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Mario Bava's Rabid Dogs on dual format in October

21 October 2014

Arrow Video has announced the UK Blu-ray and DVD release of Mario Bava’s Rabid Dogs. This new deluxe release will include both Rabid Dogs, Bava’s original version posthumously completed from his notes and Kidnapped, the re-edited, re-dubbed and re-scored version, supervised by Bava’s son and assistant director Lamberto Bava, and producer Alfredo Leone.

Mario Bava’s reputation as a filmmaker rests chiefly on his contribution to horror, particularly his baroque and beautiful Gothic chillers of the 1960s. All the more surprising that in the mid-1970s he should turn to the crime genre and create Cani arrabbiati (aka Rabid Dogs), an abrasive kidnap psychodrama that ranks alongside anything done by the better-known ‘tough guy’ directors of the day.

Rabid Dogs begins as $70,000 of wages are being transferred when the Ajaccio gang hit. With a hail of bullets in a quick raid they speed off in their waiting getaway car. Tough, violent and realistic, Bava’s film ramps up the tension and doesn’t stop as hostages are added and the film builds to its dizzying finale.

Rabid Dogs ought to have been a fresh start for Mario Bava. The confidence, the inescapable tension, the cynical buzz of the action and dialogue, all reveal a director who was ready to face new challenges. Sadly, as others have described elsewhere in more detail, the film was abandoned after shooting was almost complete: producer Roberto Loyola went bankrupt, owing to poor business practices on his other projects, and the existing footage was impounded. Bava, who died in 1980, went to the grave with the notion that Rabid Dogs was a failed project, a road to nowhere, a film no one would ever see. Fortunately, we now have this fresh, powerful and nerve-shredding film to admire on Blu-ray, which should help ensure that its good reputation will continue to grow as new generations are exposed to this most vivid and contemporary of Bava’s great works.

Unfolding in real time, a rare device seen only in earlier films such as High Noon and 12 Angry Men yet totally unheard of in Italian cinema at the time, Rabid Dogs is a singular film in Bava’s filmography and one of the greatest crime films of the period.

Together with both versions of the film, this new disc will also feature a newly translated English subtitled track, alongside an audio commentary with Mario Bava biographer Tim Lucas. The disc will also feature the featurette End of the Road: Making Rabid Dogs and Kidnapped which features Lamberto Bava, Alfredo Leone and star Lea Lander discussing the movie, alongside an interview with Umberto Lenzi, the alternate ‘Semaforo Rosso’ opening title sequence and a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Stephen Thrower, Peter Blumenstock on the history of the film’s first distribution and more.

Rabid Dogs will be released on UK dual format (Blu-ray and DVD) by Arrow Video at the RRP of £19.99.

The release will include High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of two versions of the film; Rabid Dogs – Bava’s original version posthumously completed from his notes & Kidnapped – the re-edited, re-dubbed and re-scored version, supervised by Bava’s son and assistant director Lamberto Bava, and producer Alfredo Leone. It will also include the original Italian mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray), newly translated English subtitles and the following extra features:

  • Audio commentary with Bava biographer Tim Lucas

  • End of the Road: Making Rabid Dogs and Kidnapped – Featuring Lamberto Bava, Alfredo Leone and star Lea Lander

  • Bava and Eurocrime – An interview with Umberto Lenzi

  • Alternate ‘Semaforo Rosso’ opening title sequence

  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Stephen Thrower, Peter Blumenstock on the history of the film’s first distribution and more!