The Last House on the Left

1972

Horror / Thriller

4
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 62%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 50%
IMDb Rating 6 10 28344

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
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July 21, 2018 at 11:27 AM

Director

Cast

Martin Kove as Deputy
Steve Miner as Hippie Taunting Deputy
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
692.94 MB
1280*682
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 24 min
P/S 11 / 20
1.32 GB
1920*1024
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 24 min
P/S 11 / 22

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Robin-97 10 / 10

The most flawed masterpiece of all time

"Night of the Living Dead" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" are two films that received a unanimous critical bashing when they were first released, but are now looked upon as ground-breaking horror masterpieces. That is also a classification that could be used to describe Wes Craven's "Last House on the Left", but after 27 years, the film still hasn't quite gotten the respect it deserves, and its greatness only seems to be recognized primarily among horror fans. While it is certainly not Craven's most polished film, I still consider it to be his best, and indeed, Craven has acknowledged many times that he doesn't even want to ATTEMPT to equal it. "Last House" was the first movie that aimed to show an audience what the REAL effects of violence were and the low-budget, documentary-like realism that Craven brought to the proceedings allows it to pack a bigger punch than a thousand professional studio films ever could. Yes, the movie has more than its fair share of flaws, but it is a measure of the film's power that one can easily overlook them. The most flawed masterpiece of all time may be a strange way to describe a film, but that would be an accurate way to describe "Last House on the Left".

As virtually everyone knows, the basic plotline is a reworking of Ingmar Bergman's "Virgin Spring", but Craven does a superb job of translating the story's details to a 1970s setting. Two teenage girls, Mari (Sandra Cassel) and Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) go into the big city for a rock concert, only to encounter three of the most memorable villiains in film history: Krug (David Hess), Weasel (Fred Lincoln) and Sadie (Jeramie Rain), who are also accompanied by Krug's heroin-addicted, guilt-ridden son, Junior (Marc Sheffler). The gang of escaped convicts kidnap the girls and proceed to rape and murder them, but when they seek shelter at the nearest house, they are stunned to find that their hosts just happen to be Mari's parents - who unleash violent tendencies that they would have never thought possible once they discover that they are housing their daughter's killers.

The long, painful section of the film where the killers torture and murder the girls is where "Last House on the Left" impresses the most. Before these scenes, the villains have been presented as normal, funny, almost likable individuals, which makes their despicable actions all the more shocking. Craven shoots the scenes of degradation with the raw feel of a documentary, and while this is mostly due to his minuscule budget and lack of filmmaking experience, it lends an uncomfortable air of authenticity to the events. He also demonstrates his ability to toy with the audience's emotions by intercutting the horror with slapstick scenes involving two inept cops who run into all sorts of misadventures while searching for Krug and his gang. While the idea of mixing the violence with humour is an effective one (and works well during some of his climactic scenes), the cop scenes are done in such broad, over-the-top fashion that they provide way too much of a contrast with the film's disturbing moments. However, when the girls' death scenes do occur, they are protracted and extremely intense, and during the rape and murder of Mari, the killers actually give off expressions of shock and remorse for what they have done. Back in 1972, this approach to screen violence was unheard-of.

The outstanding work of the unknown cast is what makes the film as effective as it is. Cassel and Grantham make extremely believable and sympathetic victims, though the real acting honours go to the villains. Hess (who also composed the film's dated but often effective score) is truly remarkable in his role, making Krug into one of the most unforgettable screen psychopaths, and he is almost matched by veteran porn director Lincoln's surprisingly effective turn as Weasel, presenting him as a humorous, laid-back character that is capable of shocking, cold-blooded violence. But while the film is often quite disturbing, it also has plenty of entertainment value. When the violence is not being displayed, the tone is very tongue-in-cheek, as Craven provides plenty of sharp dialogue and effective bits of black humour. In particular, the infamous scene where Weasel meets his painful revenge from Mari's mother, and the dynamite dream sequence that precedes it, manage to be both shocking and oddly entertaining at the same time. But it is the film's anti-violence statement that makes "Last House" so memorable, as Craven does not allow his characters to feel any satisfaction for their vicious actions. This is easily one of the ten most important horror films of all time, and a real personal favourite of mine. It demands to finally be recognized as the true groundbreaking achievement that it is.

