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House on the Edge of the Park (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Theatrical Release: 1985 / Suitable for 18 years and over / Director: Ruggero Deodato / Actors: David Hess, Annie Belle, Christian Borromeo, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Marie Claude Joseph ... / DVD released 2002-12-17 at Shriek Show / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, Colour, Dubbed, DVD-Video, NTSC

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      23.10.2012 14:17
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      bloody horror film.

      The House At The Edge Of The Park is one of the notorious Video Nasties from the 70s and 80s. For those who don't know Video Nasties was a term for movies that where filled with blood, violence, gore and everything nasty.
      The House At The Edge Of The Park comes under the genre of rape revenge. Rape Revenge is a sub-genre of horror that was popular at the time this movie came out in 1980.

      -----------Cast-----------
      David Hess - Alex
      Annie Belle - Lisa
      Christian Borromeo - Tom
      Giovanni Lombardo Radice - Ricky
      Marie Claude Joseph - Glenda
      Gabriele Di Giulia - Howard
      Brigitte Petronio - Cindy
      Karoline Mardeck - Susan
      Lorraine De Selle - Gloria

      -------------Plot & Thoughts------------
      Alex rapes a women in the middle of the night on a lonely road where he leaves her in a state what looks like she is dead. Later you see Alex and Ricky his best friend closing up their garage where a group of people come in a beg them to fix the car before they close up. Ricky fixes the car whilst Alex flirts with one of the females in the group. She invites him to their party and then they all set of to the house. Alex goes back to the garage before they drive off and get a knife and instantly I knew he was going to the party to cause trouble.

      Once they get to the party there is about 5 people there and it is very quite, calm and everyone was just enjoying themselves. I did sort of sense a feeling that the rich people at the party where just taking taking Alex and Ricky for entertainment and simply just using them for laughs. I think the snobby attitude that the rich people had was pretty annoying and at times I wanted to reach in the screen and slap them.
      Alex clicked onto the fact that they where kind of taking them for a ride and then his angry side started to come out.
      It was during a game of poker where Alex really just had enough of the rich people's behavoir. Alex was convinced that they where cheating in the game and flipped out his knife and decided to flip the script and take them for a ride instead.
      For the rest of the movie you see Alex torture the rich group and have a little disturbed and violent fun of his own.

      I thought the movie was a good watch when I first watched it because mainly because of David Hess as Alex. He was angry, mean, cruel and a darn good villain. What I liked about his character is that everything he done I believed he meant it and felt it was real. I really liked Ricky also and it kind of got to me the way he was treated by Alex because he was a sweet character at hear.

      I think in terms of it being 'Video Natsy' it did somewhat live up to my expectations for the time it came out but for now it really is not all that nasty. I can see why in 1980 they didn't want this released because it contains some strong themes and plenty of violence. The beatings are brutal with plenty of blood and there are rapes, sexual scenes, full frontal nudity and torture throughout so there was reason back then for it to cause concern since this is not what they where used to.

      The plot ends with a little twist because because I am a movie fanatic it was actually something that I saw coming just didn't know how it would pan out. Was a little surprise though nothing to shocking but it definitely makes the plot thicker. Watch and find out :)

      ----------This really confused me----------
      There was a rape scene in the house with one of the girls which I couldn't really tell if she was being raped or she started to enjoy it a little. At first it was clear she was being raped but half way she got on top for a few seconds of screen time so surely if she was being raped as soon as she got chance to get on top she would have ran off. This is one of the scenes that did kind of confuse me but the woman he raped(or not) was a bit of a tease leading up to that point so not sure on that part. All I can say for this part of the film watch and judge for yourself.

      ----------Theme Song Choice------------
      The song they used throughout when something tragic was going to happen was a song called sweetly. The song is very slow and sounds like something you would sing to you child to get them to sleep well that's what I thought at the start of the movie. To me this was a cracking choice of song because it captured the horror essence of the movie so well and gave the song a whole different meaning. Not only that the song is very creepy the way it's sang slow and just screams evil. Loved it and thought it was creepy.

      ---------Overall Opinion----------
      I think the movie is good and has lots of nasty scenes and recommend for those who love violence and gore. It is available to buy uncut from Amazon from £9.99 which is worth it for the uncut version. The cut version is available from 32p on Amazon but I would recommend not getting either and just watching the full movie on YouTube it's easier.

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        15.04.2011 22:29
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        Recommended if your after a straightforward movie with a good twist

        After watching the masterpiece "Cannibal Holocaust" by Ruggero Deodato, I was keen to see some of his other pieces of work. When I bought Cannibal Holocaust on DVD, it came with an extra disc of "The House on the Edge of the Park". Before buying this 25th anniversary edition of "Cannibal Holocaust" I didn't even know this film existed, so was very curious to watch it.

        The plot is as follows; at the beginning of the film, we see Alex (played by David Hess who is also known for his appearance in Wes Craven's "Last House On the Left", intimidate, rape and strangle a woman in the back of her car. Alex and a close friend of his work at a garage, and one night when they are ready to go "boogying" a couple pull in and ask the pair to take a look at their car as it appears to have problems. Ricky investigates the car and solves the problem, and the pair invite themselves along to the party which the couple are currently heading to. Once there, Alex and Ricky hold the group hostage whilst sexually abusing, humiliating and intimidating the group. However, the tables turn towards the end of the film when Tom pulls a gun out of a drawer and eventually shoots and kills Alex. Before killing Alex, he explains that the whole thing was a set up. He rips the locket from around Alex's neck and explains that the woman he raped and killed at the beginning of the movie was in fact, his sister. Tom used this set up to claim that he killed Alex in an act of self defence.

