Hole in the Forehead (1968)

A weird gunslinger, a bunch of Mexican banditos, betrayal, revenge, a fuzzy timeline, and everybody’s dirty. Yep, it’s another Italian Western!

Hole in the Forehead follows Billy Blood, a quirky cowboy with a terrible name that never likes to use his right hand for anything except shooting and always shoots people in the forehead for some strange reason. He’s kind to women, treats the clergy well, and follows a code of conduct even when mowing men down by the barrel. And he does murder a lot of men in this movie. The guy’s a walking genocide.

Billy tries to meet up with a buddy at a rural monastery so they can search for the treasure of Santa Ana, but a Mexican bandit warlord who styles himself General Munguja is also after the treasure, which can only be found by decoding a message written across three playing cards. After Billy’s friend is murdered at the start of the film, he goes and tricks General Munguja to give up his info before starting a war with him. Eventually they end up back at the monastery where the friend shows up and reveals he didn’t actually die, and then the other guys all end up dead and Billy rides off with his share of the dough because that’s what kind of movie this is. Oh yeah, and General Munguja is most definitely given a hole in the head, so…yeah, good job delivering on the title.

Where things get fuzzy is the timeline, because this is set sometime after the Battle of the Alamo, while Texas is in a quasi-state of being owned by Mexico. General Munguja has his sights on controlling a no man’s land near the Rio Grande. Yet the guns are post-U.S. Civil War, including a rotary cannon that Billy uses to slaughter a bunch of bandits in one seen and which General Munguja definitely uses in a war crime earlier in the film.

So yeah, it’s 18??-whatever, and Billy’s out for revenge and money, but he’s also all for helping out some women, one of whom gets drowned in some kind of liquor by General Munguja. There’s also a brief torture scene where Billy is slapped a bit by bandits while in his underwear, but despite all of the face rubbing like he was bloody, he’s never actually bloody. It’s a weird acting choice to show he’s in pain, what with other folks getting bloody mouths and shrugging it off the way they do. Nah, Billy just kind of shows up, doesn’t use his right hand, gets not-beaten into submission during torture yet acts like he’s horribly fatigued and messed up, and then magically blows folks away as soon as he can get a gun. Oh, and then he gets crusty wounds on his face at the end of the film, so maybe he doesn’t get cut, he just sprouts scabs three days later?

Look, Hole in the Forehead isn’t a spectacular film, folks. As bad as it can be, the English dubbing is worse, even cutting back in and repeating the same two sentences at one point. Also, now that I think about it, every Mexican male is dirty and a criminal, so the message that I’m getting is kinda, hrmm, racist?

Enjoy the German trailer, folks!

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