A Town Called Hell (1971) Review

Directors: Robert Parrish and Irving Lerner

Genre(s): Action, Western

Runtime: 95 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

IMDb Page

A Town Called Hell, which was titled “A Town Called Bastard” in some places (no, that’s not a joke), largely lives up to its reputation of being a piece of crap. The plot is about a wandering widow named Alvira (Stella Stevens) searching for the person who murdered her husband, offering a gold reward to anybody who will point her in the right direction. Done in a spaghetti western style, this incoherent movie offers little in the way of actual entertainment.

Okay, before we get started I should point out that the version of A Town Called Hell that I watched was the one on Amazon Prime…and it was sub-optimal to put it kindly. It was a rubbish-quality print of the film with poor audio and presented in fullscreen, without any panning or scanning. It was also several minutes short of the standard runtime of 95 minutes, I believe. A Blu Ray has been released of this picture, and maybe that is of superior quality, but I’m certainly in no hurry to go buy it.

How could a western with such a badass title go so wrong? I feel like I know less about the flick now that I’ve watched it than before. It’s a confusing and, more importantly, boring mess with just enough gunplay to prevent audience members from nodding off. Why are these people shooting at each other? I couldn’t tell you, but at least it’s better than people talking to each other with almost inaudible dialogue. Also, where’s Telly Savalas? The guy gets top-billing, yet is barely in the movie at all.

Armed with what I think is a flashback that goes on forever, this is a film that seems barely concerned with actual storytelling. Of course, the trashiness of the feature may have been amplified by the crumby version of the picture that I viewed. Rather than watching A Town Called Hell/A Town Called Bastard, I’d recommend coming up alternate titles for it, like “A Town Called Shit” or “A Town Called Sumbitch.” Yeah, that’s more amusing than just about anything in this movie. I’ve seen worse, but this is still pretty bad.

My rating is 4 outta 10.

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