Reviewed by Brandt Sponseller 8 / 10

A bit over-hyped, but fairly good and certainly important historically

While I think that people tend to get a bit hyperbolic when they talk about The Last House on the Left, I do think it's a fairly good film, especially given what the filmmakers were trying to do and considering their lack of experience, the era and the budget. Also, despite a filmic precursor, it just may be the earliest example of the horror subgenre of "brutal, realist tragedy" (that's more a description than a name, but I haven't spent much time trying to come up with a catchy moniker). However, it has flaws that would be difficult to overlook in a "distanced" (rather than "objective" or "unbiased", neither of which I think are possible) assessment of the film.

The story, although claimed as true, is an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's Jungfrukällan (aka The Virgin Spring, 1960). Roughly, it is the story of Mari Collingwood (Sandra Cassel). We see Mari at home with her almost-hip parents. Mari is about to head out to a "Bloodlust" concert in New York City with her new friend Phyllis Stone (Lucy Grantham). Mom and dad are harassing her about her clothing, which is thin enough to show off a bit of flesh, but they're not so un-hip as to make her change. Meanwhile, we learn from a radio that four convicts--"murderers, dope-pushers and rapists"--have just escaped from prison. At the same time, director Wes Craven slowly reveals the quartet--Krug Stillo (David A. Hess), Junior Stillo (Marc Sheffler), Fred "Weasel" Podowski (Fred J. Lincoln) and Sadie (Jeramie Rain). They're holed up in a New York City apartment. Sadie seems to be group property, and that causes some tension. It is suggested that they look for a couple more women. Mari and Phyllis end up at the wrong place at the wrong time. They're kidnapped, and mayhem ensues. But there's a twist that arrives when the convict's car breaks down in an ironic location.

"Frightening", "disturbing", "sick" and various other terms are frequently employed when describing Last House on the Left. Since I find no films scary, I can't vouch for the first term, but the other two would perhaps apply proportionate to how many horror films you regularly watch, and just what kinds of horror films. If you're not used to the genre in its grittier and gorier post-1960s instantiations, you'd likely find The Last House on the Left shocking. If you've seen a large number of films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) and so on, don't pay too much attention to the hype. You're not likely to be very disturbed by anything you see here.

That doesn't mean that you'll not enjoy this film. After all, it has been a major influence on the films mentioned above--there is even an important chainsaw scene here. That's especially remarkable when we consider that it was only Craven and Producer Sean S. Cunningham's second film. They had been approached by a consortium of exhibitors who said that they wanted "something as appalling and exploitable as Night of the Living Dead (1968)".

Maybe largely by accident, Craven and Cunningham (along with others, such as assistant producer Steve Miner, who later became much bigger "names" in horror--between these three, we have the helmers of a number of films in the three major 1980s/1990s franchises--Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street) happened upon an unusual cinema vérité style that made the horrific situations depicted seem much more immediate and real. Combined with occasionally graphic and always intense situations of violence and control, the final effect is akin to watching a home video/snuff film. In fact, it was promoted as such in some areas, and the effect was disturbing enough in its time that the film initially received an X rating and was banned for many years in some locales.

But again, focusing on that amounts to hype now, and shouldn't be taken too seriously, lest it lead to inflated expectations. Just as surprising on a first viewing is that The Last House on the Left has an intermittent goofy sense of humor and a "groovy" attitude that is firmly mired in the early 1970s. The two policemen are really comic relief characters (and very funny at that), but there is also a lot of humor surrounding the criminal quartet--this almost becomes a "black comedy" at times. These sensibilities even extend to the music, which has a frequent hillbilly edge and lyrics that supply ex-positional material. Surprisingly, Hess, who plays Krug, wrote the music.

