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The Last House on the Left

Year: 1972
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Wes Craven
One of the grotty nasties that cult film fans everywhere are proud to have seen (and that it was impossible to see up until midway through 2005 when it was released uncut on DVD, before that you had to have been lucky enough to find a VHS copy somewhere).

But as most films are that get a huge reputation, nothing in the actual content deserves such high accolades. Craven was apparently making some social comment on the state of American society - particularly with his interspersing the adventures of two police as classic Keystone Kops with scenes of the rapes and terrorising of the two young girls - but he could have done it with a lot more finesse, a more palatable storyline and far more skills in both storytelling and filmmaking.

We all know the story; Psychos torture, rape and murder two young girls before they unwittingly seek refuge at the house one of the girls lived in, welcomed with open arms by her parents who are still worried about where she is. They find out who the gang are, what they've done, and exact sloppy, B-movie revenge.

Nothing in the film is realistic or shows the way people really behave. The woman inviting complete strangers to stay in her house with such inviting congeniality is ridiculous, her reaction to finding her daughter dead pathetic, and her giving one of the gang a blowjob just to bite his dick off absolutely laughable. The acting, dialogue and staging are all of junior high school drama standards.

Besides all that, I turned it on with some trepidation, expecting brutal scenes of rape and torture that would haunt me for weeks. Well, it's been a long time since 1973, and while some scenes are stuff you'd rather not watch, it's hardly a snuff film.

Don't watch it expecting the sort of 80's era gore from films like Maniac when splatter was serious. In fact, don't watch it at all. Be content that you know the mythology behind it and don't waste your time.

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