Last House on the Left title

AKA Krug and Company, Grim Company, The Mens Room,Sex Crime of the Century, Night of Vengeance

Tag Line : To avoid fainting, just keep repeating, it's only a movie...only a movie...only a movie.

Last House on the LeftMany years before becoming a household name with the successes of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and the "Scream" trilogy, Wes Craven entered the horror world with this low budget exploitation shocker, which he made with Sean S. Cunningham and Steve Miner, who themselves went onto greater successes in the horror world with the film "Friday the 13th".

The story centre's around a young girl named Mari Collingwood (Sandra Cassel), who is celebrating her 16th birthday by going to see a rock concert with her friend Phyllis (Lucy Grantham). On their way to the concert hall, they call in at a nearby flat hoping to score some dope. Unfortunately they find they've been tricked, and the occupants are not at all interested in selling drugs.

They are in fact 4 escaped criminals. Krug Stillo (David Hess), his girlfriend Sadie (Jeramie Rain), son Junior (Marc Sheffler) and accomplice Fred "Weasel" Podowski (Fred J. Lincoln) who've just broken out of jail and are looking for some fun and excitement of their own.

Having held the girls hostage overnight, they're then loaded into the boot of their getaway car and driven into the countryside, where they are marched into the woods and subjected to various indignities and torture. Phyllis is instructed to "piss her pants", then strip off with Mari and start "making out" together. Krug and Weasel then take to torturing the two girls with knives, with Phyllis being brutally stabbed to death and Mari having Krug's name carved onto her chest, before finally being raped and shot.

But when their getaway car breaks down, they are forced to call in at a nearby house for help. As it turns out, the place actually happens to belong to Mari's parents, who agree to let them stop over till the local garage opens in the morning. But upon discovering who these people are and what they've done to their daughter and friend, they decide to exact an equally brutal and bloody revenge on the killers, by means of shotguns, chisels and chainsaws.

Whilst this is not the sort of film you would expect Craven, Cunningham and Miner to be associated with, what is particularly odd is that the vile scenes of torture and humiliation are bizarrely offset by some rather inappropriate "jolly" sounding country and western music, along with some comedic scenes of 2 goofy cops, who spend most of the film wandering through the woods after their police car runs out of fuel. Presumably done in a failed attempt to inject some humour into the plot.

If you enjoy exploitation pics, or are interested in seeing Cravens earlier works before turning mainstream, then I would like to recommend it to you. But don't expect to see buckets of blood and gore (of which there is very little), the films notoriety and the fact it was rejected by the UK censors, stems from the prolonged scenes of rape and humiliation of the two girls.

Overall Marks : 6/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The film Claims to be based on a true story, however in actuality it was a reworking of the short story "The Virgin Spring" by Ingmar Bergman.

  • This film marked the directorial debut of Wes Craven, who went on to direct the successful "The Hills Have Eyes", before achieving worldwide recognition with the hugely popular "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream" trilogy. The film also introduced Sean S. Cunningham and Steve Miner to the horror world. They returned with the classic "Friday the 13th" in 1980, in which Cunningham directed and Miner produced.

  • Steve Miner went on to direct, "Warlock", "Halloween H20" and "Lake Placid".

  • The soundtrack was composed and performed by the leading actor, David Hess. Prior to acting, Hess had worked in the music industry and has even written songs for Elvis Presley. After the relative success of Last House, he went on to play a similar character in Ruggero Deodato's "House by the Edge of the Park", which was inspired by this film.

  • The film was submitted to the BBFC for a cinema certificate in 1972, but was rejected. The film was later released onto UK video in the early 80's, which was uncut in terms of violence but missed out the scene of the 2 cops trying to hitch a ride on a chicken truck. This was however subsequently listed on the governments "Video Nasties" hitlist and prosecuted for being "obscene", and so was withdrawn.

  • Fred Lincoln, who played "Weasel", went on to be a director of pornographic films, and to date has a string of over 250 adult titles to his credit.

  • The film was re-submitted for a UK cinema certificate in 1999, but was rejected again after the distributors refused to make cuts. The film was shown at special horror festivals around the country, where permission had been granted from the local councils. The film was submitted for a third time in 2001, this faired much better and the censors agreed to pass the film with 4 minor cuts totalling 16s, but the distributors decided to appeal against this. Unfortunately they lost and the BBFC subsequently increased the number of cuts required to 31s after the appeals committee raised objections about how little they were insisting on cutting (so much for trying). The full uncut version was finally passed in 2008.

  • The Sheriff's deputy was played by Martin Kove, who went on to play Detective Vic Isbecki in the popular 80's cop show "Cagney & Lacey" as well as starring in a string of popular action movies, most notably "Rambo-First Blood Part 2" and "The Karate Kid" series of films.

  • The US R rated release was VERY heavily cut, missing out most of the violence and sexual activity. A supposedly uncut release was available in the US by Vestron video although this still missed out a lot of footage compared to the current US DVD. There is still, apparently, quite a bit of footage missing from all current releases, but as no fully complete prints still exist, the current DVD releases are as complete a version that were ever likely to see.

  • Apparently some out-takes from the intestinal pulling scene turned up in the in movie "Confessions of a Blue Movie Star" as part of a tagged-on ending, which would seem to suggest that much more footage was filmed, however these extra scenes have never been included in any actual release of the film.

  • A bootleg print of the film entitled "Krug and Company" started circulating in the UK in the mid 80's, this included the chicken truck scene and some additional gore on the intestine pulling scene, but shortened the parts where Krug carves his name into Mari's chest with a flick knife and the subsequent rape of Mari. To date this has only been released on the UK special edition DVD.

  • In the mid 80's Sean Cunningham planned to make an official sequel, tentatively titled "Last House on the Left part 2", which was to have been directed by Friday the 13th Part 5's Danny Steinman. However, and despite taking out numerous trade adds, the project never got off the ground.

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Other films in the series.

Last House on the Left (2009)


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