Film Reviews

Blood Money: Four Western Classics Vol. 2 – Blu-ray Review

blood money
1: money obtained at the cost of another’s life
2: money paid (as by a killer or the killer’s clan) to the family of a person who has been killed
3: Arrow Video’s Blood Money: Four Western Classics Volume 2

As its full title suggests, Blood Money is Arrow Video‘s second volume of Westerns, which they’ve collected under the theme of “blood money”, the idea that a sum of money is fair compensation to a family for the death of one of their members. The four pictures included are from lesser-known directors than the previous set, which had films from Lucio Fulci and Antonio Margheriti, not that it means anything less in quality. Here you get Romolo Guerrieri’s $10,000 Blood Money (1967), Vengeance is Mine (1967), Giuliano Carnimeo’s Find a Place to Die (1968) and Cesare Canevari’s psychedelic Matalo! (1970).

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$10,000 Blood Money and Vengeance is Mine are linked, with both of the films having the same actors as antagonist and protagonist, in this case, Gianni Garko (credited as Gary Hudson) and Claudio Camaso. In $10,000 Blood Money, Garko plays the iconic spaghetti western character Django on the hunt for a vicious killer and a big payday. However, these things rarely work out as they should, and he soon finds himself on a mission of vengeance with only one bounty on his mind; Camaso’s head. Vengeance is Mine has Garko and Camaso as brothers, albeit ones not on the best of terms. Camaso found out Garko was illegitimate and subsequently murdered their father, framing Garko for the killing. Ten years later and Garko is out of prison and searching for a big case of gold and his brother. Vengeance is mine, indeed.

Find a Place to Die stars Jeffrey Hunter (the original Captain Pike in Star Trek) as the de facto leader of a ragtag bunch of outlaws. They’re alerted to a possible treasure trove when a woman asks Hunter to help out with her injured husband, who is stuck near a gold mine. They go along but are wary of the infamous Chiricahua Apache subchief Chato, who also knows about the gold, which means Hunter needs to be careful who might have sold him out to Chato, and who else might potentially betray him.

Finally, Matalo! (Kill Him!) is a weird psychedelic western with enigmatic Swedish actor Lou Castel as the lead character that speaks few words and uses a boomerang instead of a gun. He comes across a ghost town that outlaws use as a base, and they torture him to his limits. However, the bandits bite off more than they can chew when Ray comes back for vengeance with his trusty boomerangs.

Blood Money is a great set with four movies that range from very good to outstanding. The pair of $10,000 Blood Money and Vengeance is Mine are excellent, with Garko and Casamo making good foils for each other, and great scores by female composer Nora Orlandi. Find a Place to Die is a fun men-on-a-mission flick and Hunter is very good, but the best is Matalo!, which is a fantastic and haunting Western. It’s quite beautifully shot with a metal as fuck prog score, and it digs very much into the weird vibe that made Italian genre films so special in the ’70s.

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All four movies are 2K restorations from the 35mm original camera negative, and they look and sound fabulous, with Italian and English audio options. They all come with new audio commentaries and a ton of interviews, featurettes, and trailers, and it’s a great package.

Blood Money is an excellent set with a quartet of terrific movies and thoughtful extras to accompany them. It’s great to see some of these lesser-known pictures see the light of day in such quality, and here’s hoping for a third volume in the near future.

Blood Money: Four Western Classics Vol. 2 is out now on Blu-ray from Arrow Video.

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