Tomas Milian: Spaghetti Western Outlaw | Offscreen
In March 2017, Cuban-born actor Tomas Milian passed away age 84. He had more than one hundred films to his name but became famous thanks to the Italian genre films of the 1960s and 1970s. Tomas Milian's breakthrough came when he started to play the villain in the so-called Zapata westerns that took place against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution (“The Big Gundown”, “Run, Man, Run”, “Tepepa” and “Compañeros”). With exorbitant performances, he also brightened many poliziottescho, the hard-edged police and crime films from directors such as Umberto Lenzi (“Milano Odia AKA Almost Human” ).
In this homage, we chose two less obvious, rarely-seen spaghetti westerns from when the genre was peaking and searched for new variations on the same theme.
We start with Sergio Corbucci's La Banda J&S – Cronaca Criminale del Far-West in which the director injects a good dose of comedy into the spaghetti western. The result is an uneven but intriguing movie that announces the melancholic Twilight westerns from the second half of the decade.
The macabre, brutal, and unusual I Quattro Dell'Apocalisse, from Italian horror and sleaze maestro Lucio Fulci (“The Beyond”) is a good example. Milian inimitably gives stature to one of the most sadistic villains the genre has ever known.
Utah, 1873. Four strangers – a gambler, a pregnant prostitute, a drunkard, and a crazy person who sees dead people, have to band together while roaming the Wild West. On their path, they meet Chaco (Tomas Milian), a psychotic bandit who turns their journey into a sadistic nightmare.