Sandra Peabody

The Last House on the Left (1972) - Wes Craven

I don't know what it is about the seventies, they always have the most inappropriate music to accompany some graphic scenes. It's almost a tactic that makes the scenes that much creepier. I'm not complaining. I like an Axe Murder to Marvin Gaye anytime. I hadn't watched this one for a few years and finally picked it up to watch for the 31 Movies of Halloween. This feature has a pretty strong reputation of being hard to watch or almost too hard-hitting. So you know I was interested. 

Phyllis and Mari go to a big concert unsupervised in the big city. Only thing is, they don't come home. They run into a group of psychopaths that kidnap they young ladies. The gang humiliates, rapes, and murders the girls in the forest, then seek refuge in Mari's own home. Clumsily dropping clues that they had killed the girls, leading to the Mari's parents plotting the gang's demise. 

This low budget feature from

Nightmare on Elm Street

creator Wes Craven, holds up to the title of being hard-to-watch. Movies like this one that tend to be more realistic appear to come off as more graphic. While a movie about a serial slasher like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers is pretty unbelievable. This one is so steeped in reality that it really adds to the terror. 

The actors are very believable. David Hess is terrifying as the leader of the gang, Krug. You root for Mari (Sandra Peabody) and Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) but ultimately you have them ripped from you. It's rough. Your heart really gets into the movie and is rightfully ripped out. It helps that you can cheer for the good guys and revel in the bad guys getting their comeuppance


Wes Craven


Sandra Peabody

Lucy Grantham

David Hess

, and 

Fred J. Lincoln


Graphic Reality Revenge - Maniacs




Lobster Enterprises

Did ya know...

When fledgling director Wes Craven took this film to the MPAA, they slapped it with an "X" rating. Wanting an R for wider release, Craven went back and removed ten minutes of footage. However, this still wasn't enough and the film still got an "X" rating. Once again Craven removed footage, this time taking out 20 minutes. It still wasn't enough. Finally, Craven put all of the original footage back in, got an authentic "RATED R" seal of approval from the film board from a friend of his, put it on the film and released it.
When distribution companies Hallmark and Atlas International released the movie in Germany, they attempted to pass it off as an actual "snuff" film (i.e., a real murder staged for the camera).