Sergio Corbucci’s Django (1966) co-founded the spaghetti western genre along with Leone’s Dollar Trilogy. Then came numerous unofficial Django sequels, rip-offs, and even if none of them could match the original, many of them were entertaining. Sure, they took advantage of the success of the first one, and many were just tampered with in post-production in order to resemble the original movie as much as possible, but hey, there were some really good ones, and below are Rare Cult Cinema’s Top 10 favorite Django sequels.
1. Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!
This is one of many films that used DJANGO in the title without really having anything to do with the original. Django isn’t even in the film despite the title. But it sure is a great title, so it makes the list, no problem. Tomas Milian plays a badass Mexican (who never wears a hat, only headbands) called The Stranger who steals a cargo of gold from a stagecoach with his gang of outlaws. But one of the bandits betrays the group and kills everybody. But Stranger survives and crawls his way out of his grave in true zombie style. Time for revenge! Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! is a different kind of western. There are no clichés and the tone of the film is kind of dreamlike. It gets particularly psychedelic when The Stranger arrives in a mysterious city known by the local indian tribes as The Unhappy Place. I won’t reveal too much of what happens there, because I think it’s a movie you should just watch without knowing too much about it. Just let it roll over you like a warm breeze. The film is original, despite the title, and it’s one of the most violent westerns ever made. Some scenes are so brutal that the movie sometimes resembles a gory video nasty.
Director: Giulio Questi
Starring: Tomas Milian
2. A Noose For Django (aka. No Room To Die/Hanging For Django)
Guess what? Django isn’t in this movie either. The hero’s name is Johnny, and the bad guy is a slave trader. Johnny, of course, can’t stand slave traders, so he decides to whack him. Which leads to a The Good, The Bad & The Ugly-like climax. A Noose For Django is a well-made film with lots of action. It’s perhaps director Sergio Garrone’s best film (he is mostly known for twisted nazisploitation movies), certainly the best I’ve seen so far. Anthony Steffen is one of my favorite actors in the spaghetti western genre and he is a good Django (or Johnny…) here. But it’s William Berger who steals the show. He plays Sartana. Two iconic characters in one film, how cool is that?!! Berger does his best role since he starred as ‘Banjo’ in Sabata. He dresses like a preacher and carries a gun with seven barrels. The movie also has a chubby Bud Spencer-wannabe. Good stuff.
Release year: 1969
Director: Sergio Garrone
Starring: Anthony Steffen, William Berger
3. 10,000 Dollars Blood Money
This is a rare rip-off directed by the guy who made Johnny Yuma (1966), and Gianni ‘Sartana’ Garko stars as Django. He is a bounty hunter this time, and he’s searching for a sweaty Mexican “Gian Maria Volente lookalike” called Manuel, who has kidnapped a girl with Stockholm syndrome. When Django finally finds Manuel, he decides to join his gang for a robbery! Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. Then comes the day when Manuel kills his girlfriend. And you know what that means… r e v e n g e! 10,000 Dollars Blood Money is one of the first unofficial Django-sequels, and Gianni Garko is so new to the game here that he goes by the name Gary Hudson. But he doesn’t seem like a green newcomer at all. It’s as if he was born to play tough guy roles in spaghetti westerns like this. Excellent film, quick zooms and a nice score with Ennio Morricone influence.
Release year: 1966
Director: Romolo Guerriri
Starring: Gianni Garko
4. Viva Django (aka. Django Sees Red)
The man with the black hat & machine gun is back in action. This time Django is played by Terence Hill of the Trinity films. It’s probably the one of the many unofficial Django sequels that resemble the original the most. Hill even looks like Franco Nero – the original Django. Hill made many comedies with his buddy Bud Spencer, but he isn’t a comic character here at all. This is not a comedy. This is Terence Hill at his most serious. Viva Django begins with our hero working as an executioner (he hangs people!) in a small town. Then one day his wife is murdered by his friend: a rotten politician called Lucas. Django then loads his guns and rides off to take bloody revenge. If you like pasta and Terence Hill (of course you do), this film should definitely be on the top of your shopping list. George Eastman is great as the villain, and the intro song is quite catchy.
Release year: 1968
Director: Ferdinando Baldi
Starring: Terence Hill, George Eastman
5. A Man Called Django
Django is back (!) and this time he’s really pissed off. He’s on the trail of the scumbags who raped and killed his wife. Revenge is sworn and he teams up with a horse thief who knows the killers. Their relationship is reminiscent of Blondie and Tuco from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and together they set off to capture the killers. In other words, Django does what he does best – shoots the living crap out of everyone in his trail. He likes to shoot people. He is the hero of the film afterall. Anthony Steffen is very good in the role of Django and I really enjoyed this film. A Man Called Django is low-budget, but well-made and it’s better than the average spaghetti western. Funny at times but mostly a gritty action movie. Good stuff and a must-see for genre fans.
Director: Edoardo Mulargia
Starring: Anthony Steffen
6. Halleluja For Django
This fun film begins with a gang of outlaws and a monk (!) who rob a bank. But the monk turns out to be a total prick, and he has his own evil plans and kills the sheriff. The sheriff’s brother, who is in prison, is told that his dear brother has been killed. So he does what we all would have done in that situation; Breaks out of jail and sets off to kill the shit out of the villainous evildoers. Halleluja For Django is a fast moving film with a gritty atmosphere, nice landscapes and an excellent score. George Hilton is great as the hero (Billy, not Django…) and Spaghetti western regular Hunt Powers is a terrific as “monk”. And the insanely hot euro starlet Erika Blanc pops up as a saloon girl.
