Monday, January 20, 2014

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Director: Wes Craven

Writers: Wes Craven, Ulla Isaksson

Composer: David Hess

Starring: Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David Hess, Fred J. Lincoln, Jeramie Rain, Marc Sheffler, Richard Towers, Cynthia Carr, Ada Washington, Marshall Anker, Martin Kove, Ray Edwards

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  To avoid fainting, keep repeating: "It's only a movie, only a movie, only a movie...".

Plot: A pair of teenage girls are headed to a rock concert for one's birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, the girls are kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe in twenty years.

I remember watching this for the first time about a decade ago and my biggest beef with the picture was that it didn't live up to its cult horror movie status.  Now it's different and I've got a few issues with it.  The music is largely inappropriate.  Most of the time it doesn't work as if it's been lifted from another movie and dropped into this one without consideration for what scene it's playing to.  There are a couple of times the songs work but that's about it.  I don't know why this is but I usually can't stand seeing local police portrayed is buffoons.  I'm not certain of Craven's mindset when he made this (I might someday listen to the commentary, assuming there is one out there with Craven) but if he was intent on making a a good horror picture then why include silly, playful music and and play the cops for laughs?  If Craven really knew what he was doing, then he's probably including these things in juxtaposition to the horrific things that happen to the girls.  But even still, I think it would be more effective to leave out the music completely for several scenes and lose the funny.  For the most part, everything else works.  The final act is pretty damn solid and I love the ending but that first hour has problems. I really want this film to work but it's hard to really get behind this when the problems I have with it are sprinkled throughout the picture until the kick ass ending.  How's the remake?  I've got it sitting on my shelf but I'm not sure I want to waste my time.

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