Bold, powerful and starkly realistic, this chilling cinematic debut of horror master Wes Craven (Scream) is a shocking journey into the heart of evil. Written and directed with almost unbearable dramatic tension (Chicago... more » Sun-Times), The Last House on the Left will make you deadbolt your doors and frantically mutter: It's only a movie it's only a movie it's only a movie! Easy-going Mari Collingwood and her fun-loving friend Phyllis are on their way to a Bloodlust concert to celebrate Mari's 17th birthday when three escaped convicts kidnap and torture them. But Mari and Phyllis are fighters, and although they are drugged and beaten into unconsciousness, stuffed into a car trunk and driven into the woods for even more brutality, they are still alive...but for how long?« less
Kathleen K. (kathyk) from AMSTERDAM, NY Reviewed on 5/13/2010...
Way too disturbing, I quit watching after an hour or so.
Just not my cup of tea.
6 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
Kimberly B. (TheBookHunter) from SALEM, OH Reviewed on 3/5/2009...
This movie is based on a true story. I have it! It is a keeper! Not for the faint of heart, it has some very disturbing scenes in it so be prepared. You may want to stop it in the beginning and if you feel that way, dont! you have to watch the whole thing! The ending is brutal! I loaned my copy to a friend last summer, huge mistake, havent seen it since and I want it back! It took me 3 years to find this movie many years ago, it was going for high dollar on ebay and I eventually found it at best buy.
5 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
"How'd we get into the sex crime business anyway?"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 04/03/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I don't think I've ever seen a film that has as many titles as The Last House on the Left (1972)...let's see...it was also known as Grim Company, Krug & Company, Krug and Company (see how they replaced the `&' with `and'?), Last House on the Left (they left the `The' part off here...I know, a minor distinction), Night of Vengeance, and Sex Crime of the Century, both of these last two being working titles...it's funny as almost any of these other titles would have been more applicable, but there you go...produced by Sean S. Cunningham (Friday the 13th), written and directed by horror maven Wes Craven (I'm a poet and didn't know it), the man behind the popular Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream films, the film features Sandra Cassel (The Filthiest Show in Town), Lucy Grantham, David Hess (Swamp Thing), Fred J. Lincoln (who has since gone on to the wonderful world of adult films as not only and actor but also as a director...you may remember him from the film Edward Penishands 3), Jeramie Rain (The Abductors), Marc Sheffler, Gaylord St. James (Deadly Weapons), Cynthia Carr, Marshall Anker (Shamus), and character actor Martin Kove, who many probably most will recognize as the very nasty and uptight Cobra Kai Sensei John Kreese from the film The Karate Kid (1984).
The film starts off with a shower scene, and we get a nice shot of Sandra Cassel's jubblies. She plays the character of Mari, and we soon find out she's going out with a friend, Phyllis (Grantham), to see a concert featuring a band called Bloodlust. Her parents, played by Gaylord St. James and Cynthia Carr, are concerned, but she has just turned 17, and you can't keep them on the farm forever. Anyway, as the girls drive into the city, we hear a news broadcast on the radio, going into great detail, about a couple of very nasty criminals who've recently escaped, and are the focal point for a statewide manhunt, along with their two accomplices. We then cut to a seedy apartment where we get to meet these lovely individuals, obviously all New Yorkers given their accents, featuring Krug (Hess), who appears to be the leader, Fred 'Weasel' Podowski (Lincoln), who looks like the illegitimate love child of Joe Pesci and Arnold Horshack, Krug's son Junior (Sheffler), who definitely looks like Arnold Horshack, and finally the group floozie Sadie (Rain). Okay, so now the girls are in the city, and they approach Junior, who just happens to be standing outside, for some wacky tobaccy, to which he lures them up to the apartment (Sadie couldn't handle the three of them I guess so they decided to recruit some fresh meat), and thus begins the defilement. The following day the group decides to leave the city (too much heat) and they toss the girls in the trunk. Their car eventually breaks down out in the country near familiar surroundings, and more defilement takes place in the woods. Eventually retribution comes, and in some very unique forms...
