Madness / Vacanze per un massacro (1980)

3.0 out of 5

After what must be the easiest prison break in history, an obviously stoned Joe Dallesandro is on the loose in Italy’s picturesque Abruzzo region and making a bee-line for the holiday cottage where he five years earlier stashed a substantial amount of ill-gotten loot.

Finding it occupied by Gianni Macchia, his wife Patricia Behn and her sister Lorraine De Selle, of the not completely dissimilar House at the Edge of the Park, the fugitive at first spies on the trio, discovering that Macchia is indulging in a bit of the old extra-marital with his sister-in-law and using this knowledge to divide and conquer when the inevitable home invasion scenario beds in.

The glory days of director Fernando Di Leo’s ‘Milieu Trilogy’ seem a long way away from this extremely sleazy, low rent variation on The Desperate Hours - a fact the viewer is constantly reminded of thanks to the recycling of Bacalov and Osanna’s two sublime main themes from Milano Calibro 9 throughout the film.

That said, Di Leo does an admirable job with the obviously meagre resources at hand. Whilst many will, perhaps quite rightly, find the film rather objectionable it can’t be denied that it exerts a powerful grip on the viewer right until to the inevitable charnel house climax.

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