Hate Thy Neighbor (1968)

Two criminals try to double cross each other over a map to a goldmine while a man arrives in town to avenge his brother’s death. Also, there are hook fights. That’s Hate Thy Neighbor or Hate Your Neighbor, however you want to put it.

At the start of the film, outlaw George Eastman shoots a guy for a treasure map. He then returns to his rich partner, Horst Frank, who splits the map in half with him. Meanwhile, Spiros Focas shows up to find out who killed the guy at the start of the film, which just happened to be his brother. Also, Focas has a buddy named Duke. Duke isn’t all that important to the plot, but he’s kinda crazy when he does do something, so we’ll come back to him.

Anyway, rich guy Frank’s place is on the border of the US and Mexico, and he has Mexican-totally-not-Italian slaves fight in a little corral with hooks for his amusement. He also has an armed gang full of Mexican-totally-not-Italian banditos who all wear sombreros as his henchmen. When Eastman splits the map so they can share the winnings, Frank goes out of his way to arrest Eastman and torture him. Focas shows up to save Eastman and then has him put on trial. Frank saves Eastman from being executed and demands the map. Eastman gets Frank’s Mexican-totally-not-Italian henchman Jose to betray Frank, but Frank catches them and makes them fight to the death with hooks. Focas shows up to show he has Eastman’s half of the map and kill Eastman, but Frank does it when Eastman reveals he gave the order to kill Focas’ brother. Then Duke shows up. And this is the important part:

Duke takes out Frank’s whole gang. By throwing sticks of dynamite that Focas shoots. Seriously, he pulls his coat back and shows he is positively LOADED with dynamite. That guy is a walking one man demolition crew, and he’s this nerdy dude in glasses and a top hat. Duke, you are the best thing about this movie.

Yeah, after that, Focas shoots Frank but doesn’t kill him so he can be tried, and Duke says something about Frank being lucky that Focas doesn’t know how to hate, but all of this is moot considering Frank is probably terrified he’s being manhandled by a shrimpy human bomb at the moment.

Also, there is a kid and the beautiful Nicoletta Machiavelli are here, but they’re basically just around to annoy us or look good and provide a love interest for Focas. We don’t need them. We could totally have used more Duke though. Also, the Italian countryside is beautiful, particularly the ancient stone mills with waterwheels on them. Somehow I don’t think those exist on the Mexican-American border.

Yeah, it’s not the best thing I’ve ever watched, but between arena hook fights, backstabbing, shoot outs, torture, and Duke, Hate Thy Neighbor offers some weird entertainment in a very Italian way. I also like the soundtrack that seems way too upbeat and happy when people are getting murdered.

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