The Good the Bad and the Ugly

10 Essential Spaghetti Westerns

In case the title didn’t give it away, Giulio Questi’s 1967 spaghetti western Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! is one of the most eccentric entries in the Italian subgenre that populated the cinematic landscape during the 1960s and ’70s. The surreal cult film — about a Mexican outlaw who rises from the grave to exact vengeance on a band of thieves that cheated him out of his loot — is now available on Blu-ray.

Multicultural productions, unforgettable scores, brutal gunplay, and cynical, vengeful antiheroes punctuated the Italo-westerns, creating a unique visual style with darker themes that made the Hollywood epics look like G-rated movies. The Italians drew inspiration from a culturally diverse palette of sources, including classical literature and Catholicism, resulting in unique operatic reimaginings — several of which we’ve highlighted below. Dig into a few essential spaghetti westerns that helped shape the subgenre — extra heavy on the red sauce. Leave your favorites in the comments below. … Read More

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Part Three Films That Performed Well Despite the Odds

This weekend, the third installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise — a supernatural sensation since Oren Peli’s original film debuted in 2009 — rocked the box office, taking in $54 million for its opening weekend. The film also holds rank as the highest grossing movie for any October opening in history. While Paranormal Activity’s victory can be largely attributed to its successful grassroots marketing campaign and Halloween slot (it replaced popular spooky long-runner Saw), it’s still quite the feat for a part three film. Most threequels fizzle out by the third go-round, leaving their characters to dully ride the coattails of previous successes — but clearly that isn’t always the case. And with news about Sherlock Holmes securing a writer for its third installment, perhaps the action-mystery movie can follow suit. After the break, we took a look at several trilogies that buck the trend of bad things coming in threes — some third features even managing to outdo the films that started their respective series. … Read More

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