1/15/09

Ladies Night Presents: Last House on the Left (1972)

Well, it's that time of the month again...hmmm, let me rephrase that. Welcome back to another edition of Ladies Night with Ms. Directed and Fran Goria, and have they got something special for you. I told a friend of mine what movie the Ladies were reviewing this month and he looked at me and said,"There's a lot of rapin' in that movie." Yes, sir there sure is. So sit back and relax if you can. If not just keep repeating to yourself.. It's only a review... it's  only a review of....

The Last House of the Left (1972) Starring David Hess, Sandra Cassel, Lucy Grantham, Jeramie Rain. Directed by Wes Craven.

It's Marie Collingwood's (Cassel) birthday. She has big plans to go into town with her friend Phyllis (Grantham) to the a show by rockers, Bloodlust. Mary's parents have concerns about her going, but finally they agree. Once they're in the city, the girls try and score some "grass" before the show, and that's how they find Junior. 

He agrees to sell them an ounce of "Colombian grass" for twenty bucks, and all they have to do is come by his apartment. Well, it sounds like a good deal, but when they go up they find Junior's dad, Krug (Hess), Weasel, and Sade (Rain), a trio of hardened criminals. Krug and the Gang kidnap the girls and rape Phillis. The gang then stuffs them into the trunk of a car, and heads out for Canada. 

Unfortunately, the car breaks down on the way out of town, and they have to get rid of the girls. While looking for somewhere to get help, the gang stumble on the Collingwood's home. When terrible secrets are revealed, will anyone survive a night at the last house on the left?

Tid Bits

**Wes Craven's son, Jonathan, makes  a brief appearance as a little boy with a balloon.

**David Hess is also a songwriter under the name David Hill. He composed the soundtrack for Last House, and he is also credited with penning the Elvis Presley tune "All Shook Up"

**Jeramie Rain who played Sadie is now married to Richard Dreyfus. 

**Fred J. Lincoln who played Weasel is now an adult film director. He has sat in the big chair on over 300 of them and won the Critics Adult Film Award for 1983's Go For It. 

   Everything I had heard about this movie had me prepared to tap into my inner Gloria Steinham. I was expecting to be so offended  I would have to picket the Lair to get  copies banned on the Moon . So I settled down in Fran’s living room with my poster making supplies. I had some left over from the great Spice World revolt of 2000. Then starts the movie.

   The happy teenage girl is getting ready to go out. Her parents are shown to be content in there suburban bliss.  This rambles into a scene with her friend and her talking. The footage and the music are so clichĂ© I am sure the next words out of her mouth are going to be about her lack of freshness. Before too long we’re on the wrong side of the tracks. The two girls meet up with the poor mans Manson family and things begin to go really bad.

    Most of the rape is implied and off camera, which is a good choice. It is done well enough to still be intimidating. No impressionable child or for that matter teenager should watch this film. There are some episodes of SVU I can say the something about. That being said,  hard as I might try, I was not offended. 

   I have seen worse rape scenes in critically acclaimed movies. The film doesn’t have randomly naked woman. It is clear Wes Craven did not know how to realistically write a role for a woman, but I have seen Nightmare on Elm street so I was not shocked. Overall, I have seen more sexist things in chick flicks.  The important feature of the movie that keeps it from going over a line is the rape is not confused with consensual sex. So with that put to the side, was it a good movie? 

   My best answer is for the time yes. In the last 2 decades we have had tons of movies that pulled it’s unsuspecting characters out of middle America to there doom. In 1972, the idea that being upper middle class would not protect you and you family was what kept people up at night. The country had gone though the 60’s and the youth had gotten communal in attitude. The newspapers were full of stories about little blonde haired blued eyed cheerleaders being taken apart by there trusting nature.  Sorry to break Nancy Grace’s heart, but her pony wasn’t the first in show.

   Will it stand the test of time as well as Nightmare on Elm Street, no. Is it worth seeing, yes. In conclusion, I have made up a list of groups that can be offended by this movie. Direct all of your protest emails to the Bug, extra credit if you write a bad folk song. 

   1. Parents, for perpetuating the myth you don’t understand. May I suggest next going after   DJ Jazzy Jeff.
   2. Teenage girls, for too long the world has thought you only talk about the size of your breasts.
   3. Drug Dealers, A group long been to stereotype, but  you’re only in business to murder people and rape there children.
   4. Drug user. Movies like this would have us believe that it is an evolutionary imperative you all are removed from the gene pool for being stupid.
   5. Police, not all are inept.
   6. Chicken Truck Drivers Oh sure, make us your comic relief.
   7. Suburban white men, JUST SHOOT HIM WHILE HE’S ASLEEP!

House Rating

Well, I've got to say that I did Enjoy this month's film. I have always liked Wes Craven, and I have heard a lot about this one over the years. I'm not sure why it took me so long to watch it, but I'm glad I finally did. Okay, the acting wasn't... great, but it was good enough. The film looked good, and it flowed though themes of innocence, evil, kidnapping, rape, murder, and vengeance. 

There is even a bit of comic relief with the bumbling Sheriff  and his even more bumbling deputy (Martin Kove of Karate Kid fame) There is one scene of those two trying to catch a ride on a chicken truck which is simply hilarious. You could put that scene into almost any kind of movie and make me a happy girl. 

The soundtrack was a bit strange, but with a songwriting actor who's playing a sadistic rapist doing the score, what did I really expect. It definitely added to the experience. Overall, I would highly recommend this movie and I would definitely watch it again. 

House Rating 

4 comments:

  1. This was a great read. Oddly enough I'm working on an article for BthroughZ about David Hess which focuses on this film along w/Hitch-Hike and House on the Edge of the Park.

    Hey Bug--did I read correctly that you are joining BthroughZ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey there Rev. Yea the Ladies of the Lair did a great job with this one. And speaking of House on the Edge of the Park, I have that coming Saturday.

    Also yes I will be doing a piece for BthroughZ next month covering the blaxploitation horror film JD's Revenge. Voodoo, New Orleans, pimps. It's got it all.

    Thanks for the comment Rev.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I concur, nice read. It was interesting seeing the film examined from two female perspectives and I agree that the rapes were handling appropriately, as horrifying and not in the least bit consensual.

    I gotta disagree with one point, though. I think Nancy from Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the all-time best parts in horror written for a woman. But beside that small quibble, nice work ladies.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This, so far, is the best "Ladies Night" review yet ~ well done ladies! :-)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...