Movie Suggestion XVII – Rabid Dogs
Original Title: Cani Arrabbiati
Country: Italy – 1974
Genre: Thriller, Crime, Suspense.
Directed by Mario Bava
A real punch in your stomach from one of the most claustrophobic movies ever… I don’t remember if I recommended this movie back when I recorded the suggestions, hehe. Sorry if I did, but this movie is truly a must watch. Cani Arrabiati shows that you don’t need a lot of money to make an interesting movie.
“Following a bungled robbery, three violent criminals take a young woman, a middle-aged man, and a child hostage and force them to drive them outside Rome to help them make a clean getaway”. (www.imdb.com)
“An unreleased suspense thriller from Italy’s master of horror and fantasy, Mario Bava, Rabid Dogs makes its belated debut in this special DVD release. When a bank robbery goes awry for a pair of violent criminals, they take an innocent woman hostage, who must fight for her survival. Shot mostly inside a speeding car, this tense and claustrophobic drama was filmed in 1974 (five years before Bava’s death), but shortly before completion the death of one of the principal financiers threw the project into limbo. In 1998, the film’s elements were rediscovered and editing was completed using Bava’s notes as a guide; the result is a film that takes a decidedly modern detour from Bava’s traditional Gothic subject matter and gives a much broader perspective on the range of his talents. A few years later, the film was reworked and retitled Kidnapped for a brief theatrical run in the U.S. That version of the film would later be released on DVD by Anchor Bay, with the original, Rabid Dogs cut included as supplimental material. Curiously enough, the version of Rabid Dogs featured on the Kidnapped disc still differs from the version of the film previously released by Lucertol”. (Mark Deming, Rovi – www.rottentomatoes.com)
“The film itself revs up with an explosive start: a gang of criminals roars into the scene, kills a few people, and steals a bagful of payroll money. During their escape, the cops kill the driver and shoot a hole in the gas tank. On foot, one of the baddies shoots a woman shopper and kidnaps her friend. The three men and their hostage then grab the nearest available transport, driven by a cool-headed, middle-aged man transporting a sick young boy. Like a disturbed stage play, the bulk of the film takes place in the car among this small band of people, playing psychological games with one another, each trying to up the stakes. The film has been compared to Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left (1972) for its psychological violence toward the woman and the child, but these elements are fairly minor in the film’s grand scheme (it’s more of a threat than actual violence); not to mention that it was the film’s lead actress, Lea Lander, who fought to rescue the film from limbo. I wouldn’t even consider it a horror film; it’s more like a Grindhouse-era crime film that reminded me many times of Quentin Tarantino. Rabid Dogs is definitely one of Bava’s more pessimistic films, but it shows just how far the master was capable of stretching into a more realistic, less expressionistic palate”. (http://www.combustiblecelluloid.com)April 12, 2014