the Catholic church and pedophilia and this could easily turn people off, but I hope not.  I am afraid that we have become so complacent with the tragedies which befalls children around the world, and this is a talk we need to have, but I don’t think that I am the right person for this. I think it is reprehensible to assault and murder anyone, age is irrelevant here.

But, this is a scary movie. While the murder of children is a cheap theme to connect the viewer to the movie it works, see Stephen King’s IT which has smashed some box office records and is constructed on the idea of making likable children but in harm’s way.

In my experience, Fulci, and other Italian or giallo filmmakers, have never shied away from using known tragedy to save a little time in the editing room. So when it comes to horror pictures it seems natural but it should not be a surprise when moms around the world stand up for decency even though their arguments are usually helpful to the films longevity.

I guess what I am saying is that you might take issue to some of the theme, but you really should get this film. It is very good and well worth your time. A large part amount of thanks need to be given to Arrow Video.  They keep putting out great content packaged with tons of features and very fine production values. This is a must buy for giallo fans, or horror fans, and a probably should by for fans of little-known films.

Special Features

  • 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
  • Hell is Already in Us, 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

Director: 9 – Cinematography: 8 –  Edit: 4 – Parity: 3 – Main performance: 7 – Else performance: 4 – Score: 6 – Sound: 7 – Story: 8 – Script: 6 – Effects: 9 – Design: 6 – Costumes: 6 – Keeps interest: 9 – Lasting: 10


***Programing note, whenever possible I will be linking to Diabolik DVD and the film companies direct link because as much as I love a-z I think that we need to spread the wealth whenever possible. I placed an order this morning to Diabolik DVD and the prices were about 18 cents higher than a-z. You pay for shipping, but these are people who love getting movies out to people.

They are not paying me to say this, I just want you to help them. If they want to pay me I will gladly accept their money and will re-invest it directly in to their company. ***