Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 25th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1980
Director: Fernando Di Leo
Writers: Fernando Di Leo, Mario Gariazzo
Cast: Joe Dallesandro, Lorraine De Selle, Patrizia Behn, Gianni Macchia
DVD released: July 27th, 2012
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Raro Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: An escaped criminal returns to the place where he hid the money had stolen many years before.
Madness was directed by Fernando Di Leo, who is most known for the crime films that he directed in the 1970’s, most notably Milan Calibre 9. Other notable films that he also directed include Slaughter Hotel and To Be Twenty. The majority of the score for Madness was compiled from other Luis Bacalov score’s like the aforementioned Milan Calibre 9. The Italian language title for Madness is Vacanze per un massacro, which roughly translates into Vacation for a Massacre.
Content wise, Madness owes a lot to the film The Last House on the Left. And while it may not have been the first or the last film that was loosely inspired by the aforementioned The Last House on the Left. The end result is something that sets it apart from the rest of The Last House on the Left ‘clones’.
First off, Madness does not offer the viewer any characters in which to sympathize with. Thus making it a film that is dead set on bombarding its viewers with an onslaught of moments of degradation. And it is this collection of amoral characters which sets it head and shoulders apart from other The Last House on the Left ‘clones’.
From a visual stand point this film is easily Fernando Di Leo’s most rough and ready as the visuals often look very grimy. Of course this style of visuals perfectly complements the bleak story at hand. Also though there is never a shortage of violence in this film, it is depiction of sexual acts that are its most shocking and potent moments.
Being that this film is an ‘intimate’ affair, one primary location and four main characters. A lot of whether this film sinks or swims is going to rely on the performances from the cast. Joe Dallesandro (The Gardener) has been cast in the role of this film protagonist an escaped convicted. Though he is not the type of actor that is ever going to wow you with his performance. He does very good looking menacing onscreen. Without a doubt this film’s greatest asset is Lorraine De Selle’s (House on the Edge of the Park, Wild Beasts) in the role of the woman, who is having an affair with her sister’s husband.
Raro Video presents Madness in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. For this release Raro Video has created a new HD master that improves upon and is superior to their previous DVD release. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels look consistently good and details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement is minimal.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio sounds clear and balanced throughout.
Extras for this release are limited to a bio and filmography for Fernando Di Leo and a twelve page booklet that contains a text essay about the film, a text bio and selected filmography for director. Overall Madness gets a strong audio / video presentation from Raro Video.