The Last House on the Left Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 24, 2013
This is the infamous movie that spawned one of the best taglines of all-time (the trailer warns the viewers to reiterate "it's only a movie"). While it isn't as crushingly scarifying as the promotion might indicate, 'The Last House on the Left' is unflinchingly brutal. The cinema-verite method really enhances the amateurish production value and the performers seem remarkably unrehearsed. "The Road Leads to Nowhere" is the perfect anthem for the film's prescient opening over salacious shots of Mary in the shower. Any other misogynistic exploitation film would linger on the nudity and infer that Mary's promiscuous outfit was the catalyst for her rape and demise. Instead Wes Craven counterbalances the female credulity with an incisive social commentary on the backfiring of the Flower-Power Era. Lest anyone suspect that the movie is without shortcomings, the cutaways to a buffoonish sheriff and deputy are tonally excruciating slapstick. The revenge elements in the last act are not handled with a pandering, crowd-pleasing sensationalism. When the parents finally retaliate against the attackers, it is a pyrrhic victory since their proactive stance of eye-for-eye cannot resurrect the two girls who were slain. While the film is certainly lopsided due to the Keystone-Kops antics, 'The Last House on the Left' is an underrated entry in the lost-innocence subgenre.
Super Reviewer
½ October 19, 2012
I know I saw them backwards, but I must compare this to the remake. It's like a cartoon compared to that film. The tone is all over the place, going from comedy to thriller in an instant (not successfully I might add), the acting is pretty awful, the story is not as compelling (they changed things in the remake and it was definitely better), and the overall feel of this movie is just so cheesy sometimes. The soundtrack is out of place with what the film is depicting and is just laughable. This is a 70's low budget B movie in vein of Romero, but it's not good. It's fairly entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. Everything that was good about the remake (well shot, edited, and acted) is exactly what is wrong with this one. I will give it points for pushing the envelope of the film industry though. Wes Craven has done much better films than this one.
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2006
A horror film in the true sense of the word. This is one of the finest low budget grindhouse/exploitation films ever made. It's not all that dissimilar from many of those films, a great deal of which are far inferior, but what sets this films apart is that it makes an effort at having artistry, albeit slightly.

This is an all together gruesome affair, but the film hits the audience with more than just a visceral punch to the gut. It hits hard emotionally and mentally as well. You could write an academic essay arguing how morality plays into the film, and could easily provide an argument defending what Mari's parents do as justifiable, even though what they do is almost as bad as what Krug and Co. do. The fact that the audience can identify with the girls and feel sorry for them is what makes this an unforgettable and terrifying film.

It's low budget and the time period that it was made are easily seen, but those are forgiveable if everything else works, but also can help a film at times, giving it a more raw and messy feel that only adds to the atmosphere. As horrifying as the film can be, something does stick out.The music is rather contrasting, leading to a very mixed film tonally. Use of contrasting music doesn't always pan out successfully, and I wonder why the film couldn't just pick a tone and stick with it. That's pretty much my only real issue though.

If you can find this one, give it a shot. It's by no means perfect, but is certainly a great work nonetheless.
Super Reviewer
½ April 26, 2012
How Wes Craven was aloud to make another film after this travesty is beyond me. Wes Craven seemed to have been so focused on being shocking and grotesque, that he forgot to make an actual movie. Everything about this schlock screams amateurism and incompetence. The acting is laughable, the dialogue is ridiculous, the editing is inept, and the film's tone is all over the place. The film makes very misguided attempts at juxtaposition by playing cheesy 70's folk music and having annoying "comedic" banter between the film's two sherifs. The film's use of comedic interludes between the torture scenes with the two main girls are not only inappropriate but frustrated me at the thought that the filmmakers thought it was a good idea. Take away the film's sadistic torture and rape scenes, their is little in the way of actual artistic merit. The story is very bland and light, with absolutely zero plot twists. There is nothing horrifying, thrilling, or funny about this film, it is just a shameless exercise in sadism. This movie is neither a horror flick nor a thriller, it is just garbage made by hacks that was only made to shock, nothing more.
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2011
Krug Stillo: Listen to daddy. I want you to take the gun, and I want you to put it in your mouth, and I want you to turn around and blow your brains out. Blow your brains out, BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT! 

"Mari, 17, is dying. Even for her, the worst is yet to come."

I've seen Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left, three times now. Despite, its classification as a classic of the horror genre, I really don't care for it. Forty years after its release, this just doesn't have the same effect on people that it did when it came out. Upon release, it was a controversial shocker. Now, it is just a badly acted exploitation film that has dated horribly and features some of the most godawful music I have ever heard in a movie. Nothing really fits together. Craven is making a sadistic shocker, but misses out on some key elements he needed. The tone is all wrong for a film like this and everything is overblown to the point of ridiculousness. Such as Krug's crime that originally landed him in prison. He had killed a priest and two nuns, and now he has his son hooked on heroin so he can control him. Craven wants to make us fear these characters, but all we can do is laugh at them because they are so terribly written. 

