Monday, November 6, 2017


Contraband (The Smuggler) Directed by Lucio Fulci, Starring Fabio Testi (1980).

I've been meaning to check out this early Fulci crime flick. Had I known, it was this fucked up and on par with Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man as one of the best in the Italian crime sub genres, I would've watched it sooner! It definitely wins for thee greatest director cameo Fulci has done, I mean I'm sure you've seen that meme of him blasting a machine gun. Usually his Hitchcock style cameo is in the form of a newspaper boss or janitor.

I shoot at your memes, motherfucking millenials!

It kicks off into high gear with a boat chase. These dudes zigzag around each other in choppy waters, it kind of reminded me of when I worked at Alcatraz and there was a boat race. Something is off in the state of Fulci-Land, because none of his trademarks are evident here. The actors are all normal looking, there are hardly any ugos or extreme eyeball shots, plus I have yet to even see a maggot. So we're talking classiness all the way. Fabio Testi is almost handsome and compared to the usual actors we are accustomed to in a pastaland flick, it's downright refreshing. Testi forged his way through Giallos like (What Have They Done to Solange, man did I hate that one) and fun shit like The Big Racket and also a Fulci directed spaghetti west called Four of the Apocalypse (click the link here for my review).

I'm the Fulci Jon Hamm.

This is when Fulci wasn't trying to rip something off even though there are some shades of The Godfather present. The usual goofy dialogue actually seems out of place because of how interesting the storyline is. Usually in a Fulci film the incoherence works with the sleaziness and the ghastliness. This is Lucio's only stab at the Poliziotteschi or Italian Police flick and it's pretty solid.

During a disco dance, the song heard sounds a lot like "Turn It On" by Genesis. We also see Ajita Wilson, the transgendered actress that Skunkape mentioned before in his review of Hotel Paradise. Wilson is a pretty interesting actress, she tragically was killed in a car crash and died at 37. There's bits of info about her online but Blue-Underground should really put out a documentary on her, she starred in tons of Italian Eurotrash Women in Prison films. Her most famous one being Jess Franco's Sadomania aka Hellhole Women (1981), which I used to see at Borders books all the time.

Fuck your couch (in Rick James voice) !

Perlante (played by Saverio Marconi) is a total slime ball, he acts like he wandered off the set of a Joe D'Amato flick, just super abrasive and nasty, so far he's my favorite character. Marcell Bozzuffi, who I know as the creepy French ghost from Altman's Images plays a mob boss character named The Marsigliese but he didn't make much of an impression on me, which is weird.

Eeek, my eyes are watering from the stench of clam.

 The scene when they burn up the stable and real horses scream made me nervous. Fulci isn't one to commit animal violence even though for A Lizard in Women's Skin, he was hauled into court. Carlo Rambaldi had to prove that no animals were harmed by bringing in the special effects of fake dead dogs.  

Lucas' mustachioed partner gets mowed down with a machine gun by a cop played by Romano Puppo, the dude from Escape from the Bronx and about a thousand other Italian Action flicks. His death is so mellow dramatic as Luca  looks on with sorrow. I don't usually complain about dubbing but it's performed in the tradition of bad sounding anime, I'm just not into it.

I kind of wish Tomas Milian was in this as well, but I guess you can't have everything. Ettore Sanzo, who wrote the script also penned Late Night Trains and the Last House on the Beach. The director made Gates Of Hell (aka City of the Living Dead) the same year as this so, he must've just needed a break from brain drilling maggots and the island of Matool. Everyone in this film is so in your face Italian, you never get that impression from his other films, especially during this period where it's all Europeans in Louisiana and wherever Dunwich is supposed to take place. Big mustaches everywhere old country looking Italian men and Grandpa's little kid saying ciao.

mustache rides half price for today only.

The score is all funky bass and it's pretty awkward. Fabio Testi has a Sean Connery quality but is pretty stiff as an actor.

There's some gyno-shenanigans unlike any captured on film. Just watch it to see what I mean but basically girls smuggle things up their cooters. Now I've seen everything in a Fulci flick!
The female violence gets really intense in this one scene, it's really unpleasant and I could just imagine a misogynist like the director baitin' it to those moments. Towards the end is when they really bust out the squibs and blown out brains. The horse race brain extraction scene is bonkers!

AHHHH, Good that cavity was bugging me.

This, The New York Ripper and the Devil's Honey are the most sexually charged out of all the Fulci cannon. The action starts to get off the charts towards the end, so don't fall sleep or anything.
One of my favorite characters gets an impromptu tracheotomy! The gory shoot out at the end is super meaty and up there with this filmmakers nastiest scenes. The priest from Gates Of Hell shows up in a Bruce Campbell ala Darkman style cameo.

UCK, I hate it when they use too much marinara!

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