The Last House On The Left (1972)

The Last House On The Left 1972lasthouseontheleft
Director: Wes Craven
Notable Appearances: Nameless
Genre: Horror, B-Movie

To put the story as simply as possible; two girls get raped and murdered by some escaped convicts.  And quite gruesomely at that.  Afterwards, the family of one of the deceased exacts their revenge, just as gruesomely, if not more fantastically.  It’s been just over forty years since this film was released and since then we’ve seen that story repeated many times (most notably in the good old Deathwish franchise – RIP Charles Bronson), but it’s the practically home movie quality cinematography that sets this film apart and turns shoddy acting and the barest of plot into an American classic of abject horror.  This is pure, unadulterated, b-grade filmmaking at it’s best.  There is no pretense or attempt to try and seem low-grade and underground here because they were truly flying by the seat of their pants and working with the barest of essentials necessary to make a movie.  If Goddard’s Breathless signaled the rise of the street-intellectual-auteur, than Wes Craven’s The Last House On The Left signaled the birth of the demented-street-kid-auteur.  The horror in this film comes not from a bizarre situation or a fantastical monster, but instead from terribly real leches of society putting our protagonists through sickening experiences of shame and suffering.  Watching this film in 1972 must have been unimaginably horrifying, but watching it today is to see the beginnings of the “torture-porn” sub-genre of horror films.  Total exploitation.  Every drawback of this film, every negative standard of movie-making, turns into a positive due to it’s style and attitude.  As a viewer, you revel in it’s inept moments and bask in it’s demented splendor.  Hypothetically, it’s a perfect film because whenever it goes wrong, it gets better.  It’s use of music being one of the best examples.  Absolutely ridiculous choices come across as irreverent and such comedic instances, in the face of far darker occurrences, create an insane tone.  It’s not dark comedy, it’s black madness.  What a totally fucked up movie.
Five stars.