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Euro-sploitation Pick: Kidnapped

By Maitland McDonagh

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(Kino, $14.98)

Rapid Dogs Mario Bava

A middle-aged man rushing his sick child to a hospital is carjacked by three thieves (down from four a few moments earlier) who’ve just killed three people and taken a fourth hostage. Who will live through gothic-horror maestro Mario Bava’s atypically foul-mouthed, real-time thriller? Place your bets and prepare to lose. Inspired by an Ellery Queen story and shot in 1974 as L’uomo e il bambino, Bava’s self-described favorite film was trapped for decades in legal limbo and finally released as Rabid Dogs in 1998. Kidnapped features some inserts shot later by the filmmaker’s son, writer/director Lamberto Bava, while omitting the quietly devastating shot that ends Rabid Dogs. But in any version it’s a rare and gut-wrenching white-knuckle thriller whose final twist is a knife through the heart.

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