Release year: 1967
Director: Maurizio Lucidi
Starring: George Hilton, Hunt Powers
7. Django The Last Killer
George Eastman is best known from exploitation films like Anthropophagus, but he also starred in some entertaining spaghetti westerns (Ben And Charlie, for example). In Django The Last Killer Eastman plays a shabby farmer named Ramon. He is far from being a hero figure and he doesn’t even know how to use a gun. But then his parents are killed (!) and he goes to find someone who can teach him the art of violence. And who better than Django himself? Ramon meets an aging Django (Anthony Ghidra). They develop a mentor/student thing. But it turns out that Django has been hired to kill Ramon, so eventually the two friends meet in a duel. A cool film. Django isn’t a black-clad loner here and he wears a gay neck scarf. But I really liked the idea of him being an aging and wise bounty hunter.
Release year: 1967
Director: Giuseppe Vari
Starring: George Eastman, Anthony Ghidra
8. Django The Bastard (aka. Stranger’s Gundown)
Here is another Django rip-off where our hero’s name is just The Stranger. He’s played by Anthony Steffen (…again) and this time he’s shot down by some soldiers and left for dead. But some years later he returns, more grumpy than ever, to kill them all. And like Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter, he almost seems like a demon from hell. It is actually rumoured that Django The Bastard was the inspiration for High Plains Drifter, and the two films have a bunch of similarities. Sure, it’s not as good as Clint Eastwood’s film, but it’s entertaining enough. Anthony Steffen speaks between his teeth, and he’s probably the actor who resembles Eastwood the most. He even wears a poncho here. But there’s still something original about the dude – a sort of gothic aura à la Bela Lugosi. Cool guy. Speaking of cool guys, I have to mention the villain here: Luciano Rossi plays one of the most twisted bad guys I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in a long time. He looks a bit like The Joker, and the director must have said bad stuff about his mother or something, because it looks like the lunatic is about to explode of anger in every scene. He is a bit annoying though, but you’ll never forget his monkey-like behavior. Sure, the film isn’t great, but definitely worth a look. It’s directed by Sergio Garrone (A Noose For Django).
Release year: 1974
Director: Sergio Garrone
Starring: Anthony Steffen
9. One Damned Day At Dawn Django Meets Sartana
One damned day at dawn I stumbled upon this film and I just had to see it. You see, I’m weak for cool titles, and One Damned Day At Dawn Django Meets Sartana is another awesome one. The film isn’t bad either. It decided to cash in on not one but two successful names in the spaghetti western genre; Django and Sartana, wow! Django (Hunt Powers) and Sartana (an unrecognizable Fabio Testi) team up to satisfy their male desires to smash and kill by gunning down a ruthless gang of criminals lead by Bud Willerin in Black City. Meanwhile, Django is out to avenge his dead wife as usual, and Sartana has, believe it or not, become a sheriff in town. Not a very impressive plot, but you know what? The film is pretty good. It has a desert style scenery, close ups, gunplay and cool music.
Release year: 1970
Director: Demofilo Fidani
Starring: Hunt Powers, Fabio Testi
10. Don’t Wait, Django… Shoot!
Number 10 is one of many cheapie spaghetti westerns by Eduardo Mulargio (El Puro). I liked it. Ivan Rassimov (The Man From Deep River himself!) plays Django, and this time we find out that Django’s surname is Foster! The blue-eyed gunfighter returns home to find out that his father has been killed and robbed by a villain with a greasy face and bad teeth. Understandably pissed, Django sets off to take revenge with no emotion on his face whatsoever. That’s the end of the plot and more or less the start of the film. Cue several pointless characters who are searching for a pouch of money. Not a great movie and a bit clichéd, but Don’t Wait, Django… Shoot! has it’s moments. I found it very enjoyable, and Ivan Rassimov is always cool to watch. And his sister, Rada Rassimov, also has a supporting role here. There are, however, too many characters in the film, perhaps making it a bit difficult to follow.
Release year: 1967
Director: Edoardo Mulargia
Starring: Ivan Rassimov
So. There you have it, Rare Cult Cinema’s top 10 favorite Django sequels. And I might as well mention the worst of them too. At the bottom of the barrel there is a hideous movie called Ballad of Django. They can’t all be good, can they?
Ballad of Django (aka. Fistful of Death)
Django, or Macho as he’s called here, fights two rivaling outlaw gangs led by Butch Cassidy and a moron who calls himself “Iron Head” (Gordon Mitchell). Heh, even his name is stupid. Anyway, Jeff Cameron plays Django… err, I mean “Macho”. He isn’t exactly an acting phenomenon. He’s an amazingly crappy actor! But every movie has its good points, right? In this case it’s Klaus Kinski in a supporting role as a priest. There’s a particularly memorable scene where Kinski attempts to seperate two men fighting by hitting them and screaming: “I said love!” That’s hilarious – and the only good thing about this film. It’s cinematic vomit at its worst, and Kinski only has a small role, so if you blink, you might miss him. So don’t be fooled by the movie poster with a king size picture of Klaus. What a scam. I was very disappointed with this stinker of a movie. It’s also known as The Strange Tale Of Minnesota Stinky. A more appropriate title, if you ask me. Stinky.
Release year: 1971
irector: Demofilo Fidani
Starring: Jack Betts, Gordon Mitchell, Klaus Kinski