Alex, a psychopathic mechanic, rapes a woman in the park. Later, a debauched couple pull into his shop needing car repair. They invite Alex and his mentally challenged buddy to join them at a decadent suburban party. Once there, Alex amuses himself by raping the guests and tormenting them in various ways.Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Because Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left (1972) had been such a success, this film, which is similar in violent content and also stars Hess, was given the slightly similar title "The House on the Edge of the Park". It was one of many violent thrillers to be given a "House" title in attempt to ride the success of Craven's earlier film. See more »
Enough Interesting Moments to Make It Worth Watching
House on the Edge of the Park (1980)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Alex (David Hess) and his friend Ricky (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) are invited to a party thrown by some rich folks where the psychotic Alex soon realizes that they're basically there as a joke. This sets Alex off on a violent rampage full of rape and other sorts of perverted violence.
This Ruggero Deodato film has become known as a rip-off of THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT thanks in large part to the casting of Hess but I think that's selling the film a bit short. There are a few too many problems here for the film to be a complete success but at the same time I think the film has enough interesting moments that make it worth watching. The film has also become somewhat notorious for its sexual tone but I think people will be shocked to see how un-violent it actually is.
What I liked most about the film (especially one a second viewing) is how the "victims" in the film are also made out to be bad guys. This is basically a story of bad guys going up against an evil guy and I thought it made for a rather interesting atmosphere because there's really no one here you like. Instead of having people you like you're basically ranking people you hate from the most to the least. This was a bit of a twist than what you usually saw in films like THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and others like it.
What doesn't work with the film is that it's got a really bad soundtrack that doesn't work and I'd also argue that something more needed to happen here. I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed going into such a notorious movie and finding out that it's really not all that violent. I mean, you've got the director of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST but don't expect any of that type of violence. It's certainly got a very weird sexual tone to it that is rather unsettling. There's also a twist that doesn't work at all but I won't spoil what it is.
I thought the performances were the real highlight of the picture with Hess once again doing an excellent job in the role of the madman. Radice also gets a lot of sympathy from his character and I thought supporting players like Annie Belle, Gabriele Di Guilio and Lorraine DeSelle were good too. HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK is certainly a film worth watching but with a few changes it could have been much better.
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