With both the One Woman for Seven Bastards and Sewer Rats titles proving apposite, this is one nasty little film from first - a sequence including a POV shot from the perspective of a man being buried alive - to last.
Based on a story by star Richard Harrison, it plays a bit like a contemporary riff on Greed, crossed with A Fistful of Dollars - the film which Harrison turned down, to the eternal detriment of his career, which I suspect The Sewer Rats can't exactly have done much for either - and elements of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Cut Throats Nine, Django Kill and McCabe and Mrs Miller.
Indeed, were it not for the fact that Harrison's mysterious crutch-using stranger arrives in the no-horse town after his car breaks down on the road or that there's J&B whisky in the bar, the film could easily be taken for a western filmed on some extremely run-down Spanish or Italian set.
Even the J&B bottle looks beaten up
Pleasantville it is not, with the nameless place perhaps resembling nothing so much as Hammett's Poisonville instead in the effect it has on all the existing inhabitants, each of whom has their own story and secrets, and the newcomer whose arrival threatens the already precarious dynamics between them.
Antonio Casale plays Carl, the jealous husband who owns the tavern and forms the only point of contact with the outside world, making regular 300km trips in his pick-up to stock up on J&B, beer and other necessities. He's also, in possible reference to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, in possession of a stolen strongbox.
Casale, disreputable looking as ever
Gordon Mitchell plays Gordon, an ex-military man wanted for desertion or other offences, whilst Luciano Rossi plays a harmonica playing mute with a penchant for spying on Carl's wife, Rita.
Rita in defiant mood
She, meanwhile, is incarnated by the beautiful Dagmar Lassander in full-on tramp mode, taking great pleasure in turning on the men, in both senses of that term, whilst fully enjoying her effects upon them and pursuing her own agenda.
The film is replete with the kind of scenarios that implicate the viewer in whatever dubious pleasure he takes from them
Even without the scuzziness of the Danish-subtitled VHS sourced presentation under review, this is the kind of film that leaves you wanting to take a shower afterwards. As such, Roberto Bianchi Montero, the director of The Slasher is a Sex Maniac, is perfect for it. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the music, which adds neither atmosphere nor tension.