I've heard much over the years about this film, and while it does possess some fairly intense material, I've seen worse (check out some early 80's Italian horror films and you'll see what I mean). Some have stated the film has a documentary feel, but I would disagree...it felt more to me like a no frills, low-budget 70's film with a lot of bad music (you can thank Hess, the actor who played Krug, as he responsible for most of the score, which ranged from weird hippy music to upbeat pianny music...and who was responsible for the audio mixing? The volume on the music was much too high, often overpowering the dialog). There are a number of harsh and brutally graphic scenes, but then this is offset by scenes of what I think are supposed to be of a comic nature featuring the local sheriff and his deputy (played by Kove), showcasing their complete ineptitude as law enforcement officials. I think the non-comedic scenes were handled well, as Craven infuses a strong sense of tension, the kind where you want to look away but can't, finally assaulting you with a good deal of the ultra-violence, taking it where few, if any, had gone before at the time, featuring some of the most realistic blood I've seen in a film in a long time. As far as performances go, they were decent, but I felt the guy who played Krug had much more presence than anyone else in the film, and rightfully so as he was the main antagonist. The final act featuring the retribution scenes was odd to me as it seemed unlikely that the characters would have the presence of mind to go to the trouble setting things up the way they did, especially given the circumstances involved (if you've seen the film, you probably understand what I mean, but I don't want to give away any more than I already have), but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it as it provided a suitable outlet given the grotesque nature of the crimes committed by the despicable foursome. I think it's important to note that if you have delicate sensibilities, you should probably avoid this film as it does have a couple of particularly nasty scenes, one involving a disemboweling and another involving a rape. All in all a powerful film with some really weird musical choices.
There's a short introduction available featuring Wes Craven, and he basically says this is the most complete version of the film available. The DVD features both the fullscreen and widescreen anamorphic formats (presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, enhanced for 16 X 9 TVs) and has decent audio in English mono. There are a number of extras available including a commentary track by writer/director Craven and producer Cunningham, Outtakes and Dailies (14 minutes), Forbidden Footage featurette (8 minutes), It's Only a Movie featurette (28 minutes), and a theatrical trailer for the film.
Wes Craven's Disturbing, Ultra-Violent Debut is Classic!
Ryan Costantino | Nowhere, Special | 08/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is Wes Craven's startling debut as a no holds barred horror director. Unflinching in its depiction of torture, rape, and humiliation it can still make audiences gasp almost thirty years after its initial release. This tale of two young girls on their way to a concert and their misfortunate run in with four dangerous fugitives is essential viewing for any fan of the Horror genre. What really disturbed me in this film is the way the four villains had so much fun in demeaning and then killing the two girls. And how very close help was... Little Craven-esque quirks tended to pop up (such as a sudden shift from extreme violence to a scene of almost slapstick humor) that will remind viewers of the Elm Street and Scream series. As well as one of the killers names being "Krug" add an "er" and well, you figure it out. Keep a look out for the mother's scene of revenge down by the lake, that alone is worth the price of admission. Truly deserving of "cult" status!"
You probably won't forget this one anytime soon
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 12/16/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's not so much the scenes of horrific violence in themselves that make one wince here (after all, presumably one has signed on for a hardcore violent thriller when ponying up to rent or buy this infamous title), but it's the frequent juxtaposition of disturbing violence with slapstick comedy that is the really unsettling thing. It's really strange, for example, to see a violent rape & assault immediately followed by a scene of two cops having to hitch a ride on a chicken truck, and (as if that weren't enough) a few seconds later watch the cops fall off the truck when it stops too fast. Very weird. Also, the curious among you should be aware that this film isn't nearly as polished or professional looking as the slick box art might lead you to believe. In other words, if you have no tolerance or appreciation for on-the-fly, low-budget guerilla film-making, avoid this at all costs. I DO have a certain affection for this type of film-making, and even I said "whoa, what were they thinking??" and "Wow, that's really cheap looking (or sounding)" several times during the course of this. Ultimately, however, I have to say that the movie is worth a look, but it's probably worth a look more because it's an interesting bit of movie history than because it's actually a good movie."
Differences between 2002 DVD and this one
Mark H | San Diego CA | 03/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I too was curious about this release. What was different in this release vs. the 2-sided DVD released by MGM in 2002 and now out of print? I have both and they are different. The 2002 release was a 2-sided DVD, one side was standard, the other side was widescreen with some extras on both side. The 2002 version has about a 15 minute version of outtakes and dailies with no sound. In here we see lots of outtakes from the horrible murder of Phyllis. Lots of fake looking footage of Sadie caressing Phyllis' innards, something only glimpsed for a second or two in the movie. Nasty stuff for sure. Also on the 2002 release is a featurette "Forbidden Footage". Its about 10 minutes long and consists mostly of Wes and Sean discussing how prints of the movie came back all chopped up from irate theater owners and religious folk who were horrified by some of the footage.
