Plot: Mari (Sandra Peabody) is about to turn seventeen and she wants to celebrate in grand fashion, by going to a rock concert with her friend Phyllis (Lucy Grantham), much to the consternation of her straight laced parents. Before the concert, the two girls try to score some weed to enhance the night’s fun, which leads them to Krug (David Hess) and his lowlife friends. The girls are lured in with the promise of drugs, but then held captive and subjected to intense mental, emotional, and physical abuse. Krug is a sadistic, life long criminal who takes great pleasure in tormenting his victims, but his methods prove to be extreme, even for his fellow criminals. As time passes and Krug’s behavior gets more and more cruel, will the girls be able to survive this ordeal and what will become of Krug and his twisted crew?
Entertainment Value: A low rent, exploitation spin on The Virgin Spring, this one has a reputation for nastiness and helped launch Wes Craven as a horror icon, but in truth, it plays like a dark after school special. The premise is a horrific one, but the movie has an odd sense of humor involved that defuses a lot of the tension. The scenes with Krug and the girls are still nasty, without question, but the movie overall doesn’t seem to take the dark premise all that seriously. The ridiculous music, hapless police officers as comic relief, and assorted campy moments are a stark contrast to the rape/revenge elements, but it is still a fun watch. The Last House on the Left also veers into silliness thanks to the cast, who turn in mostly wooden and awkward performances, as well as a finale that is so contrived, it feels like the moral lesson of an after school special. At the same time, the movie is able to make some statements and provide some dark, potent moments, so this is not a slapstick effort, just an inconsistent one. So it might not be the horrific vision of darkness the reputation suggests, but it is a fun movie that fans of both horror and campy b movies should appreciate.
A couple of brief topless scenes pop up here, while more graphic nudity is seen when the two teens are forced to strip down in the woods. This includes some full frontal, but the scenes aren’t as intense or graphic as the reputation suggests. The nastiest elements take place off screen, so the humiliation and degradation is what makes the sequence so hard to watch. This one has some violence and wild moments, but actual bloodshed isn’t that rampant and the effects are low end, to say the least. But we have some switchblade fun, a throat slash, gun shot wounds, chainsaw wounds, and of course, a penis is dispatched in a most pleasant fashion. The gore isn’t frequent or all that splashy, but the almost documentary style helps it still pack a punch. The dialogue here is awful, but in a fun, b movie kind of way that adds to the entertainment. Just ridiculous lines throughout, made even more ludicrous by the cast, who seem to stumble over even simple lines, outside of David Hess’ solid turn. I don’t mean just forgettable writing either, this is horrible, laughable, and often hilarious stuff. As for craziness, the zany dialogue, strange music, awful performances, and the beyond contrived, over the top finale all contribute and make sure this one earns some solid points.
Overall Insanity: 5/10