Video Nasty: House on the Edge of the Park

House on the edge of the park cover
@TigersMS78 takes a look back at the notorious The House On The Edge Of The Park… Are we gonna Boogie, tonight? Much is made of the pointless disco lingo in this Italian production set in New York city, except to say that – it’s the 70s and Disco is big!
We start the film knowing that Alex (David Hess) is a bad, bad man as he rapes and kills a girl within the first five minutes of the film. The film then cuts to sometime after that event and to Alex’s mechanic shop where he and his dim witted, possibly mentally challenged friend Ricky (Giovanni Lombardo Radice), do a rather chance encounter, they end up getting invited/invite themselves to a get together with some upper-class snobs. Once they get to the house, these ‘rich folk’ make fun of Ricky and the girls sexually tease Alex…this is obviously not the thing to do to a rapist and killer. From there Alex’s true nature emerges as he puts the group through their paces. The film is essentially an invited home invasion film, with an attempt at social commentary thrown in. Being a Ruggero Deodato film you do expect the social commentary but unlike Cannibal Holocaust, it doesn’t really work here. David Hess (Alex) basically reprises his role from The Last House on the Left, which whilst he brings nothing new to this film, he does bring an intensity with him that is very unnerving. Giovanni Lombardo Radice (Ricky) seems like he is playing Ricky either super simple or super gay or a bit of both. Alex and Ricky’s relationship seems very much like hero worship for Ricky and satisfies Alex’s need to dominate. There many strange scenes in the film. When Alex rapes one of the girls, the scene is shot like a softcore porno – not really conveying the hideous act being played out in front the camera, which possibly makes it more repellent. The film either by design or accident doesn’t seem to say anything about the violence whilst its happening, preferring to allude to it all near the end of the film. Up until the last 10 mins I was struggling to understand why this film was ever banned, sure it was unpleasant but there was nothing that would lead it to getting banned but then it happened. However, when one the groups friends just happens to come by, she is accosted by Alex and forced to strip. Alex then repeatedly slashes the girl with a cutthroat razor all over her body and I would say that it was this scene alone that lead it to being banned. A truly horrific scene and well-acted as the girl’s screams are about as chilling as you’ll find in an exploitation flick or any film for that matter. There is a lot to like about The House on the Edge of the Park and equally a lot that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, that is including the twist ending which is preposterous beyond all recognition but since we have just watched what came before it, it is allowed to pass with more than a mere shrugging of the shoulders. Ryan Morrissey-Smith Follow @TigersMS78 on Twitter

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