Monday Movie: The Last House on the Left, by David Bax

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1 Response

  1. Boy, I wish I could find the reference today. I think it’s from a Fresh Air interview, a full one, not the restrospective clips one aired after Wes Craven passed. I’m pretty sure it’s the only interview I’ve heard with him, so I’ll say it was Terry Gross who asked him about Last House, and he eventually talked about the humor, those cops particularly, and said that was just inept film making. Either it was that he’d thought he should provide relief from the darkness, in a sort of auto-pilot way, or he thought he was just a bad writer at the time, but that aspect, the humor in the film, is what he would cut, if anything, and not for moral reasons – he just dropped the ball with those scenes, didn’t know what he was doing.

    Otherwise, and you’ll find this in any interview he gives about it, the point of the brutality was that in films at the time, violence had become fun. It was balletic, or cool, not real, like what was going on in Viet Nam, for instance, and he wanted people to reappraise what it really meant to treat human beings this way. Hearing that interested me in seeing this picture, sort of again. A friend and I tried it on videotape, terrible looking stuff, and we just turned it off. We found it laughable, both the humor scenes you cite (though we read them the way Craven seems to’ve late in life) and we just weren’t tolerant of its rawness, which we saw as cheapness. I was surprised to be interested in checking it out after those interviews, and after seeing The Virgin Spring, and realizing just how directly Last House is a remake of that Bergman film, cold brutality (if less graphic) included.

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