Directed by: Mario Bava, Lamberto Bava
Actors: Lea Lander, George Eastman and Riccardo Cucciolla
Language: Italian | Subtitles: English
Also known as: Cani arrabbiati; Kidnapped; Les chiens enragés; Semáforo rojo; Semaforo rosso
Description: Following a bungled robbery, three violent criminals take a young woman, a middle-aged man, and a child hostage and force them to drive them outside Rome to help them make a clean getaway.
A masterwork of violence, irony and vulgarity… The master of Italian Horror, Mario Bava, makes a heist film that is equal parts violent, ironic and vulgar, most of which takes place in the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small car. Three robbers shot their way out of a police blockade by taking a woman hostage. They soon hijack a small automobile with a man and a sick child. Tension builds as power plays amid the crooks and escape attempts by the hostages lead to a violent conclusion which is both unexpected and ironic. Ranks with Dog Day Afternoon and Reservoir Dogs as a unique and disturbing heist film, with several scenes designed to make you squirm. A must for fans of both Bava and the genre.
Cani Arrabiati/Rabid Dogs is a terrific crime drama from the usually horror film-minded Mario Bava. This movie shows why he has been admired by directors around the world for many before and after his death. It is well done because of it’s closed atmosphere that entrap the main characters of the story. Rabid Dogs gives an indication that he could succeed outside the horror genre. It’s different from his other films because he goes for realism instead of fanstasy.
A couple of things it does have in common with some of his other feature films is it deals with the themes of human nature, greed, and the sheding of the skin to reveal the true self of the person. This film is more closer to Dog Day Afternoon(1974), then Last House on the Left (1972) when it comes to story. Until recently, this film was lost to the public due to be unfinished for over twentie years. Rabid Dogs could be consider a companion piece to his film Bay of Blood (the first slasher flick) in that they share some of the same themes and philosophies. It would be one of the last films Mario Bava would direct (the next two would be Shock (1977), and a made for TV movie) before his death at age 66 in 1980.