A standout among all giallos, and one of Fulci’s greatest, is Don’t Torture a Duckling. The plot centers on a small village in Italy in which a recent string of child murders has local police and media attention. Florinda Bolkan (Lizard in a Woman’s Skin), Barbara Bouchet (Black Belly of the Tarantula), and Tomas Milian (Beatrice Cenci), all three of which are giallo regulars, star as characters with various perspectives on the events. The resulting story is a violent mystery with plenty of twists, red herrings, and scandal.
Lucio Fulci’s superb talent for storytelling comes through strong in this film. Fans of his movies will also notice the trend that begins with this film toward the more violent and gory effects that Fulci became known for. After its release, which was already thoroughly limited due to its controversial themes, it remained underground for years. Thankfully for us American fans of Italian giallo, Anchor Bay released Don’t Torture a Duckling to the United States in 1999. I note this fact because any fan of the film knows how much we’d be missing out on if the release was lost to censorship and controversy.
In summation, this is one of Lucio Fulci’s greatest films, and certainly his best giallo in my opinion. The final scene is one you won’t soon forget. Every fan of Italian horror who has not seen this film needs to make it a priority. And I most certainly consider it a must-own for cult collectors.