It’s Only A Movie

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The world lost another grindhouse icon this weekend with the passing of Wes Craven, one of the godfathers of modern horror cinema…I’ve been a fan of his since I was a kid and love just about all of his films…admittedly his catalog is extremely hit-and-miss…but when he was on point he was brilliant and innovative, with an intuitive gift for delving into primal fears…and even his cheesiest films have a campy charm and wit. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the A Nightmare On Elm Street and Scream franchises…but I’m here to talk about his first film, the uncompromisingly brutal exploitation classic Last House On The Left. Two teenage hippies (Lucy Grantham and Sandra Cassel) are on their way to a rock concert and decide to score some grass along the way. Their quest leads them into the clutches of a group of escaped convicts: Krug, their stone cold, sadistic leader (David Hess)…his sleazy, perverse sidekick Weasel (Fred J. Lincoln)…Krug’s feral girlfriend Sadie (Jeramie Rain)…and Krug’s conflicted junkie son Junior (Marc Sheffler). They kidnap the girls and proceed to torture them in every imaginable (and some unimaginable) ways…but that’s nothing compared to the retribution the cons will face when they seek to hide out in the last house on the left. This is that rarest of films…an exploitation picture with a genuine conscience…that shoves violence down your throat til you gag…in all its true ugliness and with its consequences…it’s not about escapist entertainment. It is however leavened occasionally by pitch-black humor and some jokes that are downright corny…but that only adds to the vertigo sensation this movie creates in your moral center…you may at times find yourself actually liking the captors…and feeling repulsed by your own voyeuristic complicity in the crime. My advice? To avoid fainting, keep repeating: It’s only a movie…only a movie…only a movie…

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