HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK (1980) Reviews and 88 Films 4K + Blu-ray release

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House on the Edge of the Park, Ruggero Deodato’s notorious former video nasty, has been issued uncut on 4K Ultra-HD + Blu-ray by British-based company 88 Films as a limited edition. The release includes an audio commentary by MOVIES and MANIA owner/editor Adrian J Smith and David Flint (The Reprobate). Other details:

Limited Edition Slipcase with artwork by Graham Humphreys
A3 fold-out poster with artwork by Graham Humphreys and Original Italian Poster Artwork
Booklet notes with new writing on the film by Sean Hogan
2 Disc Set

Brand new 4K Remaster from the Original Negatives presented in High Definition (2160p) in 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Dolby Vision Grade (HDR10+ Compatible)
LPCM 2.0 English Mono
LPCM 2.0 Italian Mono with newly translated English Subtitles
Audio Commentary with Zoe Smith and Rebecca McCallum
Original Trailer
Blu-ray contents

Brand new 4K Remaster from the Original Negatives presented in High Definition (1080p) in 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
LPCM 2.0 English Mono
LPCM 2.0 Italian Mono with newly translated English Subtitles
Audio Commentary with Zoe Smith and Rebecca McCallum
On the Edge – An Interview with the late Ruggero Deodato
A True Professional – An Interview with Sergio D’Offizi
Geleng’s Park – An Interview with Massimo Antonello Geleng
The Last House on the Edge of the Park – An Interview with Ruggero Deodato and Giovanni Lombardo Radice
Geleng’s House of Horrors
Original Trailer
Reversible sleeve with newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys and original Italian poster

Meanwhile, here’s our previous coverage of this classic video nasty era slice of Italian exploitation cinema:


House on the Edge of the Park is a 1980 Italian thriller film directed by Ruggero Deodato (Ballad in Blood; The Washing Machine; Phantom of Death; Cannibal Holocaust; Last Cannibal World) from a screenplay written by Gianfranco Clerici (Phantom of Death; The New York Ripper; The Antichrist; Don’t Torture a Duckling) and Vincenzo Mannino (Monster Shark; The New York Ripper; Argoman the Fantastic Superman).

The movie stars David HessGiovanni Lombardo Radice, Annie Belle, Christian Borromeo, Marie Claude Joseph, Gabriele Di Giulio, Brigitte Petronio, Karoline Mardeck and Lorraine De Selle.

The soundtrack features an eclectic musical score by Riz Ortolani which features a ballad ‘Sweetly’ as the main theme, plus disco and funk tracks.

Degenerate New York mechanic, Alex (David Hess, to some extent reprising the role he played as Krug in The Last House on the Left) spends his downtime prowling the streets abducting and assaulting, sometimes murdering the local women.

A typical day sees Alex and his workmate, the slow-on-the-uptake Ricky (Giovanni Lombardo Radice), closing the garage for the night, only for a car containing socially mobile yuppie types Tom (Christian Borromeo, Tenebrae, Murder-Rock) and his girlfriend Lisa (Annie Belle, Absurd) who need some urgent repairs on the Cadillac. Ricky agrees to help and in no time the job is done – as a way of thanking them for their time, Tom invites them to a party at their friend’s large villa, situated, yes, next to a park. Pausing only for Alex to equip himself with a straight razor, they set off for a night of high jinx.

Upon arrival, it’s clear that the social and financial divide between the two groups of partygoers is some cause of amusement, at Alex and Ricky’s expense. Ricky is coerced into cinema’s greatest dance sequence and later a game of poker, with some extremely naughty cheating going on.

As Alex’s anger continues to rise, he is lured by Lisa who leads him to the shower, only for her to reject him. His rage is unleashed on another of the guests, Howard (Gabriele Di Giulio), who is given a severe beating, then tied to a table leg as Alex announces that he’s running the show now.

Despite being outnumbered, Alex and Ricky subject the group to a relentless torrent of attacks, Alex slashing Tom with his razor and Ricky becoming involved with Gloria (Lorraine De Selle from Cannibal Ferox and Wild Beasts) who finds it easy to distract him with an enticing dance.


