Rabid Dogs/B+,C+


     As tight and compact a thriller as you can imagine from legendary Italian director Mario Bava. Bava's films have long had a cult following and Rabid Dogs is one that was rescued from oblivion. Made in 1974, the film was not quite completed when one of the financial partners was killed in an auto accident. The film was completed 1994 using Bava's note for the minor finishing touches.
     Bava set things up quickly. A trio of robbers stops a car and grabs a payroll while a brutal gun battle ensues. They escape in their car, but a police bullet penetrates the gas tank and they soon are out of gas. Cornered in a garage, they take a couple of women hostage and flee from the police. Realizing they need to switch cars to avoid detection, they stop  a man driving his sick child to the hospital and the hostage situation intensifies.
     Most of the action in Rabid Dogs takes place in the hi-jacked car and Bava's brilliant editing provides a dynamic tension and a engulfing sense of panic and claustrophobia. It's amazing that the film never seems static. The pace is heart pounding, the criminals disgusting and survival borders on impossible. Bava controls the mayhem and madness, and moves unpredictably through the escape route. Don't miss this rescued gem!    

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Murder and kidnapping Bava style.ŠLucertola

     The quality of the DVD is limited by the source material, which was  was evidently dicey and the producers have opted to do what appears to be extensive digital cleaning in the transfer. This results in a soft DVD with some overexposed passages. I must admit, as enthralled as I was by the film, I was grateful that it had been delivered in reasonable condition. The terrific score by Stelvio Cipriani is thinly recorded but very exciting. Essays are provided on the DVD recounting the history of the production and restoration.

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