‘Nest of Vipers’ showcases Giulio Petroni’s complex plotting and atmospheric set pieces
Nest of Vipers (Night of the Serpent)
Directed by Giulio Petroni
Though Giulio Petroni has only rather few titles to his name when compared with his prolific, and better known, counterparts, the Italian director does have the bragging rights of working with both Lee Van Cleef (Death Rides a Horse, 1967) and Orson Welles (Tepepa, 1969).
It’s Petroni’s Nest of Vipers, recently released alongside Pierro Pierotti’s less successful Tails You Lose (1969), by Wild East Productions, that showcases the director’s talent for complex plotting and atmospheric set pieces.
Similar to the earlier Ringo series by Duccio Tessari, and to the now time-honored traditions of Leone and Corbucci, the structure of Nest of Vipers pits the outsider (here, and often, the“gringo”) versus a band of outlaws, where a largely unassuming and tight-knit community is caught in between and unawares.
Luke Askew, probably best known for roles in Easy Rider and Cool Hand Luke, plays Luke, the drunk sharpshooter with a dark past, sent on a mission to kill a child to help his employer’s contact gain a $10,000 inheritance. The plot is complex, particularly when pitted alongside many of the lesser Spaghetti Westerns of the late period, and Petroni and co-writers Fulvio and Lorenzo Gicca Palli do well to start the narrative somewhat obtusely with a mostly unseen murder, shot through a rainy window:
CLICK HERE TO EXPAND THE ARTICLE