Rabid Dogs is a 1974 movie directed by Mario Bava. Unlike the horror films he is most famous for such as Black Sunday and Black Sabbath, this is a gritty, grimy crime thriller with the plot concerning a trio of thugs who take a man and his ill child and a woman hostage and make them drive the gang to safety.
Bava died before the movie was finished. So his son Lamberto ended up shooting a few scenes and finished the movie for him. It is now regarded as one of the best thrillers with a Twist Ending to make M Night blush.
The movie has the following tropes:
- Ax-Crazy: Thirty-Two and Blade both are completely nuts but Thirty-Two takes the cake.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: Take a guess what the nickname Thirty-Two stands for.
- Decoy Protagonist: Ultimately, we find very little about Riccardo except that he is a kidnapper. He is just one of the primary villains of the movie. In fact, it could be argued that the real protagonist or atleast a positive character is Maria except the focus isn't on her for much of the movie. It could also be argued that Doc and his gang are the (villain) protagonists of the whole story.
- Downer Ending: The three robbers die but so does Maria. Riccardo and his ill child are safe, but it turns out that the boy isn't his son at all — Riccardo himself has kidnapped the child, and asks his mother for ransom at the end of the movie.
- Evil vs. Evil: Riccardo vs the kidnappers.
- The Ending Changes Everything: See Downer Ending for a truly jaw-dropping use of this trope.
- Extremely Short Timespan: Takes place over a few hours.
- Karma Houdini: Riccardo gets away with kidnapping.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Doc is calmer and more rational than Thirty-Two and Blade. Even more so than Riccardo.
- Mercy Kill: By Blade to a comatose Thirty-Two.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Doc, Blade and Thirty-Two.
- Would Hurt a Child: Riccardo would kidnap one and keep him drugged.