Rabid Dogs / Cani arrabbiati (1974)

5.0 out of 5

Fans of Italian genre cinema owe an incredible debt of gratitude to star Lea Lander. By sheer persistence it was her initiative that resulted in the release of this lost Mario Bava classic. Held by the courts, had it not been for the efforts of Lea then the film may never have seen the release this incredible movie deserved.

Rabid Dogs begins as a heist movie but ultimately is the story of a kidnapping as three desperate villains; the cool headed Riccardo (Riccardo Cucciolla), the ultimately cowardly Bisturi (Don Backy) and the impulsive and imbecilic Trentadue portrayed by the always excellent Luigi Montefiori aka George Eastman take a woman, a child and an innocent man hostage.

Not unlike the later Autostop rosso sangue aka Hitch Hike the almost total in car setting of the feature makes for an oppressive, menacing and claustrophobic house invasion style experience with the unrelenting Stelvio Cipriani score weighing ominously in the background.

Like the aforementioned Hitch Hike this is very much an actors movie and even here Rabid Dogs excels as the performances are, without exception, sublime. Rabid Dogs is the perfect introduction to Eurocrime and wholeheartedly recommended without reservation.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics