Thursday, 24 February 2011

House on the Edge of the Park (La Casa Sperduta nel Parco)

One of the most censored films in British history, having been rejected a UK cinema certificate in 1981, put on the video nasty list after being released uncut on video, and finally being eventually passed by the BBFC in 2002, House on the Edge of the Park was released in Britain with almost 12 minutes of footage cut from the film, mostly all the rape and violence.

Sound like a hard movie to swallow? Well it is and it isn't! Although the film deals with some controversial issues, the film is saved by the excellent casting of David Hess and Giovanni Lombardo Radice as the seriously deranged Alex and his dimwitted sidekick Ricky.

The film begins with Alex driving along New York city when he see's a good looking young woman driving alongside him. After making gestures to her he cuts her off at a nearby park. He goes to her car and gets in next to her. He brutally rapes and strangles her to death and takes her locket as a trophy. This is shocking scene foreshadowing the events to come.

Some time afterward, Alex is finishing up in the garage where he works with Ricky. Alex is planning to go "boogeying" at a disco and promised that Ricky could come along. Just as they are about to finish, a fancy car drives into the garage. A young, rich couple called Tom and Lisa ask for some help as their car is having engine troubles. Alex refuses to help saying that they are closed but Ricky offers to help. He fixes the problem and Tom, grateful for the assistance, says that he and Lisa are going to a party. Alex asks if he and Ricky could tag along, and Tom agrees. Before leaving Alex says he needs something from his locker. His locker has a lot of knives in it, and he takes out a cut throat razor.

They eventually reach a large house beside a park, and are greeted by the owner Gloria, and her friends Glenda and Howard. Some disco music starts to play and Ricky eagerly proclaims to be a good dancer. He looks to Alex for approval who then tells him to show them his moves. Ricky begins to dance and gyrate then starts to take his clothes off while everyone is laughing. Alex is not happy about this as he thinks they're taking advantage of Ricky and laughing at him.

Afterwards they decide to play some poker. Alex and Lisa stay out of the game and he follows her up the stair and watches her have a shower. Lisa teases Alex to go in and scrub her back. As he does this she gets out the shower and leaves him there pretty angry. Alex comes back downstairs to see that Ricky is losing all his money at poker. "Be careful Ricky, they're taking you for a ride", says Alex. Tom and Howard decide to get rough with Alex who then proceeds to beat them up. He then takes out the razor to show he means business and forces everyone to sit down at the poker table. He then let's Ricky deal the cards and let's him win back all the money.

After this point Alex takes over the party brandishing his razor. He proceeds to humiliate, assault and rape for the remainder of the film, with Ricky doing as he says as if he is looking for approval. In my view, Ricky is and is not responsible for his own actions. On one hand he is more than happy to go along with Alex sadistic plans, but on the other his role is portrayed as if he can't understand or make decisions on his own. He looks to Alex for guidance and doesn't try and think for himself. It's only when he is forced into certain situations or in the middle of an action that he begins to realise the gravity of his actions. Although he is a villain he is also the most innocent if that makes any sense? He only does things to please Alex but doesn't have the capability to understand how wrong a situation is until he is face to face with it. To me this is Giovanni Lombardo Radice's finest role of all of his exploitation films.

Once again there are several shocking scenes at the end of the film, but I hate to give everyone the full story and spoil the film! (Haha!)

Ruggero Deodato has had his fair share of controversy over the years, mainly due to the horror films he made in the late 70's. This was the decade of horror that was raw, sleazy and unflinching. Maverick directors making horror films about situations that could happen in reality instead of the fantasy of the 60's. Italian cinema was at it's most extreme and innovative and its powers to exploit where at their peak. There are many things that Deodato regrets about his films but the fact of the matter is in my opinion there are not many films around that still have the same potency as when they were first released, but Deodato achieved just that!

Giovanni Lombardo Radice has always said that he is not the biggest fan of horror or the horror films that he made, but hopefully he appreciates how much of an important role he played in that era of his life.

David Hess has also made a good name for himself in horror. He is especially good at playing the maniac (too good if you ask me) and between this film and "Last House on the Left", although he plays a similar role, I personally think that "House on the Edge of the Park" holds his better performance.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. Once again It's been a lot of fun to write and hopefully there will be some comments and a nice little conversation. Oh, one other thing. I would like to change the name of the blog to something a bit more original but I don't know what! I have no imagination for this sort of thing so if anyone can think of a good name let me know! The best name will get a prize!

Thank you!

Michael :)


  1. Nice revew. After so many years i am glad to be in contact and friendspip with both Ruggero and David.
    Love Giovanni Lombardo Radice

  2. Thanks Giovanni! I'm very happy you liked the post. Hope all is well and you're busy with a new project!

    Best wishes!


  3. You should call your blog The Movie Ghetto.
    Or maybe Crash-zoom :)

  4. Hey Alex thanks for the suggestions! I know the current blog name isn't very original, so I appreciate your ideas!

    Thank you.

    Michael! ;)

  5. Moral of the story - don't invite strangers to your house party!


  6. Haha true!

    These exploitation films always seem to deal in very harsh life lessons haha!

    Maybe they should use them as public service announcements!