Despite the simplicity of the story and the fact that the 2002 MGM DVD release is the "most complete cut ever" according to Craven, there are problems with the story, whether due to the script or the editing. Too many segues between major plot points are "jumpy". The chase(s) through the woods seems a bit random. It's not very well explained how the convicts end up at a home looking as they do. Two characters find another who was missing, and it seems more like a dream sequence because of its arbitrariness, and so on.

But overall, the story is effective enough. Although many subtexts can and have been read into the film, the most interesting theme to me was that it's largely a "tragedy of happenstance". Craven seems to be expressing a strong belief in chance and coincidence and focusing on the dark side of it. Under that reading, we can maybe excuse some of the narrative jumps more easily.

Although there are a number of similar films that I think are better than The Last House on the Left, including Ruggero Deodato's House at the Edge of the Park (aka La Casa sperduta nel parco, 1980)--also starring Hess in a similar role, curiously enough, this is a must-see for serious horror fans because of its historical importance.

Reviewed by Dan Grant 9 / 10

Without a doubt, the most disturbing film I have ever seen

I have seen some films literally dozens of times. They will remain nameless, but they are there. Some of those films are pure entertainment and have left an obvious mark on me. I have seen Last House on the Left four times. And there is no film that has left more of an impression on me than this film. It is a visceral experience and one that will never leave your subconscious, and that goes for anyone who has seen the film. There are images here that are about as primal as you can go without feeling like you are in a Neanderthal like state. Wes Craven has tapped into something that few if any have ever been able to duplicate. There have been imitations as recently as the summer of 2005 when Chaos tried to usurp LAST HOUSE as the most disturbing film ever made, but make no mistake about it. This is the one and only. This film still has an adverse affect on me. The only reason I rented this film back in 1992 was because I was convinced that ( along with Jaws and Halloween ) Nightmare on Elm Street was the one of the scariest movies I had ever seen. And when I found out that Wes Craven had an earlier film to his credit, I had to see it. What happened in the next 90 minutes can only be described as an assault on my senses. Everything that was good in life no longer existed and the fun and happy horror films like Friday the 13th were exposed as the charlatans that they were. It's not to say that they weren't fun films but they were not true horror films, the way a Steven Seagal film about war is a quack compared to something ominous like Apocalypse Now. I felt a plethora of emotions ranging from feeling sick, to shame, fear and trauma. I was so unabashedly disturbed after the film that a three hour, head clearing drive in the country was needed to calm my nerves. That is no exaggeration.

The story centers around two carefree you women who are going to a concert in the city. They are looking to score some weed and they meet Junior, who promises them some and he takes them to meet the rest of the gang. What ensues over the next 45 minutes is nothing short of the dehumanization of the two girls. They are forced to beat each other, touch each other and then they are raped and murdered horrifically. There is not much more to say if you do not want to ruin it for those that haven't seen it yet.

Was this a good film? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely not. It left me exhausted depressed and it drained me to the point that I thought I would break down and cry. For a horror movie to do that to me is quite astonishing. I have seen most of Fulci's gorefests but every time you see some guy with a drill through his head, you can dismiss is a schlock. You know it's fake. But not with this film. It imbues a realism to it that just makes you feel like you are watching someone's snuff film. It is that macabre and it feels that real. There is nothing else like it.

I remember reading a review of Aliens by Roger Ebert and he said that the film was a work of art and he gave it high marks but the film was so much of a play on his emotions that he did not enjoy it. He was terrified more than he had been before. That is how I feel about this film. It is masterfully made, but it is a tough film to watch. Even after writing this review I am going to have a hard time getting the images out of my head. So my advice to you is if you are going to watch this film, proceed with caution. The subject matter in this film makes 8MM look like Anne of Green Gables.

This is the first time the tagline has read so true. Just keep repeating to yourself that it is only a movie, it is only a movie......

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