Yeh, yeh. I know I am late. See, last night I had dinner with some friends/family who were in town. I started watching the movie when I got home but fell asleep before I could finish watching it or write the blog. Unfortunately, the draft didn’t save properly so I had to write it all over again. Anyways, today’s movie is yet another one of those movies that you find on the various lists of banned movies. The only difference between this one and I Spit On Your Grave (1978) is that I intentionally own this movie, due to the fact that this was Wes Craven’s first movie. So now that you have an idea about what is going to happen, here is today’s movie, The Last House On The Left (1972).
The plot: Mari Collingwood is getting ready to go to a concert with her friend Phyllis Stone but her parents, Dr. John and Estelle, have their reservations about almost everything; from the location of the concert and the band to the way Mari is dressed and her friendship with Phyllis. Still, they allow her to go, giving her a peace symbol necklace as an early birthday gift. On the way to the concert, the girls hear a news report about some escaped criminals. Meanwhile, the escaped criminals, Krug Stillo and Fred “Weasel” Podowski, are holed up in an apartment with their two accomplices, Krug’s son Junior and a woman named Sadie. Before the concert, Mari and Phyllis run into Junior, who pretends to be a dealer and takes them back to the apartment, where the other three trap the girls in the apartment. While Mari’s parents are preparing a surprise party for Mari, Phyllis ends up being gang-raped by Krug, Weasel, and Sadie while Mari is forced to watch. The next morning, the criminals place the girls in the trunk of their car and start to leave town but the car ends up breaking down. When Krug goes to get a tool kit out of the trunk, Phyllis winds up biting him. As they drag both girls out of the trunk, Mari sees her family’s mailbox and realizes that she is close to home. The two girls are taken out into the woods and, under threat of being cut by Weasel, Krug forces them to undress and have sex with each other. When Krug heads back to the car, Phyllis tells Mari she plans to make a run for it and while the criminals go after her, she wants Mari to go for help. When Phyllis runs, Weasel and Sadie chase after her, leaving Junior to watch over Mari. Mari tries to get Junior to let her go by giving him her necklace and promising to get him a fix but he proves reluctant to help. Meanwhile, the town sheriff hears a radio description about the criminals’ getaway car and, realizing he saw it broke down near Mari’s house, he and his deputy head back there but their car ends up breaking down. Phyllis winds up at a cemetery near the road, but Weasel, Sadie, and Krug catch up to her; with Weasel repeatedly stabbing her and Sadie proceeding to pull out her intestines. Mari convinces Junior to let her go but before she can get far, they run into Krug and the others, who show Mari Phyllis’ severed hand. Krug proceeds to carve his name into Mari’s chest, then rapes her; after which Mari heads down to the lake to wash herself and Krug shoots her and leaves her body floating in the lake. After washing up and changing clothes, the criminals end up at Mari’s house, where they pass themselves off as traveling salesmen and Estelle and John allow them to stay the night, where the criminals soon discover that they are at Mari’s house. That night, Estelle notices that Junior is wearing Mari’s necklace and after helping him back to his room, overhears the criminals talking about killing Mari and finds the bloody clothes in their suitcase. She gets John and the two of them head out to the lake, where they find Mari’s body on the shore and the parents decide to get revenge on the criminals. Estelle convinces Weasel to accompany her outside, where she seduces him, but winds up biting off his penis and letting him bleed to death. Meanwhile, John rigs up some boobytraps inside the house then goes into the room and takes their gun then tries to shoot them but Krug turns off the lights and gets out of the room. Krug and John fight and Krug gets the upper hand but Junior suddenly appears and threatens to shoot Krug with his gun. Krug begins taunting Junior then convinces Junior to shoot himself, which he does. John goes down to the basement, grabs a chainsaw, and begins chasing after Krug, who ends up getting shocked by one of John’s traps. Sadie runs out of the house but Estelle tackles her and the two begin fighting, with Sadie eventually falling into their pool and Estelle runs up and slits her throat as she is getting out. Back in the house, John finally catches up to Krug and, with the sheriff finally arriving and telling him to stop, John kills Krug with the chainsaw. Estelle comes back inside and hugs her husband while the deputy takes the chainsaw out of his hands.
The Last House On The Left (1972) received mixed to positive reviews form the critics, currently holding a 59% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert called this movie “A tough, bitter little sleeper of a movie that’s about four times as good as you’d expect.” The movie was a box office success, earning over $3 million off an $87,000 budget. The movie was censored in several countries and faced some of the harshest criticism from the United Kingdom, where it would be banned for close to twenty years, and a remake would be filmed in 2009.
Dark, disturbing, and definitely gives you a glimpse into the twisted mind of Wes Craven. This is a good horror movie, rather disturbing, but good. The acting was decent for the most part, with David Hess (Krug), Fred J. Lincoln (Weasel), and Jeramie Rain (Sadie) playing the role of psychotic killers really well. However, Richard Towers and Cynthia Carr (John and Estelle) were not as good when they were supposed to be getting their revenge on the killers. The story was good, apparently being inspired by a Swedish film called The Virgin Spring. Most of the rape/sex scenes either occur off camera or don’t show much, which is honestly good. The actual deaths or mutilations were shown, but some of the more graphic stuff was not actually shown, but left to be inferred by what was going on screen. If you are a fan of Wes Craven, or a fan of horror movies in general, this is worth watching.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5