The House on the Edge of the Park

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The House on the Edge of the Park
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ruggero Deodato
Produced by
  • Franco Di Nunzio
  • Franco Palaggi
Written by
Music by Riz Ortolani
Cinematography Sergio D'Offizi
Edited by Vincenzo Tomassi
F.D. Cinematografica
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • 5 November 1980 (1980-11-05) (Italy)
  • 22 February 1985 (1985-02-22) (US)
Running time
91 minutes
Country Italy
Language English

The House on the Edge of the Park (Italian: La casa sperduta nel parco) is a 1980 English-language Italian exploitation thriller film written by Gianfranco Clerici and Vincenzo Mannino, and directed by Ruggero Deodato. It stars David A. Hess (from Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left, playing a similar character), and Giovanni Lombardo Radice.[1]


Alex is a serial-killer driving around New York City at night when he spots a young woman, Susan, driving alongside him. He follows her to a nearby park where he rapes her before strangling her to death. He takes her locket as a trophy to another one of his many killings.

Some time later, Alex and his friend Ricky are closing up the underground garage where they both work, planning to go to a local disco. Before they can leave, a Cadillac pulls in with a young, well-dressed couple (Tom and his girlfriend Lisa) asking for help with their car. Alex refuses to help them, saying that the garage is closed, but the slow-witted Ricky decides to help and easily fixes the problem. Tom tells Alex and Ricky that they are driving to a friend's house in New Jersey for a party, and invites them along. Before leaving, Alex stops by his locker, which is filled with various weapons he uses to murder people, and takes a straight-edged razor.

The four arrive at a large villa where they are welcomed by the owner Gloria and her friends Glenda and Howard. Minutes later it becomes obvious that the rich people - like Alex and Ricky - are looking for easy thrills. Gloria asks Ricky to do a striptease to some disco music and he makes a fool of himself, and is further humiliated by being goaded to drink alcohol with each move. However, Alex stops Ricky before he strips completely naked. Tom, Howard and Glenda next play poker with Ricky, while Lisa begins sexually teasing Alex and invites him upstairs to shower with her, only to push him away. As Alex grows more frustrated, he sees that the hosts are cheating at poker with Ricky. Alex pulls out the straight-edge razor, and a fight breaks out between him and Howard. Alex throws Howard outside the back door, beats him viciously, and throws him into the pool. Laughing, Alex urinates on Howard and drags him back inside, tying him to a piano leg and proclaiming that he is running the party now.

Alex and Ricky proceed to beat on their hosts-turned-hostages with Alex slashing Tom's face with the razor and beating his face into the poker table. Ricky holds the others at bay with a wine bottle while Alex sexually assaults both Gloria and Glenda. Lisa runs to an upstairs bedroom where she tries to escape, but Alex catches her and proceeds to rape her. When Alex takes Lisa downstairs to rejoin the others, the doorbell rings. Alex forces Gloria to answer; when she opens the door, it's their teenage neighbor, Cindy. Alex grabs Cindy, while Gloria tries to escape. Ricky, still holding the broken wine bottle, runs outside after Gloria and catches her, showing Gloria that he means her no harm by tossing aside the wine bottle. Gloria responds to his simple nature by taking off her clothes and seducing him.

Inside, Alex cuts Cindy's blouse off with the razor while singing. Ricky then returns to the house with Gloria just as Alex forces Cindy to strip off the rest of her clothes, and proceeds to savagely slash her with his razor over and over again. At this point, Ricky comes to a realization and attempts to stop Alex. Upset at being betrayed by his friend, Alex turns against Ricky and slashes his abdomen wide open, and then breaks down in regret.

Bloodied and battered, Tom runs into the nearby study and pulls out a 9mm pistol out from a desk drawer. Tom shoots Alex a few times, then kicks him through the glass back door. Gloria and the other women untie Howard, and the five descend upon the fatally wounded Alex lying on the ground. Tom removes the locket Alex is wearing and reveals the reason for all this: the woman that Alex raped and murdered at the park is Tom's sister and Tom wanted revenge. He and Lisa wanted to lure them to Gloria's house so they could kill them and make it look like self-defense. After shouting at him, Tom shoots the wounded Alex in the groin, making him fall into the swimming pool. Tom and Lisa take turns shooting Alex, who thrashes weakly in the water, before a final bullet to the head by Howard finishes him for good.

Returning to the house, Gloria stops Howard from shooting Ricky, while Glenda tends to the wounded Cindy. Tom and Lisa go into the study where they talk about their plan. Tom says that despite some mistakes, that it worked out for the best, and then picks up the phone to call the police.



The entire film was shot in only three weeks in September 1979, under a very limited budget. The majority of the filming was done in New York City, while some shots were completed at Incir De Paolis Studios in Rome, Italy


The House on the Edge of the Park was initially rejected for a UK cinema certificate by the BBFC when first submitted on 16 March 1981,[2] and later found itself on the DPP list of "video nasties" when it was revealed that the uncut version was readily available on UK video. When it was eventually passed by the BBFC in July 2002, it was cut by 11 minutes and 43 seconds, with almost all of the rape and violence either replaced or removed entirely. It was resubmitted in 2011 and received an almost uncut release, now only being cut by 42 seconds.

The USA Media Blasters release is completely uncut at 91 minutes.[3]

Once during an interview about the making of the film, Deodato was asked about his initial thoughts of the script when he first read it. He responded: "I thought it was too violent. I make violent films, but softer ones. But this film was full of violence, and that made me uncomfortable. When I met David Hess, I thought that with my direction I could make him do anything. But when I first read it, I found it quite disturbing."[citation needed]

In 2006, the BBFC commissioned a group of academics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth to conduct research into people's responses to films that include scenes of sexual violence. The House on the Edge of the Park is one of the films included in their remit to examine.[citation needed]


On 27 February 2011, the Dread Central movie website exclusively reported that UK production company North Bank Entertainment were teaming up with director Deodato and actor Radice for The House on the Edge of the Park Part II, a direct sequel to the original film.[citation needed]

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