This isn't the horror classic some describe it as. It's early Wes Craven and it has the same look and feeling of his The Hills Have Eyes movies. Neither of which do I like either. I like the remake of The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes much, much more than Craven's original. This is do mainly to the fact that they make things more serious and achieve a much heavier and more terrifying tone. Carven's initial thought with The Last House on the Left had a lot of potential. It all just went downhill with all the lousy dialogue and characters. 

Sadistic movies have definitely came worse than this one, though. It isn't the worst movie of its kind that you could watch, but the classic status it has received is annoying and unwarranted. All it is, is a movie that pissed a lot of people off in 1972, that looks like a cheap and poorly made exploitation film. There's hundreds of those and they don't get this classic status. You may feel you need to watch this one, especially if you are a horror fan, but there is really no need. 
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2010
This movie has been deemed one of the most depraved horror films ever. The movie shows graphic rape, and torture scenes. It'll make you uneasy. I'm usually not squeamish watching films like this; but for this one I was. The story is unsparing. Wes Craven leaves nothing out. It's violent and gory and horrifying all at once. I personally think that this was The Devil's Rejects of its day. And that says a lot. The film overall is great; I definitely felt uneasy. One of the most disturbing horror films ever. The film has a lot of tension, which really elevates the film . There some good performances here, obviously David Hess' performance being the standout here. The Last House on the Left is a powerful film that plays on your deepest fear to create effective terror that will distu8rb you. This film was only surpassed in disturbing content by Cannibal Holocaust in 1980. This film is not for the faint of heart, and for a horror fan who's seen a lot of the genre, that says a lot. Fans of horror exploitation will surely enjoy this ride into madness, and this is a film that you will not soon forget. The actors are chilling in their on-screen menace and the two actresses that are being raped by the gang are very effective in their performances. This is a a powerful that redefined exploitation horror. I very much enjoyed the film, but I found it hard to watch as well. If you're not used to these types of film s, then you should pass up on this one. If you love all types of horror, and haven't seen this, then pick it up; it's a memorable ride into madness.
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2012
A lot better than you might have expected. The Last House on the Left is a classic 70's exploitational horror movie with most of the scares and thrills coming not from the gore, but from the irony, tragedy and atmosphere.
Super Reviewer
January 15, 2012
I saw the remake before I saw this one, the original. I have to say, the remake is far better and both feel like totally different films, but this film is good in its own right as well.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2011
Last House On The Left is an example of early 1970's exploitation cinema that deals with Mari (Sandra Cassell) and her friend Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) as they indulge on the eve of Mari becoming a woman ie. turning seventeen years old. They go to a concert in the big, bad city and wind up in the hands of Krug (David Hess) and his gang of fugitives. In the process of heading for Canada both girls are tortured, raped, and eventually killed. Ironically, their car breaks down in front of the home of Mari's parents (Gaylord St. James and Cynthia Carr). The group spends the night at their house posing as traveling insurance salesmen, but what happens when Mari's parents find out who they really are and what they did.

So what is Last House On The Left? Is it an early work of genius from Wes Craven? A masterpiece that showed a man that was well on his way to create films like The Hills Have Eyes and Nightmare On Elm Street? Is this effect doubled because it was produced by Sean "Friday The 13th" Cunningham? This is why the legend of this movie has grown as much as it has- because of the folks involved in it. This film is no different than the hundreds of other drive-in exploitation films that were being pumped out of various producers garages in the early 1970's. It's no better and no worse. A bad script, bad acting, a lack of money, and an inexperienced director makes this film almost laughable if it wasn't for the violence on the screen. That's the key to a film like this and I Spit On Your Grave. A quote comes to mind when thinking about these two films. One comes from Roger Ebert's original review of Spit in which he discusses a fellow patron at the theater he was watching the film at saying "that was a good one" at the end of one of the numerous rapes scenes in that film. There's an audiences for stuff like this. It's like porn. Screw the plot, as long as it has that stuff and an unsatisfying conclusion.

