6.0/10
25,713
458 user 193 critic

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Two teenage girls head to a rock concert for one's birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, they are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychotic convicts.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Popularity
4,036 ( 57)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

On the way to California, a family has the misfortune to have their car break down in an area closed to the public, and inhabited by violent savages ready to attack.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Robert Houston, John Steadman
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An aspiring writer is repeatedly gang-raped, humiliated, and left for dead by four men whom she systematically hunts down to seek revenge.

Director: Meir Zarchi
Stars: Camille Keaton, Eron Tabor, Richard Pace
Crime | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After kidnapping and brutally assaulting two young women, a gang unknowingly finds refuge at a vacation home belonging to the parents of one of the victims: a mother and father who devise an increasingly gruesome series of revenge tactics.

Director: Dennis Iliadis
Stars: Garret Dillahunt, Monica Potter, Tony Goldwyn
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Two adults and a juvenile burglar break into a house occupied by a brother and sister and their stolen children and become trapped.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Brandon Quintin Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae
Adventure | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.

Director: Ruggero Deodato
Stars: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

After her husband dies of mysterious circumstances, a widow becomes increasingly paranoid of the neighboring religious community that may have diabolical plans for her.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Maren Jensen, Sharon Stone, Susan Buckner
Shocker (1989)
Comedy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

After being sent to the electric chair, a serial killer uses electricity to come back from the dead and carry out his vengeance on the football player who turned him in to the police.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Michael Murphy, Mitch Pileggi, John Tesh
New Nightmare (1994)
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A demonic force has chosen Freddy Krueger as its portal to the real world. Can Heather play the part of Nancy one last time and trap the evil trying to enter our world?

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Jeff Davis
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two siblings visit their grandfather's grave in Texas along with three of their friends and are attacked by a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

A prank goes too far for the popular students at Hamilton High as they begin to pay for their actions 10 years later at their high school reunion.

Director: Steve Goltz
Stars: Stephanie Leigh Rose, Spencer Harlan, Matty Dorschner
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sandra Peabody ...
Mari Collingwood (as Sandra Cassell)
Lucy Grantham ...
...
Krug Stillo (as David A. Hess)
Fred J. Lincoln ...
Fred 'Weasel' Podowski (as Fred Lincoln)
Jeramie Rain ...
Marc Sheffler ...
Richard Towers ...
Dr. John Collingwood (as Gaylord St. James)
Cynthia Carr ...
Ada Washington ...
Ada
Marshall Anker ...
Sheriff
...
Deputy
Ray Edwards ...
Postman
Edit

Storyline

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Mari Collingwood tells her parents that she is going to the concert of underground band Bloodlust in New York with her friend Phyllis Stone. She borrows the family's car and heads with her friend to a dangerous neighborhood in the city. Meanwhile, the sadistic and cruel escapees Krug Stillo and Fred 'Weasel' Podowski are hidden in a hideout with their partners Sadie (Jeramie Rain) and Krug's addicted son Junior Stillo (Marc Sheffler) after killing two guards and one shepherd in their runaway. The two girls seek marijuana near the theater and meet Junior that offers some Colombian grass to them. They go to his apartment and are subdued by the criminals that rape Phyllis. On the next morning, they hide the girls in the trunk of their convertible and head to Canada. However, they have a problem with the car's rod and they stop on the road close to Mari's house. When Phyllis tries to escape, the gang stabs her to death and shots Mari after ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

To avoid fainting, keep repeating: "It's only a movie, only a movie, only a movie...". See more »


Certificate:

X | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 August 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Grim Company  »

Box Office

Budget:

$90,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut) | (original cut) | (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Trademark: [Wes Craven] [Elaborate methods/booby traps to capture a villain. See more »

Goofs

When Weasel and Sadie are chasing Phyllis through the woods, Sadie takes off her jacket and throws it on the ground. It later reappears and then disappears again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Postman: [to dog] Hello, Cassie! Hiya, girl! Hello, there! Now, let's see.
[looks through mail]
Postman: Ah, it looks like Mari's getting cards from half the civilized world. Mari Collingwood. Mari Collingwood. Mari Collingwood. You'd think she's the only kid to reach the age of 17. Of course she is probably the prettiest piece I've ever seen.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the 1980s, the American video versions contained additional text after the film had ended, reading: "Coming soon to a theatre near you. From the producers of Last House On The Left, and the director of Friday the 13th Part V, ... The Last House On The Left, Part II. You won't believe your eyes!" (No sequel ever materialized) See more »

Connections

References The Brighter Day (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Now You're All Alone
Written and Performed by David Hess
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A bit over-hyped, but fairly good and certainly important historically
9 July 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

While I think that people tend to get a bit hyperbolic when they talk about The Last House on the Left, I do think it's a fairly good film, especially given what the filmmakers were trying to do and considering their lack of experience, the era and the budget. Also, despite a filmic precursor, it just may be the earliest example of the horror subgenre of "brutal, realist tragedy" (that's more a description than a name, but I haven't spent much time trying to come up with a catchy moniker). However, it has flaws that would be difficult to overlook in a "distanced" (rather than "objective" or "unbiased", neither of which I think are possible) assessment of the film.

The story, although claimed as true, is an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's Jungfrukällan (aka The Virgin Spring, 1960). Roughly, it is the story of Mari Collingwood (Sandra Cassel). We see Mari at home with her almost-hip parents. Mari is about to head out to a "Bloodlust" concert in New York City with her new friend Phyllis Stone (Lucy Grantham). Mom and dad are harassing her about her clothing, which is thin enough to show off a bit of flesh, but they're not so un-hip as to make her change. Meanwhile, we learn from a radio that four convicts--"murderers, dope-pushers and rapists"--have just escaped from prison. At the same time, director Wes Craven slowly reveals the quartet--Krug Stillo (David A. Hess), Junior Stillo (Marc Sheffler), Fred "Weasel" Podowski (Fred J. Lincoln) and Sadie (Jeramie Rain). They're holed up in a New York City apartment. Sadie seems to be group property, and that causes some tension. It is suggested that they look for a couple more women. Mari and Phyllis end up at the wrong place at the wrong time. They're kidnapped, and mayhem ensues. But there's a twist that arrives when the convict's car breaks down in an ironic location.

"Frightening", "disturbing", "sick" and various other terms are frequently employed when describing Last House on the Left. Since I find no films scary, I can't vouch for the first term, but the other two would perhaps apply proportionate to how many horror films you regularly watch, and just what kinds of horror films. If you're not used to the genre in its grittier and gorier post-1960s instantiations, you'd likely find The Last House on the Left shocking. If you've seen a large number of films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) and so on, don't pay too much attention to the hype. You're not likely to be very disturbed by anything you see here.

That doesn't mean that you'll not enjoy this film. After all, it has been a major influence on the films mentioned above--there is even an important chainsaw scene here. That's especially remarkable when we consider that it was only Craven and Producer Sean S. Cunningham's second film. They had been approached by a consortium of exhibitors who said that they wanted "something as appalling and exploitable as Night of the Living Dead (1968)".

Maybe largely by accident, Craven and Cunningham (along with others, such as assistant producer Steve Miner, who later became much bigger "names" in horror--between these three, we have the helmers of a number of films in the three major 1980s/1990s franchises--Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street) happened upon an unusual cinema vérité style that made the horrific situations depicted seem much more immediate and real. Combined with occasionally graphic and always intense situations of violence and control, the final effect is akin to watching a home video/snuff film. In fact, it was promoted as such in some areas, and the effect was disturbing enough in its time that the film initially received an X rating and was banned for many years in some locales.

But again, focusing on that amounts to hype now, and shouldn't be taken too seriously, lest it lead to inflated expectations. Just as surprising on a first viewing is that The Last House on the Left has an intermittent goofy sense of humor and a "groovy" attitude that is firmly mired in the early 1970s. The two policemen are really comic relief characters (and very funny at that), but there is also a lot of humor surrounding the criminal quartet--this almost becomes a "black comedy" at times. These sensibilities even extend to the music, which has a frequent hillbilly edge and lyrics that supply ex-positional material. Surprisingly, Hess, who plays Krug, wrote the music.

Despite the simplicity of the story and the fact that the 2002 MGM DVD release is the "most complete cut ever" according to Craven, there are problems with the story, whether due to the script or the editing. Too many segues between major plot points are "jumpy". The chase(s) through the woods seems a bit random. It's not very well explained how the convicts end up at a home looking as they do. Two characters find another who was missing, and it seems more like a dream sequence because of its arbitrariness, and so on.

But overall, the story is effective enough. Although many subtexts can and have been read into the film, the most interesting theme to me was that it's largely a "tragedy of happenstance". Craven seems to be expressing a strong belief in chance and coincidence and focusing on the dark side of it. Under that reading, we can maybe excuse some of the narrative jumps more easily.

Although there are a number of similar films that I think are better than The Last House on the Left, including Ruggero Deodato's House at the Edge of the Park (aka La Casa sperduta nel parco, 1980)--also starring Hess in a similar role, curiously enough, this is a must-see for serious horror fans because of its historical importance.


107 of 148 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Can someone explain to me how this is 'horror' bungee316
Ok for a 14 year old? jackie121467
how the bloody bleep..... olyoshi
Just saw today...not impressed apbadogs-1
I spit on your grave was slightly better seph82
my mother!!! miserychick5
Discuss The Last House on the Left (1972) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?