Meanwhile, Alex is running rampage, with next-door neighbour, Cindy (Brigitte Petronio) cut to ribbons and the rest of the household lining up to be next. Ricky finally snaps and begs him to stop, only to be disembowelled for his troubles. The worm turns when, rather belatedly, Tom remembers there’s a gun hidden in a desk drawer…

Sporting a title that revels in the greatest obsession of scuzzy filmmakers, houses and the environs thereof, House on the Edge of the Park is regularly compared to The Last House on the Left, primarily because Hess plays a similarly unhinged killer. Hess was singled out for the role because of his portrayal of Krug and was allegedly lured to the part by the promise of half the film’s rights.

However, the tragedy and dynamics of the earlier film are shifted considerably by Deodato’s effort, with the rich party hosts being morally dubious and the whole household frankly needing a stern talking to.

The infamous director came straight from filming Cannibal Holocaust and was in no mood to lighten things up, employing hard-nosed writers Gianfranco Clerici and Vincenzo Mannino to sketch out the sense-light/violence-heavy screenplay – and their track record for demented cinema was admirable, with a host of grim shockers under their belt, from Don’t Torture a Duckling to Last Cannibal World leading to, in 1982, the misogynistic yet mesmerisingly mean The New York Ripper. Despite admitting that he thought the script was ‘too violent’, Deodato went ahead and filmed it anyway, omitting only one ‘bridge too far’ scene.


The savage make-up effects by Raul Ranieri, who also worked with Deodato and Hess on Hitch-Hike and on Umberto Lenzi’s Eaten Alive! coupled with an unremitting sordid tone landed the film in hot water in the UK, being rejected for a cinema certificate in March of 1981 and after sneaking out on VHS finding itself on the now-notorious video nasties ‘banned list’.

When it was resubmitted in 2002, it was, ironically, savagely cut by over 11 minutes. The most recent British version was still trimmed by 42 seconds of razor mayhem some 33 years on from its initial release.

Though regularly flagged up as an example of films that are morally bankrupt and can only serve to corrupt the mind, House on the Edge of the Park is unfailingly enjoyable, primarily because of the energetic and all-or-nothing performances of Hess and Radice. Their victims are almost a roll call of Italian trash cinema faces whose names may escape you but are part of the firmament of ’70s and ’80s grub-core.

The disco dancing scene, whether intentionally or not, is a riot and the fact that all the characters represent many of the worst elements of society simply adds to the rather cartoon quality of the film, something of an uber-violent pantomime.

Though Riz Ortolani‘s score is nowhere near as accomplished as that of his masterpiece for Cannibal Holocaust, it is nevertheless similarly inappropriate, raising the question of whether he ever understood the kind of films he was scoring for. Or cared?

House on the Edge of the Park (1980)

Before the untimely death of David Hess in October 2011, plans were apparently underway to revisit the film with a sequel, with both Radice and Hess appearing in some capacity, and Deodato again slated to direct.
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

Other reviews:
“The script relies on a high amount of contrivance (including a questionable final twist) but does an effective job of manipulating the audience’s sympathy towards its characters. Finally, Deodato handles the proceedings with flair, using the sparse musical score to ironic effect and maintaining a steady level of tension throughout […] those who can withstand its cruel style will find it a stylish, effective exercise in the Grand Guignol.” AllMovie


Blu-ray release:
House on the Edge of the Park was released on Blu-ray by Severin Films on March 29th 2022. The film has been newly restored in 4K from the uncut original negative.

The three-disc set includes a CD soundtrack composed by Riz Ortolani (Cannibal Holocaust) and over three hours of new special features, including the feature-length documentary Deodato Holocaust.


Disc 1 special features:
Audio commentary by film historians Bruce Holecheck and Art Ettinger
Interview with director Ruggero Deodato
Interview with cinematographer Sergio D’Offizi
Interview with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice
Interview with actor David Hess
Interview with set designer Antonello Geleng
Poster and lobby card gallery

Disc 2 special features:
Deodato Holocaust – 2019 feature-length documentary by Felipe M. Guerra exploring director Ruggero Deodato’s life and career
Deleted scenes

CD soundtrack composed by Riz Ortolani
Reversible artwork and a slipcover


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Original title:
La casa sperduta nel parco

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