The House On The Edge Of The Park

The House On The Edge Of The Park

Static Mass Rating: 2/5

Release date: October 31st, 2011
Certificate (UK): 18
Running time: 76 minutes

Year of production: 1980

Director: Ruggero Deodato
Writers: Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino

Cast: David Hess, Annie Belle, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Lorraine de Selle, Christian Borromeno, Marie Claude Joseph

Italian director and writer Ruggero Deodato’s films are, to say the least, challenging. In 1979 he made one of the most controversial movies ever, Cannibal Holocaust, but he didn’t stop there.

After that gore fest, Deodato then went on to make The House On the Edge of the Park, a film that took the violence out of the jungle and brought it into a New York City home.

The House On The Edge Of The Park

Its main characters are serial rapist and killer Alex (David Hess) and his best friend Ricky (Giovanni Lombardo Radice). They work in a garage and just before closing up a young bourgeois couple, Tom (Cristian Borromeo) and Lisa (Annie Belle), pull in and ask for help with their car.

The pair then tag along with the couple who are on their way to a friends house for a party, but before leaving, Alex grabs a straight-edged razor from his locker to take with him.

Situated at the edge of a park, the large house is owned by Gloria (Lorraine de Selle) and she’s inside with her friends Glenda (Marie Claude Joseph) and Howard (Gabriele Di Giulio), but once the party gets started it’s clear that it’s not going to end well. At first they group begin to humiliate Ricky, first by encouraging him to do a striptease and then by watching him lose at a game of poker in which they’re all cheating.

The House On The Edge Of The Park

Alex becomes annoyed at seeing them take advantage of Ricky and violence soon ensues. Once he gets the razor out, the partygoers are subjected to rape, torture and thrashings but Ricky is more sympathetic and eventually wants to end the night.

The pair have an awkward dynamic and it’s not a stretch to say there is obvious sexual tension between them, but Deodato moves beyond this to tell something more here.

The House On The Edge Of The Park

The House On the Edge of the Park is less about repressed homosexual tendencies and more about the social divides that exist between the working class and upper class. It should have been a strong commentary in the same way that Cannibal Holocaust was a commentary on capitalism and corporate greed, but it drops the ball halfway through.

For a rape and revenge thriller that comes complete with scenes of excruciating torture The House On the Edge of the Park doesn’t quite match the calibre of other films with a similar theme like The Last House on the Left (1972) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978).


  • Interview with David Hess and Ruggero Deodato
  • Introduction by David Hess
  • Debate with Deodato
  • Radice and the UK Censors
  • David Hess on Censorship
  • Theatrical trailer

As the characters’ motivations are revealed there’s something that doesn’t really add up. It’s hard to understand how they could have all knowingly subjected themselves to these ordeals but it’s difficult to explain without giving the twist ending away for those who haven’t seen it yet.

With group dynamics coming into play it’s almost as if the script has too much to cope with and the film, despite a lot of potential, plunges embarrassingly into a ridiculous climax.

About Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.