Sunday, October 4, 2015


This year for the month of October I am going to blog about the films of Wes Craven. Not all them, but as many as I can.* Let's start things off with his “first” film LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. It wasn't until the late eighties that I knew who Wes Craven was. And I only knew him as the guy who made A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. By the time I got to Jr. High, he was already considered the master of horror. And you were considered an amateur if you had only seen his Freddy Kruger movie. According to the heavy metal kids the Wes Craven film THE HILLS HAVE EYES was where it's at.

I had seen A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS on television and liked it enough that I wanted to see more. But I was still too much of a wuss to rent the horror recommendations at the video store. Especially THE HILLS HAVE EYES. Still to this day Michael Berryman still creeps me out on that box cover. But there was one movie at the video store that I hadn't heard about. And that movie was LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. I knew it was a Wes Craven film because the box cover mentioned something like “Before the nightmare on elm street there was the last house on the left”. Or some crap like that?

I ended up not renting LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT that night, nor any other night for that matter. It wouldn't be until several years later that I'd finally watch the grindhouse exploitation “classic”. And LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT really didn't do anything for me. I understand the films significance in the history of modern horror with it's rape and brutal violence. But there is an element to LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT that hurts the film greatly in my opinion. And that element is the bumbling sheriff and his deputy. I get what the director was trying to accomplish but it just does not work.

Two teenage girls go to the city for a rock concert. While trying to score some weed, Mari and Phyllis get kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts. The gang, lead by the nasty Krug takes the girls out to the middle of nowhere and rapes and murders them.

The psycho killers find a place to stay in the rural area. The homeowners welcome them but soon find out their guests are the ones who murdered their daughter. Enraged, the parents take on the gang and get bloody satisfaction doing it!

If you can get past the silly cops I think the film is great. For a exploitation film to stick with you well after you've seen it is saying a lot for most grindhouse pictures.

The highlight of the film for me is the character Krug, played to perfection by David Hess. When you turn your own son into a junkie just to control him, that's some twisted stuff let me tell you!

If you are a fan of Wes Craven but have never seen his early work, then LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT might be worth checking out.

If you're a fan of horror exploitation, then I'd say the film is highly recommended. But whatever you do, please don't watch the 2009 remake. The last thing the original needs is a sleek looking update. Age (besides the awful soundtrack...and idiotic cops) is the best thing going for LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT.

*It won't just all be Wes Craven films this month. Amazon Prime has a lot of stuff I want to talk about so some of the horror blogs may spill over into November.

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