La casa sperduta nel parco
Although Italian director Ruggero Deodato has directed over twenty films in a career spanning four decades, his reputation almost entirely rests on two films that emerged in 1980. Both Cannibal Holocaust and House on the Edge of the Park introduced audiences to a brand of cinematic sadism the like of which was (and still is) exceedingly rare. There had been hints of course in Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (1976) and more specifically Jungle Holocaust aka Last Cannibal World (1977), but little could prepare audiences for the diabolical double that heralded in the 1980’s. Some filmmakers pride themselves on stylistic audacity, or perhaps a visionary and artistic attitude to persistent thematic preoccupations, or maybe even the articulation of social or political allegories. In the most famous films by the dim witted Deodato he seems more concerned with either repulsing his audience, or boring them to death. Cannibal Holocaust provides the former, House on the Edge of the Park the latter. Cannibal Holocaust is at least an important film, one that generated heated debate over questions of realism, censorship, and exploitation. A deceptively well made and well written picture that critiqued film itself as a means of representation. House on the Edge of the Park however is a mindless and emotionally hollow exercise in cinematic cruelty. The question of how Deodato could descend from the nightmarish brilliance of Cannibal Holocaust to the tedium and stupidity of House on the Edge of the Park in such a short space of time remains a mystery.
© Shaun Anderson 2011