The Last House on the Left

“To avoid fainting, keep repeating: “It’s only a movie, only a movie, only a movie…” ~The Last House on the Left (1972)

IMDB Summary: A pair of teenage girls are headed to a rock concert for one’s birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, the girls are kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 59%

Why I love it: I don’t love it at all and fuck you, Wes Craven, for making this movie.

This is the first movie I honestly didn’t think I could watch all the way through. I wish I had followed through on that thought for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. I actually turned this one off at one point. I flipped through the channels on the TV until I saw Halloween 2 was on. God dammit. So tempting. So you know what I did? I watched both. At the same time. One on the TV. One on the computer. I’m glad my husband wasn’t home to hear the unrelenting screaming between both movies. 

I’ve actually seen The Last House on the Left before. I remember feeling like I had just watched a snuff film. What kind of sick fuck writes and directs this kind of thing? Wes Craven, that’s who. Dude. What. The. Fuck. I hate you for this. Rest in peace. Or whatever.

17-year-old Mari says goodbye to her parents as she leaves without a bra on for a concert she’s going to with Phyllis. Phyllis drinks. She’s baaad. And hot. They go to a rock quarry in the woods and drink and talk about Marci’s boobs. I start wondering when the undertone of a mild flirtation is going to change to boom-chicka-chicka-wow-wow.

Back in Phyllis’ station wagon, the girls hear a warning on the radio about two convicted muderers, dope pushers and rapists who have escaped from prison. The lead escapee had previously murdered two priests and a nun. His son, who he got hooked on heroin to control him, is driving the getaway car. The second felon is described as having a record of child molesting, “peeping tomism” and assault with a deadly weapon. Guess who the girls run into when they’re looking for pot?

Sadie the promiscuous schizoid is hanging out with the convicts. She’s adorable. She enjoys bubble baths, makeup, being raped and victimizing other chicks. As if enough bad stuff didn’t happen to Mari and Phyllis at the house, they all take a car trip out to the woods for more humiliation. I’m starting to notice how awesome the soundtrack is. But what’s happening is so bad, I fast forward it a bunch of times. Cannot. Deal. Phyllis makes a run for it. Mari tries to befriend the son so she can escape. The police get a tipoff on their whereabouts. The weird kill-happy gang catch up to Phyllis, who by the way looks like Katherine Ross in The Graduate. Sadie looks like Beatrice Dalle in Betty Blue with the crazy face on and the same hair. What happens to Phyllis is exactly the kind of scene I picture on Cielo Drive when the Manson family killed Sharon Tate.

This movie is officially getting to me.

The four killers end up at Mari’s house, where they present themselves to her parents as normal traveling salespeople. The police still haven’t caught up with them. The son starts kicking, thanks to heroin withdrawel. The parents start to figure out what happened. They run down into the woods and find Mari, still alive. Next thing you know, they’re dressed in doctor’s scrubs, ready to knock the son’s front teeth out with a hammer and a chisel. Welcome to the hell of your own making, mother fuckers. I can tell you they all die, but that’s all I got. I couldn’t watch anymore, except in brief increments, enough to see the dad kill one of them with a chainsaw.

A scene from Last House on the Left they call “In the Woods” made the list of The 50 Most Hard to Watch Scenes in Movie History. Out of all the horror movies I’m watching, this is the only one on their list. What does that tell you?

I can’t wait to shut this movie all the way off my computer and out of my memory and play Tetris. And they remade this? You guys all suck and you’re all going to hell. Thanks a lot.

Next: Carrie


Written by Anne Clendening
Anne Clendening was born and raised in L.A. She's a yoga teacher, a writer and occasionally slings cocktails in a Hollywood bar. She could eat chocolate cake for every meal of the day. She has a huge fear of heights and flying. And fire. She wishes she could speak French, play her guitar better and make cannoli. She's probably listening to The Dark Side Of The Moon right now, kickin’ it with her boxer dog and her hot Australian husband ★