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House on the Edge of the Park (1980)

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  • House on the Edge of the Park (1980)

    No need for a synopsis as there's one above on the back of the VHS scan.

    After re-watching The Last House on the Left, I decided to check this out since I've had the BD in my pile to watch for a few months now. I've never seen it before, but I am quite familiar with its trailer that seemed to appear on all the Shriek Show and Media Blaster DVDs back in the mid-2000s. Honestly, this wasn't nearly as "rough" as I thought it would be. Hess doesn't give off nearly as much of a dangerous vibe. That does sound silly to say, but in Last House, you can never tell what he's going to do or what was lurking inside of his head. He had a quiet rage about him. Here, he's explosive in every single scene and comes off more as a brutish, and pudgier, thug in comparison.

    I have to mention the "twist" at the end so watch out for spoilers. SPOILERIt's hilarious and feels tossed in at the same time. The yuppie group planned the entire evening's events. I'm sure they didn't count on Hess having help from his rather useless buddy or that Hess would be armed [I]or [/I]that he would get the upper hand on them for most of the evening. Still, this ranks near the top of one of the dumbest revenge plans I've seen. Not only did all of them suffer to some degree, but poor Cindy will be traumatized for life.

    The theme of this is similar to Last House by showing how the bad guys have humanity in them (Hess's friend) while the good guys can be just as depraved (all of them except Cindy), but it's done in a way that feels as if only it would make sense in a European sort of mentality. Does this film adhere to the description "Euro trash"? I used to see that tossed around all the time in the early and mid-2000s. It does have a conflict between upper class and working class, which was interesting. Hess (or Alex as he's called) mentions that to make a living, he has to turn to a life of crime by stealing cars. The theme isn't really explored past this. Is he right to do so? Does that explain his bestial behavior? Is the yuppie revenge tied into their well-being in that it's more of protection of their social status than it is personal? Perhaps not for the brother of the woman raped at the beginning (I think that was Hess's wife), but his friends don't have that sort of stake in the event. Plus, they all look so damn smug. Maybe the movie did it's job as I didn't find myself rooting for anyone. Alex / Hess was scum, but the yuppie's used him and friend for their own amusement because they believed they were better. In the end, it feels....unsatisfying. Yet the movie sticks in my mind as think about its social argument and shortcomings.

    Any thoughts on this movie?
    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

  • #2
    I really liked this when I was a teenager, but it doesn't hold up for me at all. I could say the same for pretty much any Deodato film really. The last time I watched it I just found the whole thing silly and kind of dull. Alex is such a caricature that he never feels menacing. Great Euro-disco soundtrack though...

    Random trivia note: Hess actually performed the "Cindy Oh Cindy" song he sings in this film way back on his late 50's "David Hill" album, which I guess was his bid at teen idol stardom or something. It's not a good record at all, but it's totally worth owning for the preposterous cover photo of him wearing a turtleneck sweater. You can't unsee this:


    • #3
      Caricature! That's a perfect description. He's always at a 10 and never comes down. It is wrong that I'd like to see an alternate movie where he goes out to "boogie" instead? Next up in my David Hess triple run is Hitch Hike.

      Oh. Oh, no. No no no no. Why did I click that link?! >_<
      People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


      • #4
        My first thought is HELL YES I'd be up for the Alex boogie movie, but then, I kind of think it would mostly turn out the same albeit in a different location with different people. I'm guessing Alex basically lived the same night every night, given his reaction to getting invited to a party was to run and grab a straight razor. So you have to imagine within 10 minutes of arriving at the disco he would have already held the whole place hostage and started checking for virgins.


        • #5
          I'd like to see Alex try to hold an entire club hostage. I can imagine the panic he would be in trying to torture someone (or just yell at them) while trying to keep an eye on the rest of the crowd.

          Speaking of that straight razor, how strange is it that he chose it over the knife in the locker? Was he just feeling adventurous that night and thought "fuck it, I'm going to change it up"?
          People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


          • #6
            As if having David Hess was not enough, you get Giovanni Lombardo Radice as well! That guy is just type cast as a mental defected weird-o in every film he was in during the early 80's.