“The Last House on the Left” (1972) – Director/co-writer Wes Craven’s sordid, low-budget slasher flick is ugly and violent. It features the worst in our society without filter or censorship, and with his documentary-like style choices, “The Last House on the Left” successfully delivers its intended shocks.
Craven’s film is certainly not for everyone, but its influence can be felt on the genre, and look to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974) and “The Evil Dead” (1981) as prime examples.
As the movie begins, life seems to be going swell for Mari Collingwood (Sandra Peabody). It’s her 17th birthday and she’s attending a Bloodlust (that’s the name of the band) concert with her friend Phyllis (Lucy Grantham).
Her parents don’t approve of the band or Phyllis.
When they ask Phyllis what her parents do for a living, she says they are in the iron and steel business, “she irons and he steals.”
Mari and Phyllis leave for the show, but not before drinking booze in the woods and walking around town looking for drugs. As fate would have it, they stumble upon the wrong dealer, because once the pair enter the apartment, three men – Krug, Weasel, and Junior – and a woman, Sadie, lock them inside. The four are sicko psychopaths with murder and rape on their minds.
Without a big budget, Craven’s movie feels grainy, raw and real. Some of the performances are wooden at best, but the clothes, haircuts, cluttered apartment, and general on-location setting give an air of realism that make the acts of violence seem much more grisly.
It’s an awfully difficult watch, but “The House on the Left” introduced Wes Craven to the world in 1972.
Wes went on to bigger and bloodier films like “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), but even Freddy Krueger would have nightmares after watching this movie.
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: 3
Martin Kove stars in “The Last House on the Left” (1972)
Martin Kove stars in “The Karate Kid” (1984) with Elisabeth Shue
Elisabeth Shue stars in “Adventures in Babysitting” (1987) with Vincent D’Onofrio
Vincent D’Onofrio stars in “JFK” (1991) with Kevin Bacon
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Wes Craven and Ulla Isaksson
Starring: Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David Hess, Fred J. Lincoln, and Martin Kove
Runtime: 84 minutes
Image credits: American International Pictures