Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

dont torture a duckling poster 1972 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking thriller

Kind of predictable killer

Movie Info

Movie Name: Don’t Torture a Duckling

Studio:  Medusa Distribuzione

Genre(s): Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  September 29, 1972

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

dont torture a duckling murdered children italy

No one is safe…

When a child is murdered in the town of Accendura, police question who the killer is, and the people of the superstitious small town think anyone could be a suspect.  Andrea Martelli (Tomas Milian) has come to Accendura for the story and realizes he’s stumbled on to much more when a second child is killed.  Who is killing the children and why?

Directed by Lucio Fulci, Don’t Torture a Duckling (Non si sevizia un paperino) is an Italian mystery-horror giallo film.  The movie was released to controversy regarding the plot and was banned in some areas.  Since its release, the movie has gained a cult following and positive reviews.

dont torture a duckling witch

The wicked witch of the village

You see a title like Don’t Torture a Duckling, and you have to watch it.  Giallo movies often have great titles and this is one of the best.  Sometimes the movies don’t live up to their fun titles, but Don’t Torture a Duckling is a solid thriller.  Due to the subject, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

The movie largely plays on small town horrors.  The people that live in the town are just as hateful and distrusting as the killer.  Child murderers are considered the worst of the worst, and the suspects of the crime in the film are treated as such.  Giuseppe and La Magiara are developmentally challenged and mentally ill and are ravaged by the villagers.  The person who is most revered in town is the actual killer (which in the age of church abuse scandals, it wasn’t much of a shock), but he walks the holy path in the mind the villagers.

dont torture a duckling ending priest killer

A priest…is a bad guy? No way (said no one in the 2000s)

The “heroes” of the movie are both flawed.  Andrea Martelli (Tomas Milian) is the reporter out to solve the case but is being loose with his marriage and family.  Patrizia (Barbara Bouchet) is a girl with a reputation…but they are the ones who end up putting it together because they are outsiders who aren’t blinded by small town biases.

The movie is quite visual like a lot of Fulci’s movies (and giallo for that matter).  Just due to the subject and victims it is rather intense.  If you throw in the great scene of the priest bouncing down the mountain and having his flesh ripped from his face as he does, it is rougher than a lot of slasher films or torture films.

Don’t Torture a Duckling is a relatively easy mystery to solve, but it is still a decent thriller.  It is a good example of the genre and new transfers of the film are quite crisp and clean.  Like most horror/gore movies, it isn’t for everyone, but Don’t Torture a Duckling is worth seeing just for the title.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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