Film Review: House on the Edge of The Park (1980)

SYNOPSIS:

Time to party hardy. Hardly! It’s more like time to bail when two psychotics gate-crash a perfectly delightful get-together and turn it into a gore-fest with a huge body count. Directed by Ruggero Deodato, House on the Edge of the Park makes no pretense — it’s an exploitation flick complete with ritualistic torture.

REVIEW:

Written by: Gianfranco Clerici and Vincenzo Mannini
Directed by: Ruggero Deodato
Starring: Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Annie Belle, Christian Borromeo, Marie Claude Joseph, Gabriele Di Guilio, Brigitte Petronio, Karoline Mardeck, Lorraine De Selle and David A. Hess

Hell-o, violated visitors and welcome to the house of rape and revenge. The house where ruthless sadists reign and relentless vengeance awaits. The next house that David A. Hess’ inner demons called home. The twisted dominion of torture, depravity and insanity… House on the Edge of the Park.

This is what David Hess calls part three in the self proclaimed “trilogy.” One of three films films where he plays pretty much the same bastard, with a different name. Part one was Last House on the Left ( his name was Krug Stillo, the most popular of sinister bastards). Part two was Hitch- Hike (he was Adam Konitz. Different name, same bastard-like public enemy) … and here we have the third and final Installment, House on the Edge of the Park. In this film, the bastard played so convincingly well by Mr. Hess is named just simply Alex. The viewer doesn’t need a last name to know this dude is one f*cked up, sadistic and animal like psychopath. The fan of the genre knows that no one plays this character better in this time frame, other than Mr. David Alexander Hess, himself… Absolutely no one.

Mr. Hess is not really such a bad guy in all actuality. He has a wife, children, a recording and music writing history with Elvis Presley (among others, including a soothing and melodic voice to score his most viciously infamous on- screen persona, Krug Stillo)… and several other rolls outside of “the trilogy,” which he does not get off on causing the agonizing pain of others (Zodiac Killer, Driller Killer, Swamp Thing and even a spot on Knight Rider and The A-Team) . Anyways, enough about his good side, lets get back to the ruthless bastard that we all know and love to hate, the name of evil incarnate is Alex.

In this film, it is almost as if he was meant to be perceived as a vicious animal or beast of a man. He is even called “King Kong” by one of the “victims.” The name of the Director (Ruggero Deodato, of the Cannibal Holocaust and Jungle Holocaust fame) that is stamped to this film should be your second warning sign hanging on the front door… that if you’re looking for something brutal and unrelenting, you’ll f*cking love it, want to drop in for a visit… and stay for a while. If you’ll notice, Eli Roth took the concept for this classic cover art and regurgitated into his own (with a red tint and without the Grim Reaper effect) for his film Cabin Fever (along with the music from Last House on the Left, plus revamped versions of some songs, done by Hess’ sons).

The film is something we’ve generally seen before, but not executed in this sort of way. It’s your basic rape/revenge film with a twist. Dave Hess’ character, Alex is just as sadistic as the other two characters in this “trilogy,” but he has a soft spoken and hurtful side when it comes to his timid partner in crime, Ricky ( played by Giovanni Lombardo Radice of Cannibal Apocalypse, The Gates of Hell, Cannibal Ferox, Demons 3, Demons 4 and The Omen re-make). Ricky clearly looks up to Alex. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if Ricky enjoys what Alex is doing, or is just going along for the ride with no choice in the matter.

Not only does Alex abuse the members of the home with no remorse, but he starts in on his loving partner as well when he is feeling talked back to by him. He sees the sympathy that is growing inside of Ricky and does not want to have any part in it. He warns Ricky that he is being played as a fool by the guests of the get together in which they invited themselves to boogie. Another friend of the group later shows up and becomes the focal point of torture.

Keep in mind, here we have a film by Ruggero Deodato that stars David A. Hess. Yes, the Gore Score is going to inevitably going to be high. There is not too much graphic violence, such as heads flying or anything of the matter. The violence (although extreme) stays subtle and adds to the realism… Which I loved. There are a few brutal blows and fights. There is slicing of the flesh with Alex’s straight razor and there is a little bit of sexual assault and forced sexual assault (not counting the opening rape scene, which is the reason for the party in the first place… Figure that one out on your own).

The acting is well done for the most part. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a sadistic bastard played by David Hess, so you know that part is taken care of. The score is Italian disco-ish dance music with a soothing voice throughout the feature. The Special Features on the version that I own are interviews with those involved in the making of the film and an original theatrical trailer.

Overall, I highly recommend this film for anyone who is a fan of brutal, in your face cinema, the rape/revenge genre or course, the bastard that Wes Craven invited into our homes and hearts, Mr. David Alexander Hess. The cinematic human monster and musical virtuoso. If you can make for strong stomached company, the door is wide open for you. Come on in and getchya pull. I give this film, House on the Edge of the Park, FOUR (FLESH DESECRATING, RAZOR SHARP) HORNS UP.

House on the Edge of The Park (1980)

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