“You’re either in, or you’re in the way.” Like a shot heard around the world, the release of THE GODFATHER in 1972 ushered in a whole new wave of gritty, violent dramas about the Italian-American organized crime underworld. One of the most unlikely people to heed that call was Pennsylvanian-born Duke Mitchell, whose screen credits up to this point included providing the singing voice of Fred Flintstone and playing a Dean Martin-like straight man to Sammy Petrillo’s not-quite-Jerry Lewis in BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA. The multi-talented Mitchell decided to take advantage of captive audiences and committed to celluloid one of the most personal, most exploitative, and boldest independent crime movies of all time.
Born Dominic Miceli, Mitchell called upon his experience interacting with underworld mob types and crafted a Scarface-like story of one man’s brutal rise to power on the west coast, writing, directing, starring in, and even scoring the movie.
The acting is at times shaky and the pacing is in-line with ‘70s exploitation, but where Mitchell rises above his peers is his relentless overkill. This movie is violent, contains unpleasant amounts of racism, and is peppered with more soap-box standing, chest-beating monologues than a Presidential campaign stump speech. Mitchell had some opinions about what it meant to be Italian in America, and if you walk out of this movie not knowing what they are, you weren’t listening. His ear for language is as sharp as anyone else in the game, and this movie is full of memorable bits of barbed tough guy dialogue.
MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE is a point blank shotgun blast to your skull that will leave you wishing more filmmakers had the raviolis Mitchell had when conceiving and executing this nasty, thrilling descent into a hell of greed, crime and vengeance. This is one of the best movies, period.
“You can tell that this film, while violent and ugly, was made with blood, sweat, and tears.” - Josh Hurtado, Screen Anarchy