        I really enjoyed this clever little storyline, although it was elaborate, it was simple yet very effective. It was unpredictable, and nothing was made obvious until the very end when it all comes together. This aspect of the film I really enjoyed and praise. However, there were no memorable scenes for me, and this is probably due to the film being produced on a very low budget and in the space of three weeks. Because of this, I think Ruggero Deodato could have taken more time and care with this film, and it would of really reached it's potential. The storyline is absolutely brilliant, but the lack of special effects, memorable scenes and mediocre acting really let it down for me.

        This film is recommendable if your looking for a good short story, with nothing spectacular in mind. However, if you like your horror's gory and graphic, with scenes you can't clear your head of, then this isn't advisable. It has nothing on Cannibal Holocaust, and for this reason, I was fairly disappointed with this film.

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          05.04.2010 11:58
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          A dreadful video nasty

          A film-only review. You can get a region 1 DVD from amazon for about £10.

          I've been working my way through the few video nasties left that I've not seen yet. This one I put off for ages; I didn't much like the sound of it. Having seen it, I think my gut instinct was right.

          This was made in 1980, and directed by Ruggero Deodato, who gave us Cannibal Holocaust the same year. What a year that must have been for him! Although Italian, this is set in New York (probably filmed in Italy with generic New York footage inserted later). Alex is a sleazy rapist scumbag. Before the credits we see him rape and murder a woman. He and his slightly retarded friend Ricky end up getting invited to a small party at a rich person's home. Alex soon realises that they're there for the rich folks to laugh at, and so begins a night of terror, torture and rape as Alex goes off the deep end.

          This is not a nice film. It's one of only a handful of video nasties that lives up to its reputation. Sexual violence was a prominent feature of exploitation in the 70s and early 80s, but rarely has it been so nastily depicted as here. Not nasty as in explicit, or harrowing, but nasty in the way it turns rape into soft porn, with two out of three raped women deciding halfway through that they actually quite like it. It also features an extended sequence in which a terrified naked girl is tortured with a straight razor, which isn't necessarily very realistic, but is certainly very unpleasant.

          What's particularly troublesome is that the film has no sympathetic characters, apart from the girl who arrives at the party late and is subjected to the nastiest humiliation and torture. We know Alex is a rapist and murderer right from the start, and Ricky is hyperactive and all too willing to go along with Alex's antics. But the rich people at the party are just as unpleasant in their own way, teasing the poorer characters, humiliating and exploiting Ricky (there's a horribly embarrassing scene where he dances for them, convinced his awful disco moves will impress them). So with all the characters being essentially bastards of one kind or another, how are we supposed to care what happens to them? Where's the catharsis when one side triumphs over the other?

          Some horror fans love this kind of stuff. The argument is that horror should be nasty, or even 'transgressive'. That's fine, but if you're going to put extreme unpleasantness onscreen you have to do so with a purpose beyond pleasing the sadistic side of your audience. Cannibal Holocaust is a film in which vile things happen, but at least it has a sense of right and wrong; at least the right people are punished. House at the Edge of the Park hasn't the intelligence to try to make a point about the moral equivalence of the characters, it just keeps flipping who it asks us to sympathise with. One moment it sides with the victimised rich people as the unrefined brute Alex carves his way through them; the next moment with poor old blue collar Alex, just another working stiff exploited by rich, uncaring aesthetes. There's no consistency, but nothing to justify the lack of consistency. This belongs with a very few other video nasties which try to be extreme for the sake of it (Gestapo's Last Orgy and Cannibal Ferox come to mind). But this is probably the only one that's made well enough to actually leave a nasty taste in the mouth. It's directed thoroughly competently throughout, and looks glossier than most Italian exploitation from the same time.

          It's obviously inspired by the witless Last House on the Left, another notorious exploitation film about rape (although at least the rape in Last House isn't meant to be titillating). So they've cast Last House's sleazy lead, David Hess, as Alex. He repeats his Last House performance, going over the top in a way that might be quite enjoyable if the film wasn't so repugnant. He looks like a weird mixture of Robert De Niro and Blake out of Blake's Seven.

          The rest of the cast are OK, although some of the victimised men are a bit too blank. It's full of other video nasty actors, notably reliable over-actor Giovanni Radice as Ricky (he's similarly unrestrained in Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Apocalypse). Annie Belle from Absurd and Lorraine De Selle, also from Cannibal Ferox, are both in it, and both get naked.

          There's a lot of nudity involved, but as most of it involves sexual abuse it isn't particularly welcome. The violence is not terribly convincing. You'd imagine that a man with multiple gunshot wounds falling into a swimming pool might bleed into the water, but apparently not. There's also a shower scene in which there's no steam or condensation on the glass shower cubicle, which presumably means that the poor actress had to stand under a cold shower.

          As in Cannibal Holocaust, there's a really inappropriate slushy theme by composer Riz Ortolani which plays during some of the nastier moments. Presumably this is intended to be ironic, but it just feels depressing. The rape scenes generally get romantic love-scene music, which is horribly appropriate, since the victims are obviously meant to be enjoying themselves. There is a good disco tune at one point. At the start of the film Alex and Ricky are looking forward to a good night of 'boogying', and the way Alex dresses - smart suit, waistcoat - is obviously meant to remind us of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. This could have been a far more interesting film if it had been about the unpleasant flipside of the disco scene (I'm sure there was one).

          This film has its fans. There are people who believe that it has something to say about class warfare, or that nothing should be off-limits to horror directors in their desire to transgress. I certainly don't think nonsense like this should be censored (the BBFC has still never passed it uncut), but it's one of the most disjointed, misogynistic films I've ever seen. It actually makes Last House on the Left look quite good by comparison, and that's a hell of an achievement!

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