The Last House on the Left (1972)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Gritty '70s looking movie

The acting is quite poor at points

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Last House on the Left

Studio:  Sean S. Cunningham Films

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s): Movie Release Date

MPAA Rating:  X


I’m thinking we should have just gone to the concert.

A night out at a concert leads to danger for Mari Collingwood (Sandra Cassell) and her friend Phyllis Stone (Lucy Grantham) when they look to score drugs from Krug Stillo (David A. Hess), Fred “Weasel” Podowski (Fred Lincoln), Sadie (Jeramie Rain), and Junior Stillo (Marc Sheffler) who turn out to be escaped convicts.  When tragedy strikes, the convicts happens to find themselves at the home of their victim…and at her parents’ mercy.  Now, Dr. John Collingwood (Gaylord St. James) and his wife Estelle (Cynthia Carr) have the opportunity for revenge and payback can be deadly!

The Last House on the Left is the first film directed by Wes Craven and has quite a horror following.  The movie was an adaptation of Igmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring from 1960 which adapted the medieval Swedish ballad Töres döttrar i Wänge.  The movie was met with controversy and bans but also acclaim for its gritty, dirty style.


Well…I did tell you drugs were bad…

The Last House on the Left is a rough movie.  The first time I saw it, I found it rather gratuitous and unnecessary.  The second time I watched it, I appreciated it for its grindhouse style.  I can go either way on this film and it really is a matter of how it hits me with each viewings.

The story of The Last House on the Left is a basic almost Biblical eye-for-an-eye type tale.  The movie’s almost random encounters remind me a lot of a Dickens’ story or the ending sequence of A Clockwork Orange.  It is rather random and extreme that the rapists/killers end up right near Mari’s house.  The turn-about is rough, but I also don’t feel much danger for the parents…it just becomes a dirty slasher at points.


Teaching the lesson, don’t bite off more than you can chew

The acting for the film is pretty bad, but it also has some high points.  It feels like most of the actors aren’t much above porn quality line delivery though the brutal rape and murder scene is painfully strong and hard to watch…partially due to the realistic nature of the acting.

The movie is almost by definition a grindhouse film.  The nature of the film, the style of the acting, and the low budget look are everything that makes this movie good…and bad at the same time.  It is a definite a blessing and a curse.

The Last House on the Left is a tough watch, but it can also have redeeming qualities.  Like practicaly everything in Hollywood, The Last House on the Left faced remaking.  In 2009, Wes Craven teamed with Dennis Iliadis to have his film remade to similar controversy…but less praise.  If you are going to see The Last House on the Left, see the original, but be warned, it is rough.

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Related Links:

The Virgin Spring (1960)

The Last House on the Left (2009)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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