Last House On the Left, was one of the most disturbing movies of its genre. The movie poster read, "Just keep telling yourself, "It's only a movie, it's only a movie, it's only a movie." Most of the viewers that saw this film were of high school age, usually under the influence of some type of drug, weed, hashish, LSD, etc. There were numerous people who left or walked out in disgust. It had a very cult following, Hollywood released a remake of Wes Craven's original under the same title. Sean Cunningham went on to start his own horror genre with, "Friday the 13th" which cemented both directors' careers in the macabre horror film industry.
A scenario that is disturbing and realistic
This movie has left an impact on me ever since I saw it. For beinbring Wes Craven's first film, it works extremely well for being disturbing. girls being kidnapped and then tortured and killed is a thing that happens every year. And parents avenging their children by murdering their killers has happened before as well. The gritty 16mm camera helps disturbing feel. The music sets the atmosphere perfectly. And the revenge part is definitely the best ending to any Rape And Revenge film I've ever seen.
Last House on the Left is one of the most notorious of the infamous Video Nasties that were banned in the UK during the early 1980's. It has achieved a large cult following and is revered by many horror fans. The film is the first feature by Wes Craven and is loosely based on Inger Bergman's 1960 film "The Virgin Spring". In brief the film centers on two girls, called Mari & Phyllis, who on their way to a rock concert are kidnapped by four recently escaped criminals. During their abduction they are raped, sexually humiliated, tortured, mutilated, disembowelled and finally murdered by their captors. Once the ordeal is over the criminals then look to a married couple they stumble upon for help and accommodation, it just so happens that this couple live in the last house on the left. It soon transpires that they are the parents of one of the girls murdered and unbeknown to the escaped criminals the parents execute a bloody revenge.
Such is the notoriety of the film that upon its initial release in Britain in 1974, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) gave it an outright ban with them making clear that cuts would make no difference. Not only was the film not allowed to be screened in Britain, but Canada, Australia and New Zealand also banned it. However, and as mentioned earlier, the film did manage to become available on video in the early 80's but this was before the Video Recordings Act in 1984. This Act led to it featuring predominantly on the Director of Public Prosecutions top 60 'Video Nasty' list. The film also managed to achieve 113 convictions under the Obscene Publication Act in the UK between 1983 and 1987; yes One Hundred and Thirteen! In 1999 the film was again submitted to the BBFC, but this time they demanded that over 2 minutes of cuts were required. The distributors, loyal to their work, declined and the film was rejected a release. It was then re-submitted in 2001, this time the BBFC demanded 16secs to be cut. The distributors appealed, but unfortunately lost and the BBFC (now clearly annoyed) upped it to 32 seconds. As far as I am aware the uncut version is still unavailable in the UK so those that wish to purchase a copy should visit an American online store.
Controversy aside, it's worth taking note of the trailer for the film as it invites the viewer to relish the words "It's only a movie, it's only a movie...". In quintessential horror fashion the trailer teases the audience with its fiction; something that would later be parodied by Craven himself in "Scream". Those that have seen the film will understand how Last House on the Left is a film that embodies a deep and disturbing insight into the extremes of abduction and female humiliation. It is a horrific film and through being so horrific it perfectly epitomizes the very genre it is, a horror. I have huge admiration for this film, given its young director Wes Craven and producer (Sean S. Cunningham; Creator of the Friday 13th series) and the mere fact it really did push the boundaries of cinema. It can be argued that the acting is poor and the script bad, but the grittiness of the film stock combined with the poor acting and dialogue ironically make for a superb film, interestingly the very qualities that made Grindhouse cinema respected and adored.
I have seen this film many times and from my experience women will find it hardest to watch. It is not a film for the faint hearted and it does not rely on heavy chords or lots of suspense. Its effectiveness lies in the simplicity of the story. Albeit a story that is hard to digest, due to perhaps audience members finding it difficult to differentiate themselves from those on screen i.e. it's all too real. Furthermore given the films year horror movie clichés are avoided, in fact they are established leading me to believe that in 1972 the film was ahead of its time.
Finally I can't escape that the film was cut in the UK, cutting a film is comparable to obscuring part of painting, or tearing out pages of a book as it removes what the artist, writer or director intended which is ultimately restricting freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Those that do manage to get hold of an uncut copy could be disappointed as they might not have the patience for such an archetypal horror, as it does not live up to today's standards. However, horror connoisseurs, film academics and those that take a genuine interest in film and its history will probably be the only ones that will truly appreciate Last House on the Left and what it means to the modern horror.
