Sewer Rats, The / Una donna per sette bastardi (1974)

3.0 out of 5

Also known as The Sewer Rats, Montero’s sleazy, grotty and generally decrepit yarn, based on an idea by the film’s lead, Richard Harrison, works as a transgressive, contemporary western of sorts. As the downtrodden, crippled, man with no name, Harrison wanders into an isolated, makeshift town, 200 miles from anywhere half civilised and populated by a wretched handful of sinister scumbags who promptly make him feel less than welcome.

Dagmar Lassander is the J&B chugging nympho slut Rita, who works her way through the men one by one. They include her violent “boyfriend”, Carl played by Antonio CasaleGordon Mitchell as a mysterious, granite faced man who first came to the community in military uniform, and creepy pervert Ivano Staccioli. All have dark secrets and shady pasts.

Una donna per sette bastardi is a real slow burner of a movie, one that revels in the quagmire during its gradual, though inevitable, revelations of the characters’ closeted skeletons. Enriched by a veritable who’s who of Italian Genre casting including the reunion of Luciano Rossi, as a mute hunchback, and Casale following their brief turn in The Violent Professionals, Montero wisely opts to place his emphasis on the able performances of his actors rather than on what is mainly functional, and somewhat austere, cinematography.

Richard Harrison does his best Warren Oates in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia impersonation and gets to use his walking stick to great effect at the film’s climax. Rossi is particularly impressive despite having no lines of dialogue to play with and, as you would expect, Lassander lends the film a sexy, though trampy, charm.

Best enjoyed on the scuzziest VHS copy available, Una donna per sette bastardi, is an irresistibly ugly little film that will probably appeal to the more unscrupulous, and patient, of genre enthusiasts.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics