Sitting comfortably? Well you certainly will not be after experiencing Deodato’s horror tale ‘The House On The Edge Of The Park.’ The name should set bells ringing with classic horror fans who will remember Deodato’s other big shocker ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, one of the most infamous and disturbing of the video nasty era. Ironically much of the trouble with that movie revolved around real scenes of nastiness against animals, which proved too much for some people, including Deodato himself who re-cut his original movie and instead of adding material to the Director’s Cut as is normal, he cut the scenes that he now found too much.
‘The House On The Edge Of The Park spent a number of years on the Banned list and when it was finally released in the last decade, it was missing an incredible 11 minutes and 48 seconds of material. The latest Shameless (excellent horror label attempting to bring back as many of the nasties as possible as well as new interviews and original trailers for these historical films) release still butted heads with the BBFC and even thirty years after its original release, there are still 42 seconds missing. This , it seems, is as uncut as we are likely to see it in this country.
It seems strange after all that to claim that the film is mostly a psychological horror. You’re not actually disturbed by what you are seeing but what you might see, your imagination is as much of an enemy as Alex, the main antagonist who along with his best friend Ricki head for a party full of rich folks who soon find themselves at the mercy of these two villains.
Alex is played by David A. Hess, which should give you an idea of how dark things are about to become – Hess of course gave one of the most chilling performances ever in ‘Last House On The Left’ and there is certainly a little Krug in Alex here and Hess once again does the switch of being ultra cool and suddenly as if a button is pressed, turns into a maniac worthy of Satan himself. He is also electric and it’s tough to take your eyes off him, even when he is slicing down a face with a straight razor or lasciviously watching a party guest in the shower.
Of course, you know that the story is not going to end nicely but to get the full impact it is probably best to go in as blind as possible and thus the thrilling climax and specific horrors will not be discussed here, let’s just say there are a lot of set pieces throughout, where you are not sure who will survive. Deodato created a masterpiece of horror, that also makes you feel like taking a shower immediately after watching it. Is that a recommendation? In a very strange way, it is. ‘The House On The Edge Of The Park’ is up with ‘Last House On The Left’ and ‘Hostel’ in the list of movies you’ll love but simultaneously never want to see again. Until the next time. It’s brilliant.