Any true fan of David Hess or Giovanni Lombardo Radice is already cognizant of this exploitation classic & has probably seen it several times. Deodato doesn't make pretty films but he does boast some of the best performances here for this sleazy, psychotic masterpiece. Fans of Last House On The Left or the infamous I Spit On Your Grave will surely rejoice as well. House On The Edge Of The Park is one of the most grim, slimy films you're apt to see in your local video store to the best of my knowledge.
Although originally made in 1980, House would not be distributed to the masses until 1985 which was more or less a direct-to-video effort. House On The Edge Of The Park was initially rejected for a UK cinema certificate by the BBFC when first submitted in March 1981, and later found itself on the DPP list of "video nasties" when it was revealed that the uncut version was readily available on UK video. When it was eventually passed by the BBFC in July 2002, it was cut by 11 minutes and 43 secs, with almost all of the rape and violence either replaced or removed entirely. Fortunately, we are able to view the film in all it's uncut glory released through Media Blasters in the USA. This is, in fact, the director's cut which runs approximately 91 minutes.
Surprisingly, the actors here do well given the material & David Hess continues to prove he can still play the most menacing characters ever in any given horror flick. Giovanni Lombardo Radice plays the semi-retarded sidekick Ricky who co-owns a car garage with Alex (played by Hess) & delivers one of the better roles in his career.
In the first five minutes, Alex rapes & strangles a young woman to death after forcing her car off the highway in New York. If this scene alone is any indication of what you might be in store for, you could easily base your decision on this montage alone as to whether or not you'll be watching the remainder of the film.
Alex & Ricky are just about ready to head out for an evening of kicks at the local disco when Lisa(Annie Bell) & her boyfriend show up in their garage with a broken car. Ricky is able to fix the car & somehow the two are invited along for the couple's dinner party. As anyone can predict, things will soon take a turn for the worse although the film takes it's time to let Alex's rage bubble once everyone arrives at the party. In the meantime, there are poker games to be played & a rather cute scene where Ricky shows off his dance moves to some of the women at the party while listening to some old funky disco music.
When Alex feels that the homeowners' & their guests have truly taken advantage of his friend Ricky, he snaps into a raging fir of anger & proceeds to beating the male guests & molesting the women. He evens tries to coerce Ricky into molesting some of the women. From this point on, each scene is cringe-worthy & suspenseful as the guests are subject to one kind of torture or another. Towards the end of the film, the guests decide to take matters into their own hands & then the real motive behind the social gathering is revealed.
While not the gore fest that some would have you believe by long shot nor are there any cannibals this time around to run from, there is still plenty of necessary roughness which comes with the marked territory. From the opening sequence all the way to gritty end, House is filled with extreme violence & the sheer ugliness of sexual torture. Not for all audiences of course but you know whether or not it's up your alley within the first few moments. If not, grab your remote & shut it off. Perhaps some of the most shocking scenes include mutilation rather than the rape footage itself. Bear in mind that Deodato doesn't play by the rules nor do things get any more pleasant throughout the next 87 minutes.
I can't say that similar films may not have already left their lasting impressions nor weren't done better perhaps but very few have surprised me more than House. Honestly, I didn't see the ending coming & I even gathered from several indirect references that the two psychotics had known each other in the biblical sense at some point in their lives although the film never distinctly tells you one way or another. Also, I think the performances from Radice & our fave villain Hess were much more believable than other films that might very well fall into the revenge exploitation flick genre.
Enjoy! We don't have the pleasure of seeing this stuff anymore in the theaters but we can own this on DVD and it's quite affordable for enthusiasts. Unpleasant dreams, my friends!
Alex (David Hess) is a sociopath/mechanic who raped and strangled a young woman on his way home from work one evening. One night after work, Alex and his co-worker and best friend Ricky (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) are off to go "boogie" when a young couple in a white caddy (Annie Belle and Christian Borromeo) Lisa and Tom need their mechanical know how to fix a problem. During the repair job, Tom mentions to Alex about a get together they're having. Intrigued and lusting … more