Just look at this like a rough draft for some of the films that Wes Craven would make later. It's his first one so we can't be to hard on the guy. it was the genre in 1972. But a classic of horror cinema? If that's the case then you can call a used piece of toilet paper a classic too.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
This is the original, do not see the remake! This movie is crazy and more horrific than the new one. If you love horror movies, you can't miss this one.
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2009
This is one of the most effective and well done American horror movies of the seventies and it still has the same effect to this day. What Wes Craven did is create a true sense of terror because the story is every parents worst nightmare for their children. A young girl is kidnapped with her friend on the way to a concert. Then subsequently force-addicted to heroin. Rape is also involved, as well as the death of both girls. The rest is a really original ans suspenseful revenge story that will never probably be matched. The filming and style is extremely surreal and almost too close to a super-8 home movie, maybe that's why it feels so real to a lot of people. This to me is what people epitomize the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre to be.
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2007
Whether you love it or hate it (there really seems to be no in-between), you must admit that Last House on the Left is a powerful film. In my opinion, it may be one of the most important American films ever made. Screw Scream--this is Wes Craven's best. Combining professional and amateurish elements on a low budget, it has the scratchy, over-saturated look of a perverse home movie--and the rough edges make it all the more unforgettable. The actors are very good, especially David A. Hess in his definitive role as sadistic sex murderer Krug and Jeramie Rain as a deranged woman obviously modeled after Sadie Glutz. The brutal rape-murders and scenes of vengeance are staged in a chilling, claustrophobic manner that makes you feel like you're there. Oddly enough, the clash of light (the comically inept cops, the cheery soundtrack) and dark elements creates a juxtaposition that's even more disturbing; despite what's happening, the three nuts are enjoying themselves without remorse and the rest of the world just bounces along obliviously. Also, the cop scenes often provide a necessary break from the brutality, giving you a brief second to breathe before plunging you back in. A tone of grim tension is maintained throughout, and it clings to you long after you've left the Last House. How, you ask, could a person enjoy something like this? Because it does what a horror movie is ultimately supposed to do, and I know that in the end, "It's only a movie...only a movie...only a movie..."
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2009
Okay, I told myself I wouldn't use the word "disturbing" in any more of my reviews, but I just can not talk about LAST HOUSE without saying it.
Super Reviewer
½ September 9, 2009
I'm not sure what to think of this...It was a good movie...but there was something missing....I can't put my finger on it
Super Reviewer
February 15, 2009
A 'cult classic' 'a really nail biting horror', well i dont think so, admittedly for a 1970's movie i wasnt expecting it to be good but the 70's really dont know how to set the mood really, it was mainly set in the daylight with reasonably happy music which really doesnt set the scene, it doesnt keep you on the edge of your seat of keep you interested in the movie at all i wazs actually surprised i watched it all!
first the story starts of with to girls who fall into the hands of 3 criminals wanted for murder then when they are finished with the girls they stay at the house on the left where they meet there match!!!
Really unsuppenseful and boring!
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2009
A quite different 1972 horror film written and directed by Wes Craven and produced by Sean S. Cunningham of "A Nightmare on Elm Street"and "Friday the 13th" notoriety.
The film is the tale of a pair of teenage girls on their way to a rock concert for one's seventeenth birthday. Things go utterly awry when they attempt to score marijuana on the way to the show from a young man who turns out to be a member of a gang of psychotic convicts.
The realism of this film is what makes it horrific, and a reminder of what is so possible in our world.
I must applaud Craven for his work because it's unlike anything I've seen in the genre. You can see the ground this film laid for slasher films yet to come even though this film lies in a genre of it's own.
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2006
Krug Stillo: We don't wanna off someone first night out. I mean, it'd be a shame to get this floor all messed up with blood.

Further proof that the 70s were a wonderful time for horror films, although this is less of a horror film and more of a series of unfortunate and fucked up events involving two teenage girls and a group of escaped psychotic killer convicts.

Wes Craven's first feature film is one that is designed to make you feel uncomfortable. It features nasty characters doing horrible things to innocent people. The acting and dialog of some of the characters is somewhat hokey early on, but its low budget and gritty approach makes it both forgivable and still disturbing.

The twist in the third act further turns the story on its head and certainly brings the movie into its appropriate cult classic horror status.

Cheap, engaging, and disturbing.

Krug Stillo: Listen to daddy. I want you to take the gun, and I want you to put it in your mouth, and I want you to turn around and blow your brains out. Blow your brains out, BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT!
Super Reviewer
½ January 10, 2009
Two teenaged girls are kidnapped by a gang of lowlifes and raped and abused. Zero suspense, zero comic relief, zero art, only a willingness to depict naked sadism in loving detail.
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2008
Set the bench mark when release in 1972.A truely gritty and unpleaset movie .
This movie is very badly dateted now and might put off a lot of horror/movie fans but if so still worth checking out for Wes Craven first movie.
Super Reviewer
½ February 2, 2008
Wes Craven's debut has caused me to have many a debate with other horror fans, who think the movie doesn't have the same ability to shock in today's market, but I was freaked out, whereas most current stuff of this type just makes me laugh. I think the characters have alot, for me, to do with sustaining the fear this movie can generate.Horror Not to Miss List Commentary:As so many films have been influenced by this one little no budget indie project (and two of horror's biggest names Craven and Sean Cunningham began their careers with it), it is essential viewing for horror students. And for those who want a movie with realistic killers and fully expressed personalities, watch this instead of your SawHostel tripe."So Fucked Up" highlight: forcing the girl to urinate herself (actress really did it on set)
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