[31 Days Of Horror] Mini Reviews: The Most Dangerous Game (1932) and Don’t Torture A Duckling (1972)

Mini Review Day 1: The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

The Most Dangerous Game is a film I have been meaning to watch for quite some time and 31 Days Of Horror seemed to be the perfect time. I am glad I picked this for my opening film, as I absolutely adored it. This is a film that has inspired many people through the years and it is not hard to see why, the concept of hunting man for sport in intriguing. It is very well investigated here and it almost feels ahead of its time with its ideas. I have not read the source material that this is based on, so my feelings are based solely on the film.

The story at hand is about Zaroff (Leslie Banks), a hunter who has his own island and he arranges for ships to get wrecked so he can hunt those who show up. That is until he traps Rainsford (Joel McCrea) a well-known hunter himself, whose skills match those of Zaroff. It is a dangerous game, as Zaroff has others trapped including Eve (Fay Wray) and Martin (Robert Armstrong). Will they participate in Zaroff’s madness and ultimately who will come out on top?

This is a rather intense film, which really caught me by surprised. I was fully engaged in this story, thanks to some solid writing and great performances from all the actors. Banks was rather disturbing as Zaroff, a man clearly gone mad but who just cannot accept that. The film was made around the same time as King Kong from RKO; it shares the same sets, which you wouldn’t even guess, and some of the same cast members.

They sure don’t make films like this anymore, it looked fantastic and I was impressed with what they managed to do back in the day. It is nicely paced with a fantastic finale, which had me on the edge of my seat. It is certainly worth seeking out, what a great film.

Rating:

Mini Review Day 2: Don’t Torture A Duckling (1972)

Recently I have been rather interested in giallo films, I guess my fascination really took hold once I watched Argento’s The Bird With The Crystal Plumage for last years 31 Days Of Horror. I had been a fan before that film, but it pushed me over the edge to really seek out more. I had Don’t Torture A Duckling ready to watch last year but illness prevented this. I figured for this years list it needed to be one of the first, and I am glad I finally did check this one out; it is a rather different kind of giallo.

The film takes place in Southern Italy, in a small town where young boys are showing up murdered. We don’t know why, but we are given clues a long the way as well as many red herrings. The story progresses to where a reporter and a young woman decided to try and investigate the murders, as things aren’t quite adding up. The town has no issues blaming people, but who is really committing such an awful crime and why?

Unlike other films of this type, Don’t Torture A Duckling didn’t exactly have a main character that we are with along the way. There isn’t anyone we can follow and get behind, at least not until the very end. There is no main character unless you count the town as being it. It does take some time to get used to, but once I did, I actually kind of liked the way it was handled. The murders are not shown graphically, but there is that Fulci gore in parts of the film that do make certain scenes quite disturbing. I was also rather disturbed by the character of Patrizia (Barbara Bouchet), whose promiscuity really had no boundaries.

The film is for the most part well-paced, great to look at with wonderful cinematography, and solid performances. This is a unique type of giallo, and a very intriguing one. The religious element was a rather interesting element and it is not hard to see why this was black listed by the Catholic Church.

Rating:

You can view my entire list of 31 Days Of Horror 2012 HERE

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