So delightfully weird
"Last House on the Left" is just such a beautifully uncomfortable experience. The rather unknown actors, the hapless direction, the cheap equipment, the (I hope) deliberately butt-ugly cinematography, the brilliant soundtrack, they all add to the power of this low-budget gem. There are also some really bizarre dialogues involved, it's like here and there they're actually going for a bit of comedy. Intertwining brutal murder scenes with footage of a middle-aged couple baking a pie, I don't know why that's funny, it just is. The slapsticky police officers don't work as well, but they do add to the general "what the hell am I watching"-factor of this movie. While were at it, the "chicken lady" crackes me up too, most random character ever. This movie is extremely rough around the edges, but in a whole other way it's also Wes Craven at his best.
One of the best 70's Horror Exploitation Movies ever made
Not even the bad music and comic relief can hurt one of the best Horror/Exploitation movies of the 70's. Before "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "I Spit on Your Grave", and "Cannibal Holocaust" added a documentary like realism to their proceedings, Wes Cravens debut (a loose adaptation of Bergman's "The Virgin Spring") did just that. The plot itself is simple: Two girls on their way to a concert are humiliated, tortured, raped, and murdered by a gang of thugs. Later, the thugs take refuge in a house-which just happens to be the home of the girls parents. However, unlike other revenge movies like say, "Death Wish", there is no satisfaction to the ensuing vengeance. The viewer is instead left feeling empty and horrified, as the movie essentially deglamorizes on screen violence, showing the general ugliness and pointlessness of violence. Oh, and let's not forget Krug. While Freddy may be more popular, Krug is Craven's scariest villain IMO. He's not a supernatural villain who haunts you in your dreams, he's not a cyborg best pal, he's not a man who controls the dead. He is human evil personified; a villain who feels all too real. That is scarier than Freddy and Jason.
This is true horror !
Just about everything that needs to be said about this movie has been said. This is a true horror movie and believe me no other film can match this film for "burning a horrible memory" into ones brain than this one. 34 years later I can still remember my friend and I wretching after leaving the theater.We were 17 years old and thought we had seen it all after watching the sickeningly horrific "Mark of the Devil" around the same time period. Last House on the Left, however is in a class of its own, nothing before or since can compare to the surreal nature of this film. I can't imagine how it ever made it to the screen, and even now I have a hard time dealing with the memories of the scenes that were presented. If you have not seen it yet, I would recommend you not see it with a lady, and that you are not mentally disturbed prior to seeing it. Nuff said, you are warned...................
Absolutely horrific and hilarious
Most people wouldn't be able to consider this movie hilarious, but even though it was sick and very, very unnecessary in nature it was funny. The bumbling cops and the not even mildly heart sick parents made the movie funny. Instead of them crying, they love killing their daughter's slayers. But the movie is really quite sick so not for the faint of heart. And you have to get the uncut, unrated version, none of that edited crap.
This movie stands alone as one of the greatest horror movies ever made, the plot is ingenious and the story is perfectly over the top. It's about two teenage girls who are planning to go to a rock concert but instead have a shocking journey into the heart of evil when three escaped convicts kidnap and torture them (krug,weasel and Sadie with the help of Krug's son Junior).
The actors involved are raw and powerful characters, Krug is played by David Hess who also done the soundtrack. Weasel is played by Fred J. Lincoln, who is a prolific director of adult movies and Sadie is played by Jeramie Rain who is now a writer. A true horror classic.
Very First Horror Movie
Honestly, this was the first horror movie I ever went to. I was still in high school in 1972 and only 14 years old. I thought it was THE SCARIEST thing I had ever seen! I have never watched it again and I don't think I ever would. It possibly made me dislike horror movies because, even now, I don't like watching them! I rated it a 10 only because it was, to me, so scary!
The music is spooky, the camera angles are excellent! The story is good as the killers meet Karma. It's an authentic and realistic slasher film. A lot of the movie is filmed in the woods, so it's a visually captivating film. It's truly a classic!
Spoilers!!!! whoever said that if Wes craven quit right after making this and the hills have eyes, they must have stopped watching movie's when the hills have eyes came out. i mean Wes craven is responsible for greats like a nightmare on elm street, cursed, scream, scream 2 and scream3, and red eye. perhaps this is one of his better films. it's disturbing, dark, scary and gory, and a good story line. it's about a girl named Mari and her friend of to a concert trying to buy some drugs before. stumbling upon 4 killers, the girls fight to stay alive. after all of the turmoil they the girls are put through, ending in their death, the killers stumble upon Mari's house. Mari's family giving them their hospitality, soon realizes who they are, wondering why their daughter has been missing and quickly gets revenge. this is a awesome movie that i enjoyed, but some people may not.
all time classic
A no budget, creepy , disturbing classic. All serious horror fans should see this movie, as this is where Wes Craven's talents first shine. Although the movie is somewhat dated now, maybe "Blair Witch" will revive interest in this long lost thriller.
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