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31 films # 8 – The Last House on the Left – 1972 not the shitty remake

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Another re-watch, hey I needed to catch things up, 1 more and I am going into fresh films, which was the spirit of this, also going to try to get more obscure, than ever before. Have about 75 unwatched blus and DVDs still, and found a cache of 1970s and 1980s obscure horror online in the last week.

This is one of the more infamous films of the 1970s, and features the talents of both Wes Craven AND Sean Cunningham, so has some 1980s horror royalty backing it up, in both their debuts even. Is it as violent, disturbing and vile as it is put up to be. Short answer, not even close.

The Last House on the Left, a take on the Virgin Springs, follows the misadventures of Mari and Phyllis, whom venture from their small town exploits, to the big city, to celebrate Mari’s birthday. Along the way, they meet Junior, a two bit drug pusher, and he brings them back to his place, in promise of weed, but they are meant by Junior’s father, his girlfriend and his partner in crime, and needless to say, things go very wrong from there.

I used to love this film, having re-watched it a couple of times, however, I have noticed a massive flaw, that at 1st I found was fun. There is a severe tone shift, over and over in this, which kills the tension a lot. The whole wacky theme, and crazy old lady with the chickens and bumbling sheriff routine, does do some severe damage to the effectiveness of this film. It is unnecessary and distracting. However, there are some great moments in this film, especially in the final 15 minutes, when everything goes bat shit crazy.

David Hess, carries this film. His Krug, is menancing, vile and oddly likeable, all at the same time. He is the perfect villain in this. The confrontation between Krug and Junior, his son, is one of the best moments in horror history, in my opinion, it is tense, dark and in the same sick sense, kind of fun. The swamp scene, where Krug and company, conduct their atrocities, is very tense, and some squeamish or non genre fans, may find it too much, it’s tame for most us genre folks though. The ending revenge sequences are creative, well done, and satisfying, and the end leaves you with the intended moral dilemma. This was remade 1st as Chaos, which I own and may or may not review, and again as same title. Chaos is the superior remake, and changes the formula a bit.

RATING: A-(84%)

PROS: David Hess, in all parts, including the score, is awesome. Solid cast, some great violent moments, When Junior stand up to his father, we are treated to some horror genre gold.

CONS: Some odd song choices, the bumbling sheriff and deputy and the chicken lady, damn near kill the tone of this film, and these situations go on a lot…


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