Based on Ingmar Bergman’s Swedish film The Virgin Spring (1959) starring Max von Sydow, Last House On The Left was promoted with the tagline “To avoid fainting, just keep repeating it’s only a movie … it’s only a movie!”
This legendary graphic shocker, infused by a repellent Vietnam sensibility, put director Wes Craven on the road to horror fame.
Two girls are kidnapped on the way to a rock concert by four sadistic convicts and are subjected to humiliating rape, torture, and death. Their parents then mete out an equally horrific revenge when the foursome conveniently turn up on their doorstep.
With hardcore violence running a grisly gamut from sodomy, urination, disembowelment and oral castration, this hard-to-watch and highly controversial cult film gains enormous power from its low-budget trappings and cinema vérité approach.
With David Hess giving one of the most evil performances in cinema history as the gang leader, this highly upsetting and uncomfortable viewing experience remains a benchmark in the annals of cinematic offensiveness.
Avoid the 2008 remake at all costs. It stinks.
Gaylord St James