THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT
Mari, 17, is dying. Even for her the worst is yet to come.
Directed by Wes Craven
Stars Sandra Peabody as Mari Collingwood, Lucy Grantham as Phyllis Stone, David Hess as Krug Stillo, Fred J. Lincoln as Fred ‘Weasel’ Podowski, Jeramie Rain as Sadie, Marc Sheffler as Junior Stillo, Richard Towers as Dr. John Collingwood and Cynthia Carr as Estelle Collingwood. Also stars Marshall Anker as Sheriff and Martin Kove as Deputy.
One of the original ‘video nasties’, The Last House on the Left (1972) will always place somewhere in my personal top ten horror films.
Mari is going to see a band called Bloodlust with her friend Phyllis. They try and score some grass off a guy called Junior who takes them to an apartment where they meet Krug, Weasel and Sadie, a little gang of psychos. The gang kidnap them and take them to some woods. I don’t want to say too much, some people haven’t seen it.
Am I the only person who loves the gang in this? Forget Mickey and Mallory Knox these guys are a lot cooler. They come across as truly cold-blooded, except Junior who just seems like a junkie and a tagalong really, but the most fascinating scenes, I thought, are the expressions on the faces of Krug, Weasel and Sadie at certain points in the vilest moments; there’s one moment, for example, where Krug looks genuinely disgusted by what he’s done, what they’ve done, sorry even, this sweet little song playing over the top, it really is a beautiful moment and I’m not trying to be funny, I’m serious. That is why I love this film to death, the little realities that just seem effortless and yet are so utterly perfect in acting terms. The psychos are human beings, fucked-up human beings doing inhumane things definitely, but human, they have real depth.
This film looks all of its age but that’s all part of its charm. When you fall in love with it it feels like it shouldn’t look any different, it’s a film of its time if ever there was one, that’s how I felt anyway. The songs by star David Hess are superb and are placed in the film perfectly; they enhance the experience and are as much part of the ‘vision’ of this film as anything else in it. There’s a strange vein of humour throughout too which seems a bit odd at first but again when you fall in love with it you see it belongs in there too.
A film of two halves sort of; the abduction and subsequent events between the girls and the gang and the second half when the gang meet the parents, so to speak. Now, the real ass-kicking for the audience, in my opinion, comes in the first half so there’s a slight tapering off in the second half, I felt anyway, so it’s got its problems in terms of consistency. However, overall I think it manages to keep its shit together enough to be a complete film, even the second half has its merits.
It’s not a very gory film, you will have seen worse. It’s notoriety probably will make people who haven’t seen it think it is but it’s fairly tame when it comes to the red stuff and so on even when viewed uncut. There is some gore but it’s not The Evil Dead or anything, it’s disturbing in other ways, subtle little evils that could easily disturb and depress a viewer not familiar with this realistic sort of horror by placing you as an eyewitness to cruelty inflicted by humans on other humans for kicks. I love this film but I can understand why it’s also hated, inhumanity in human beings is meant to be repulsive and certainly not entertainment. But, The Last House on the Left is a classic and love it or hate it, I doubt you’ll think it’s boring, I doubt you’ll come away unscarred by the antics of Krug and company, I doubt you’ll regret watching it. But what do I know? Check it out.