Do you want to buy a home in Boulder neighborhoods in Colorado? If you are tired of not being able to find Colorado real estate that fits your price range or needs, let our Colorado home finder website do all of the work for you. If you are looking for Fort Collins homes or you just want to purchase Colorado land, sign online today!
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT
Review by Michael Jacobson
David Hess, Lucy Grantham, Sandra Cassel, Marc Sheffler, Fred J. Lincoln,
Director: Wes Craven
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1, Full Frame 1.33:1
Features: See Review
Length: 84 Minutes
Release Date: August 27, 2002
I want you to be careful tonight. Your
mother tells me this place you’re going is in a bad neighborhood…”
Craven is a director who has managed to rejuvenate the horror genre in each of
the last three decades. He did it
with Scream in the 90s, and with Nightmare on Elm Street in the
80s. Though both of those films
went on to become successful franchises, one could argue that neither were as
influential as his first film, the 1972 release The Last House on the Left.
Modestly budgeted and crafted, it was a picture in which Craven
stated he wanted to take himself and his audience to the darkest, most horrible
place imaginable. After it was
over, he admitted that he never wanted to go there again.
House is as
celebrated and as reviled a horror picture that has ever graced the
screen…revolutionary at the time of its release for going further than any
picture had before, it spawned many mimickers who would take it even farther.
Looking at Craven’s original film today, it doesn’t seem quite so
strong in terms of what it shows…yet he had audiences losing their popcorn and
candy as they sat in the theatre and watched!
film plods along at the beginning with a cheesy song soundtrack (with tunes
co-written and sung by star David Hess) and even evidence of twisted humor.
But when it turns, it turns quickly.
And strongly. Craven merely
coaxed his viewers to let their guards down before he unleashed his fury.
a simple story of two young ‘liberated’ girls, Mari (Cassel) and Phyllis
(Grantham) on their way to the seedy part of town for a rock show.
They never make it, as their paths cross with a group of violent escaped
convicts led by the maniacal Krug (Hess). They
humiliate the girls, force them into atrocious acts, and torture them…and it
gets even worse.
in horror films was nothing new, to be sure, but Craven was interested in
completely exploring how horrible it really was. He creates this not just with bloodletting, but with the
intensity of the performances and willingness to push his cast into the dark
corners of their psyches. The
result is a horrific emotional overload that create images both memorable and
Craven has more up his sleeve with his screenplay. The murderous troupe ironically end up as guests in the house
owned by Mari’s parents. And when
they figure out what these monsters have done to their little girl…well,
let’s just say the first act of the movie was only a warm up. The second half includes every man’s worst nightmare, and
if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you need to see the film for
yourself. I don’t envy your
humor plays against the grit almost sadistically…after driving you to the
point where the last thing you want to do is laugh, the sudden shifts in tone
seem almost irresponsible and evil. Two
bungling cops would be amusing in another movie…here, their antics and
ineptness fail to prevent the bloodbath we have to sit uncomfortably
through…kind of hard to chuckle at that point.
demons Craven wanted to get out of his system and onto the screen, he seems to
have done it with this picture. He
relaxed into making a string of frightening, bloody, but considerably more fun
films that helped establish him as a legend.
But The Last House on the Left remains a movie that doesn’t fit
into that category, and proves that Craven’s devilish imagination can be
downright dangerous, too.
DVD marks the best presentation of Last House I’ve ever seen, but given
its age, budget, and notorious handling over the years, there are inherent
problems that might be too big to completely overcome.
MGM’s anamorphic offering does much to improve the overall imagery with
better clarity and color, but there wasn’t much they could do about the state
of the print, which is occasionally grainy, scratchy, and dingy.
Horror fans needn’t look away from this disc, by any means…they
should simply understand that this could never and won’t ever be a reference
quality visual product.
mono soundtrack is pretty standard fare, with minimal noise for its age and lack
of expense. Dialogue is clear, the
music sounds fine, the shrieks and screams cut through with efficient
power…overall, about what you would expect; nothing more or less.
extras are where this disc really shines…it begins with Wes Craven’s
personal introduction and his assurance that the version of the film you are
about to see is as complete as can be (the original running time was 91 minutes,
but prints over the years have been carelessly cut down by projectionists and
theatre owners, and Craven himself has admitted that version is gone forever).
Craven and producer Sean S. Cunningham, a horror legend in his own right,
team up for a fun commentary that’s not quite as informative as I would have
hoped, but both gents seem to be having a good time going through the film again
after so many years.
“It’s Only a Movie” featurette is better with information…plenty of
interviews with Craven, Cunningham and select cast members, who all discuss
their reactions to the material and their lives after having been part of it!
There is also a collection of outtakes and dailies, an original trailer,
and an extra featurette on “forbidden footage”, which address the parts of
the film that were most often censored. Interestingly
enough, there is an extended take of the “intestine” sequence that Craven
himself excised, believing he had gone too far with it.
This is a solid package of features that horror fans will really devour!