The Last House on the Left
Director: Wes Craven
This ain't a film you just throw in on Saturday night with the family to spend some quality time together. It's a movie of violation and no remorse, spurned on by the maniacal and unrelenting bastard Krug (played horribly well by David Hess). It's perverted and twisted, shattering the lives of a family with an oddly realistic tangent of a random encounter gone wrong. There's a couple of leaps in credibility the viewer has to make, and some stupid cops thrown in to lighten the overall mood, but overall this movie is a pretty shocking film. It's kind of a joke now to watch the included trailer, but it got a lot of attention at the time and is kinda true. This movie really isn't for the faint of heart or casual viewer.
It's young Mari's birthday, and she has finally become an adult. Her doting parents are relatively "hip" (it is from the early 70's, you know), and respect this new change in her, allowing her to go into New York for a rock concert despite their concerns. The foreshadowing is pretty obvious that something bad may happen to Mari and her friend. It does, in a frighteningly real way.
There's a lot of technical problems with the movie, but ultimately it is a low-budget horror film that does what it sets out to do by first-time director Wes Craven. By overlapping violence and depravity over this idyllic Connecticut setting and blossoming innocence of Mari, it's still shocking even today. Some horribly bad music as well, which kinda supports this juxtaposition, but it's so dated now and rather cheesy. It is interesting to note that David "Krug" Hess actually did the music for the film. Fuckin crazy bastard even wrote some tunes for the likes of Elvis, including "All Shook Up" (no shit). Returning to his horror roots, he's recently worked on some music for Eli Roth's upcoming Cabin Fever. Who'd of thunk?
Great Scene: Krug's power over his jonesing kid Junior that ends with a bullet in the head.
DVD Notes: MGM putting out a double-sided disc with Standard/Widescreen versions, with quite a few extras on the film. Wes Craven does quite a bit of commentary both onscreen and off in the various segments, from a great 29 minute featurette done in 2002 with most of the majors talking about their experiences to Outtakes and Dailies to a "Forbidden Footage" segment in which he and producer Sean Cunningham talk about not only the nature of the film itself, but the difficulty in trying to piece together as complete of a movie as they could since many of the original prints had been censored by various projectionists/religious groups/etc. The original trailer is included as well, and just makes the film seem hokey. Special note: there are actually different "Extras" on each side of the disc. Both include commentary by Craven and Cunningham.