Saturday, February 28, 2009

Guest Review #2: "Last House On The Left"

[This is the 2nd Guest Review of "Last House On The Left" by A Wonderful Nightmare]

Here it is thanks for letting em do this :'D

I just wanna thanks to Kappa for letting me do this. Ok here's my review to the cult classic "Last House on the Left".In case you`ve just lived in an alternate universe for the past few decades, you already know the rep of director Wes Craven and his good bud Sean S. Cunningham that made such classics as "Scream" and "Friday the 13th". But if you didn`t know how these renowned horrormeisters came by their talent for the twisted, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is the film where this gruesome twosome literally "made their bones."

Still at the student/indie level (read: broke as hell), and angry about that, about the turbulent times they lived in (Manson, Vietnam, etc.) and really pissed off about not being able to make their "dream projects" come to life, writer/director Craven and producer Cunningham decided to channel their extreme ire into one muther of a low-budget ordeal. LHOTL was the end product of all that rage, and man, does it show, even today!

"Borrowed" mostly from the plot for Bergmann`s VIRGIN SPRING, it begins simply and without any inkling of the horrors to come. Two best friends, the comely Marie (Sandra Cassel) and free-spirited Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) are on their way to a rock concert. Both girls decide that a little herb will make the music go down so much smoother, and when they meet local dealer Junior Stillo (Marc Sheffler), they decide to go with him to score some grass. REALLY, really bad idea, girls.

Junior wants to take the two girls to party with him and his friends, alright, but Marie and Phyllis soon find out that said party is being given in the Ninth Circle of Hell...and guess who are about to become the bloody party favors? Once they meet the sadistic kin of Junior, Krug Stillo (David Hess in the role that made him infamous), Stillo`s buddy Weasel (Fred J. Lincoln) and his slatternly sidekick, Sadie (Jeramie Rain), all bets are off, and the girls are toast, but not before they are subjected to some of the most brutal rape/torture sequences ever put on film.
You would think the film`s obviously low-budget origins would work against it, but because of the documentary-style look and feel it has, the scenes out in the woods are made that much more disturbing and realistic. About the biggest fault I can find with LH at this point, is when Craven attempts to inject a little humor into the dark proceedings, via two really inept cops who make Boss Hogg and Roscoe on THE DUKES OF HAZZARD seem like potential members of Mensa.

I understand that when a movie takes you on a ride this dark and doom-laden, a little comic relief can sometimes be a welcome thing. But this sequence goes too far over the top, and is so jarringly different from the rest of the story, that it pulls you right out of the atmosphere the movie has already established. So, as much as the audience needs to have a break, I would`ve preferred it if Craven had just left the slapstick routine on the cutting room floor.
But, where was I? Oh, yeah! Back to assault, rape, disembowlment and gunplay, as this trio of lowlifes torture both girls and leave them for dead. But that`s where the REAL fun begins!
For those who have never seen this cruel classic, the less you know about what happens next, the better. Let it suffice to say that Krug and Company eventually do get theirs, and that retribution comes from the unlikeliest of places as brutality ultimately breeds more violence. Or as the ads moaned menacingly: "Nothing can prepare you for the HORRORS that will take place inside the LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT."

Since the stakes have been ramped up to the nth degree in the years following its initial release, LHOTL is remembered more by horror fans in a gauzy haze of putrid affection, as being more horrifying than it actually is, by today`s standards. (Compare LH`s gore to something like the murder scenes from HIGH TENSION, and you`ll see what I mean.) Nevertheless, you`ll feel like a nice, long, hot shower and yet another screening of DUDE, WHERE`S MY CAR? may be just the ticket after watching this one.

My Rating out of 5:Plot: 4 Acting: 3.5 Gore: 4.5 Nudity: 3 Scare Factor: 4.5 Overall: 4.5Its a definate watch for any true horror fan

(Thanks for the review Nightmare!)

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