Directed by Wes Craven
Written by Wes Craven and Sean S. Cunningham
Starring David Hess, Lucy Grantham, Sandra Cassel,
Marc Sheffler and Ada Washington
This is one of my all time favorites, its one of the best exploitation films of the 70s and if you read up on it Wes Craven actually was judged by friends and acquaintances for this one when it came out, because of its extreme nature. Originally the film was meant for just a small select audience, so Craven never had anticipation that anyone he knew would ever actually see it but it grew like fire well beyong the expectations. This was not the first time Wes and Sean worked together nor would it be their last. Written almost on a whim, as Cunningham had come to Craven telling him he knew some who had some money and wanted something Hardcore if they could do it... The rest is cinematic history.
The film centers around Mari, its her 17th birthday and shes out to have some fun. her and a girlfriend go looking to score some drugs, but definitely end up on the bad end of the deal in this one. Mari and her girlfriend find themselves held against their will and taken to the woods where the gang of nasties have their way with them. Once our group of miscreants have had their fill of the young girls they go about finding a place to bed for the night, unbeknownst to them they through a cruel act of fate find themselves bedding down at Maris home with her anxious parents still awaiting their daughters return. The parents realize something is very wrong and the proverbial shit hits the fan, on a massive scale.
This is one of those films that even a good 25 yrs after seeing it for the first time can still make me a bit squeamish in a couple of particularly cruel and powerful scenes. Last House on the Left has been cut and re-cut and restored and then cut again about a thousand times so there are too many different versions out there to discuss all of them but know it is possible to own multiple copies of this film and all of them be slightly to vastly different. There are reports that this is one of those films that upon release actually had people fleeing from the theaters, passing out and more, leading to the tagline Just keep telling yourself Its only a movie, its only a movie, its only a movie...
The film is not just great exploitation with edge of your seat push the envelope scares its also got a lot of dark humor, most evident in the music used in the movie which completely contradicts the emotion and tone of the moment throughout the film which is really somewhat unsettling in itself. The film has grown to be a huge cult success for those who like myself enjoy the history of the exploitation genre and more graphic films. It made me a life long fan of Wes Craven and even though he has mellowed a bit over the years he will always hold a special place with me for his early work which I truly adore. If you haven't seen the original you most defiantly should its a very important film in the forward movement of this sub genre of horror, it helped pave the way for some of our favorites of today, and although it is visually dated at this point that actually lends to the charm and creepiness in a weird sort of way. so pop up some corn and get settled in for a wild weird and sometimes uncomfortable ride! And remember, it's only a movie. it's only a movie, its' only a movie...