This new 1-sided 2009 release has a much better documentary titled "Celluloid Crime of the Century" that was produced in 2002 in the UK and runs about 40 minutes. Jeramie Rain (Sadie) looks fabulous in her fifties and it contains interviews with Wes, Sean, David Hess, Fred Lincoln and Marc Sheffler (you'd never recognize him) but the poor girls are not included. The outtakes and dailies from the 2002 version are not on this DVD and neither is "Forbidden Footage". But there is new footage never seen before that also has no sound. There is a lot of nudity in this footage from the scenes where Mari and Phyllis are forced to make it with each other in the woods and it also contains (soft-core) scenes of Sadie performing oral sex on Mari. (Are they selling this at Wal Mart??) There is also an extra scene of the parents finding Mari alive by the lake, kind of like what they did in the remake. There are a couple of other extras too: some short film made by Wes which I haven't yet watched and another chat with Wes that must have been made recently because he discusses the new remake and how he came to produce it. He really liked the new remake, more than I could say. IMHO, the new one isn't nearly as sick and disgusting as the original.
So the difference is in the extras. The movie appears to be the exact same version on both."
Bes Pantheos | 12/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Last House on the Left... wow. Pretty strange. First off, let me say, without reservation, that horror is my genre of choice. I pretty much dig everything from the supernatural, to thrillers, to straight splatter fests. I'm fan of other W. Craven films as well... the Elm St. series, the Hills Have Eyes, Scream, etc. So it was with high hopes that I read the bulk of the reviews of 'Last House,' which painted the picture of some sort of brutal shock-fest filled with disturbing scenes of violence.
Yeah, well, that didn't happen.
To begin with, there is very little actual violence depicted on screen- for the most part you just hear sounds, see blood after the fact, etc. True, the subject matter is disturbing, but no more so than what you are likely to see on the nightly news on any given day. I knew, intellectually, that I was supposed to be frightened and/or disturbed, but as I watched it, I actually found myself laughing out loud. I felt like Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice, when he tells Alec Baldwin, "I've see the Exorcist 167 times and it keeps getting funnier every single time!"
Now, the acting is fine and the film definitely looks good (very grainy, like an old home movie, with some evocative landscape shots of the rural North East), but it is hard to get past the over the top, "straight outta Brooklyn" killers. They really do come off like the Bizarro World doppelgangers of Vinnie Barbarino and his Sweathogs from 'Welcome Back Kotter.' They were, in fact, almost impossible to take seriously, especially in conjunction with the INSANE musical score.
Actually, the score deserves special mention. I don't know if Craven was trying to be ironic, or just plain weird, but the music is wildly incongruous, with regard to the action in the film. In scenes involving rape, mutilation, and fleeing for one's life while covered in blood, the score ranges from troubador-style, acoustic folk ballads to upbeat, vaguely psychedelic instrumental pieces that sound more like music you would hear at a carnival (the friendly, cotton candy sort, not the Something Wicked This Way Comes variety) than as the backdrop to a murder. As the killers are in the midst of their spree I kept turning to my fiancee, who had seen the movie before, with confused questions like "Is this music supposed to be making me laugh?"
Then there was the end of the film. The parents, through some fortuitous observations, surmise that their house guests killed their missing daughter something like ten minutes earlier and so set about taking their revenge. Within the space of minutes, the bereaved mother is, err... going downtown with one of the killers, if you catch my drift, whereupon she quite literally bites off more than she can chew. I guess that falls somewhere between "anger" and "bargaining" in the five stages of grief... Then the father is setting traps like MacGyver and taking a chainsaw to people as though he had been carving human cutlets all his life. The only logical response to this improbable insanity was laughter- as I said in the title to this review, 'twas mighty odd. Of course, it entertained me enough to watch through till the end, so I have to give it three stars, with the caveat that this is strictly dark comedy material, with elements of true horror being few and far between. If you are looking for an unsettling, gritty, and morally ambiguous descent into human depravity, you would be much better off watching The Devil's Rejects or Hostel. Last House on the Left is better suited to MST3000-style parody, which can be quite fun in it's own right, but won't exactly keep you up at night. "