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Cani Arrabbiati

Rabid Dogs
Kidnapped / Wild Dogs / Semaforo Rosso

Italy 1974
produced by
Spera Cinematografica, International Media Films
directed by Mario Bava
starring Riccardo Cucciolla, Lea Lander, Maurice Poli, George Eastman (= Luigi Montefiori), Aldo Caponi (= Don Backy), Erika Dario, Maria Fabbri, Luigi Antonio Guerra, Francesco Ferrini, Emilio Bonucci, Pino Manzari, Ettore Manni
written by Cesare Frugoni, Alessandro Parenzo, music by Stelvio Cipriani

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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4 gangsters hold up a money courier & relieve him of his money, but things get messy & they have to shoot their way out, & one of them is even killed ... the other 3 though take Maria (Lea Lander) , a woman just passing by, their hostage & soon force their way into Riccardo's (Riccardo Cucciolla) car, who begs them to let him go as he has to take his little son, who's under heavy sedation, to the hospital ... not that the gangsters could care any less.

Soon though tensions arise, not only between the gangsters & their hostages but also between the 3 robbers themselves, since one  - the Doctor (Maurice Poli) - is their intellectual mastermind, one - 32 (George Eastman) - is a retarded rapist & one - Pisturi (Aldo Caponi) - is a psychopathic killer who doesn't mind to knife someone down every now & again.

Eventually, during a pee-break, Maria tries to make an escape through a cornfield to a farmhouse, only to find it abandoned, & to be recaptured by 32 & Pisturi, who, to humiliate her, then force her to pee standing up in front of them.

Of course all of this doesn't make the situation necessarily better, & eventually, 32 is so geared up & fed up, that he rapes Maria in the car, in front of the others, when stuck in a traffic jam (not that any of the other drivers on the road would care much). Only when they drive through a tunnle does the Doctor shoot 32, to calm the situation (which is a rather awkward interpretation of calming the situation), & to obscure the fact that they are riding with a dead body, he simply puts a blanket over his body. 

Soon enough a jabbering hitchhiker forces her way into their car, & she doesn't realize that anything is wrong with the people in the car ... until 32's blanket does come off. She is shocked to see the dead man, but not for long, as Pisturi soon plunges his knife into her.

Soon the Doctor decides to dump the 2 dead bodies, but that really gets to Pistoni, as 32 isn't quite dead yet, & Pistoni himself has to shoot him just to make sure ...

Finally the gangsters reach their destination & prepare to shoot their hostages ... when all of a sudden the all too calm Riccardo pulls a gun from underneath his son's blanket & shoots the Doctor & Pistoni, & Maria accidently catches a bullet when Pistoni wants to shoot back ...

Then Riccardo takes his son, the gangsters' money, & the car the gangsters have had waitning for them to make good their own escape ... & he drives to the next public phone, & calls who turns out to be the real father of his son, trying to extort quite a sum of money out of him for the boy's release ...

 

Not quite the masterpiece everyone has made this film to be simply based on the fact that it was thought lost for decades, Cani Arrabbiati is still a tense thriller about five people in a stress situation confined (by necessity) to a very small space. It's not the visual feast director Bava has usually made his horror films to be - which is just as well, as it wouldn't have worked for this kind of film anyways -, Bava has employed here a more down-to-earth directorial style ... which at times seems quite a bit impersonal, even boring though.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD