Newest Reviews
Whale Island
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
We Need to Do Something
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Newest Articles
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
  Taste of the Savage, The Bloodlust on the brain
Year: 1971
Director: Alberto Mariscal
Stars: Isela Vega, Helena Rojo, Jorge Luke, Cameron Mitchell, Rogelio Guerra, Mario Almada, Enrique Lucero, Carlos East, Nicholas Georgiade, Arthur Hansel, Roger Cudney
Genre: Western, Drama, SexBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: On a cattle ranch in the old west, young Judd Carson sees his Pa shot dead by three hired killers. His mother, Sara (Isela Vega) tries her best to console the poor, traumatised boy even as she swears to take revenge. Some years later, when Sara’s blouse-busting pulchritude proves too much for one horny ranch hand, the now grownup Judd (Jorge Luke) rides to her rescue, accompanied by his sharp-shooting mentor, Huck (Cameron Mitchell). It happens Sara hired the tough, worldweary cowboy to teach her son to be a hard-bitten gunfighter, only he did his job too well. Judd has become a stone-cold psychopath. When he isn’t hunting his father’s killers, he picks a fight with anyone who crosses his path.

Local bigwig, Sam Pittmann (Arthur Hansel) is less than pleased Judd is romancing his sister, Rena (Helena Rojo). When Pittman learns of Judd’s rampage of revenge, he threatens to report him to the local sheriff unless Judd serves as his hired gun, killing families that refuse to sell their land. Realising Judd is no better than the murderers he was after, Huck resolves to apprehend his own protégé despite Sara’s impassioned entreaties. None of this ends well for anybody.

As with most exploitation subgenres, some European westerns played by the rules, others aimed to subvert them and some said to heck with that and went all out for sleaze. The Taste of the Savage ticks all the boxes with a scattershot approach that unfortunately obscures its genuinely substantial themes. More salsa western than spaghetti, this Mexican production adopts the more lurid aspects of Sam Peckinpah with an emphasis on primitive masculinity, suspect attitudes towards women and extreme violence. Victims are riddled with dozens upon dozens of bullets in sadistic slow-motion, while gushing head wounds and arterial sprays are also on the menu. Bereft of Peckinpah’s heartfelt humanity and poetic edge, the film’s unrelentingly bleak assessment of human psychology descends into hysterical parody with the climactic bloodbath so gratuitous in its nihilism as to be almost comical.

The story itself is well conceived but awkwardly structured with subplots shuffled like a pack of cards so that characters emerge as inconsistent as whatever moral the film is trying to impart. Billed as special guest star, Cameron Mitchell delivers an agreeably laconic turn in support of the commanding Isela Vega. Vega was among the brightest, most enduring of all Mexican film stars, from her early sex kitten roles and appearances opposite an ailing Boris Karloff in some low-budget horror films, to a stellar turn in Peckinpah’s much-underrated Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) for which she composed and sang the theme song, and her later success as a writer-producer-director. However, she does not look old enough to have a twenty-something year old son. In fact, in real life she and co-star Jorge Luke sired a daughter, which adds a further queasy layer of subtext to the film’s vaguely Oedipal overtones apparent in scenes such as where Sara soaps a blood-spattered Judd in the bathtub whilst crooning a gentle lullaby.

As the surly, rude, hot-headed rapist, bully and all-round headcase, Jorge Luke essays one of the most disreputable heroes in a western ever. He simply is not charismatic enough to make such an odious character tolerable. Alberto Mariscal directs with brutal efficiency, though the film wavers from stylish to shoddy with abrupt editing that fumbles the dramatic beats. It aims for the heights of Oedipal tragedy but ends up looking like a particularly perverse and ultraviolent Latin telenovella.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2371 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: