After serving 1 year in jail a guy decides to repay the society by making some snuff-films. Four people are captured, tied up and held as material for his project. One by one they are killed in scenes for the camera. A woman has her limbs sawn of while he keep her concious. Another victim is killed by a power drill. Written by
The original version entitled "The Cuckoo Clocks Of Hell" originally ran some 175 minutes in length. The only remaining print of it in that form is thought to be stored in a New York film lab. See more »
LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET is literally one of the most infamous horror movies ever made. Part of this comes from the legend and mystery surrounding it, and the fact it is so difficult to get hold of. Firstly, all existing prints are EXTREMELY heavily cut... reports indicate that the original movie was around three hours long, but even the longest running version nowadays only clocks in at 77 minutes. This print also has entirely "fake" credits. One "Victor Janos" is accredited with directing LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET, but any research as to who this actually is ends at the credits themselves- as is the case with all the others involved with the film. Although it is now apparent that the across-the-board use of pseudonyms was an attempt by a distributor to "steal" the movie, for a long time it simply was not known who was responsible for this film (in actuality, a director named Roger Watkins wrote, produced, directed and starred in this movie). Trying to find a good, under-fifth generation copy of this movie nowadays is extremely difficult. All of these factors add to the movie's gritty and disturbing reputation- and that's before you've even watched it!
In actuality, it isn't nearly as grueling as many would make out but is still an extremely disturbing experience. It is brash, intelligent and EXTREMELY well made considering budget issues and the experience of the film makers (Watkins went on to work on pornography after this). The scenes of violence are very extreme and graphic, but in my mind these are far less disturbing than other aspects of the film. Although the photography is simplistic in a classically "US low budget underground cinema" way, the atmosphere that the movie creates is quite unique. It manages to conjure up a true feeling of a bad dream. The same feeling has been achieved by directors such as Dario Argento but they tend to use bombardments of imagery and a "surrealist" approach. In this case, everything seems gritty and realistic but at the same time strangely disjointed. This is partly because of the heavy cuts leaving huge and bizarre holes in the narrative; partly because of the strange sound track, lighting and empty sets; partly because of the fact the film was clearly rushed; and partly because of the surreal "story line", if it could be even called that...
This is a genuine cinematic curiosity and I think that any self-respecting horror fan would be missing out by not checking it. It is truly an original, one-off work. Sure, it is ragged around the edges but that is part of what makes it so gritty and atmospheric. The movie has an almost numbing and ethereal quality and really works. Extremely disturbing and definitely recommended.
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