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Don't Torture Donald Duck
Lucio Fulci is now a name that is firmly associated with a series of highly stylised and graphically violent horror films which he made between 1979 and 1983. This cycle of films, in a long and generically diverse career, eschewed a plausible attitude to plot construction and were riddled with the numerous continuity errors that came with a more surreal outlook to editing. In a peculiar twist of fortune this fragmented approach to screen time and space created an hallucinatory atmosphere which was highly appropriate to the Lovecraftian imagery on display. Whilst much discussion has centred on questions of authorship throughout Fulci’s oeuvre, it is perhaps more illuminating to approach his work from the position of genre. Fulci was one of many filmmakers operating in Italy that reacted to popular cycles, and he was particularly adept at shifting into different terrain. It was almost inevitable that Fulci would turn his hand to the gialli and his first attempt was the obscure curiosity Perversion Story (1969, aka One on Top of the Other). He followed this with A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971), Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972) and The Psychic (1977). Don’t Torture a Duckling is easily the most accomplished of these and emerges as not only an excellent example of the form, but also as a strong contender for Fulci’s finest film.