Monday, April 1, 2013

Rabid Dogs

Rabid Dogs (Kidnapped) Directed By Mario Bava. Starring George Eastman (1974).
   This has got to be the meanest, most sadistic Mario Bava has ever gotten outside of a horror film. He never got to finish it originally and his son Lamberto Bava(Demons) took over, because the investor died in a car accident and the film wasn't released until a few years ago! That's the reason there are two version of Rabid Dogs (which most Bava fans, me included prefer). Kidnapped, which is the version currently streaming has alot of filler and a mystery women on the phone, who also shows up at the end tacking on another story and filling in some blanks. We really don't need this portion, but to stay true to his father's vision, Lamberto used notes from the original cut.
    Two robbers in clown masks rob and stab people with knives and machine guns. One of the criminals is a totally unhinged George Eastman (Luigi Fontefiori). One stupid character named Blade (Don Backy) gets pinned to a corner and in a desperate move, stabs a woman in the throat in a parking garage with a switchblade, raising their bounty from petty criminals to vicious killers. They highjack a seemingly innocent family man with a wife and sleeping kid in the back. The manner in which the killers happily torture, children and women reminds me of Tony Mustante and Martin Sheen in one of my favorite criminally underrated films The Incident.

   Their child needs to get to a hospital, which creates a mood in Rabid Dogs that's edgy and intense, brilliantly set in a tiny cramped vehicle.They are driving around at gunpoint with no air conditioning and their child will most likely die if he doesn't get medical attention. Blade (Don Becky) seems the most reluctant criminal of the crew and 32 (George Eastman) is blissfully psychotic and a major league pervert. The front seat criminal (played by Maurice Poli) seems the most rational or unusually calm.        
Calm and Rational aye?
    There are police and helicopters tailing their every move, In The Kidnapped version, but it seems that no one can help. The woman played by Lea Lander, tries to escape to get help, once they pull over. Instead as punishment for running away, she is beaten and forced at knifepoint to urinate in front of the perverted maniacs, they giggle like retarded children and get turned on by it! They incessantly humiliate the woman (who they call Greta Garbo) in the car. Blade gets sad and erratic once his friend 32 is shot by the front seat criminal. The ending is extremely nihilistic and once you've seen the surprise, it doesn't take anything away from repeated viewings of Rabid Dogs, a very influential film.       
   The score in this Netflix version is not as good as the original Stelvio Cipriani, with its driving harpsichord beat. I'm not sure why they used this musak sounding tripe for the restored film.
Piss Your Pants
  The spear going through two people having sex scene in Friday The 13th 2 was blatantly stolen from Bava (for Bay Of Blood reviewed here). This time, Bava used the "Piss Your Pants" scene from Last House On The Left (1972) and copies it for Rabid Dogs, which is fine by me, exploitation is a free for all operation! There are various versions of the film with a different score, opening scenes and closing scenes. I must favor the Rabid Dogs cut and the film is one of Bava's and George Eastman's best efforts. Highly Recommended! 
Crucial missing scene excised from Kidnapped


  1. HBA Welcome Wagon...

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