Film / The Last House on the Left

"To avoid fainting, keep repeating: IT'S ONLY A MOVIE... ONLY A MOVIE... ONLY A MOVIE..."

Wes Craven's 1972 debut picture, a loose reworking of Ingmar Bergman's Jungfrukällan (The Virgin Spring), tells the story of a group of psychopathic escaped convicts who kidnap, torture, humiliate, rape, and try to murder two teenage girls and then end up asking for refuge at (unbeknown to them) the home of the parents of one of the girls. This couple then find out who their guests really are...

Remade in 2009 by Dennis Iliadis, produced by Craven and starring Sara Paxton, Garrett Dillahunt, Monica Potter, Aaron Paul, Tony Goldwyn, and Riki Lindhome.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy: The three villains, but special mention goes to Krug.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Collingwoods look like two ordinary, happily married people, until their daughter gets killed...
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Estelle slashes Sadie's throat while the latter is in a swimming pool.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The necklace Mari gets as a birthday gift is instrumental in making Emma realize what happened to Mari.
  • Covers Always Lie: Look at the DVD cover. See that house there? That's not the house. Jury's out on whether it's even on the left.
  • Daylight Horror: Most of what happens to Mari and Phyllis.
  • Dirty Coward: In the end Krug appears to be this once he realizes that he is truly screwed and that old man Collingwood is gonna take him apart with that chainsaw, and suddenly all his macho psycho b.s. goes right out the window.
  • Dirty Old Man: The elderly mailman at the beginning of the film describes Mari as "the prettiest piece I've ever seen".
  • Driven to Suicide: Junior blows his brains out, as commanded by Krug.
  • Downer Ending: Mari, Phyllis and Junior are dead, and even though Mari's parents have vindicated them, they're most likely going to prison due to the stupid sheriff.
    • That's a maybe. The sheriff found out about Mari being kidnapped prior so he might be convinced otherwise. They may still head for jail though, if Brad Pitt showed us anything.
  • Flipping the Bird: Walking back to town after their car runs out of gas, the cops think they've gotten a lift when a van full of hippies stop for them... then they do this while peeling away.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Wes Craven failed to get an R rating for The Last House on the Left, even after removing 30 minutes from the movie. Ultimately, he got the movie into theaters by lying that it was R-rated. He spliced the "Rated R" certification from a different movie into his own film. No one noticed.
  • Groin Attack: Estelle dupes Weasel and starts performing oral sex on him... with gruesome results.
  • Gorn: Phyllis' fate.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: As a result of Executive Meddling, we are spared the sight of Krug carving his name in Mari's chest. Also, we don't see Weasel's emasculation.
  • Hate Sink: It's safe to say the movie does everything in its power to make Krug and his gang as despicable as possible.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Mari has one, after having been humiliated, abused, kidnapped and raped, and before being murdered.
  • Ignored Vital News Reports: Mari and Phyllis hear a radio report about the psychos' escape from prison while driving to the city, but pay it no mind.
  • Kick the Dog: Krug breaks a little kid's balloon with a lit cigarette just for the hell of it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The fate of Krug and his worthless band of sadists probably count.
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The Baddies' Song, disturbingly so.
  • Monster Misogyny: Though the villains stumbled upon having Mari and her friend, they're quite excited about having them around considering all the "fun" they can have with them, with Weasel wasting no time getting around to raping Phyllis. In the remake, Krug makes note of how innocent and beautiful the two girls are, explaining that he'd "hate for anything to happen to them". Considering what does happen to them later, it sure sounds like Krug is invoking the trope.
    • It's also arguable that this trope is what sells the movie's shock value. It's not just a movie about Torture Porn, it's a movie about Torture Porn committed on two innocent women.
  • Mood Dissonance: Although this is a horror movie, there are some scenes that seem to be right out of a comedy. The chicken truck and Krug going "Moo!" come to mind.
  • Mood Whiplash: Okay, Mr. Craven. Please explain why, when the rest of the movie is deathly serious and disturbing, you chose to have the cops be comic relief?!? And why do you have Krug going moo?!? Was it to make the movie less frightening for your audience so they won't be fainting? Because to some people, you really overdid it!
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Krug and company look guilty when Mari walks in shock towards the lake.
  • Nightmare Sequence: At one point Fred dreams that Mari's parents knock his front teeth out with a hammer and chisel. Still would've been better than what actually does happen to him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Krug when he realizes that he's lost.
  • Police Are Useless: The sheriff and his deputy are incompetent buffoons. They even buy into Krug's half-assed alibi about being a passing preacher. And when they hear of Mari's kidnapping, they not only find out where she is located, but also that they were there a few minutes ago. Oh, and they were late to the Roaring Rampage of Revenge Party. Though to be fair, they did try to help. It was just that they were held back by several things when they did go to help.
  • Rape as Drama: Almost all of the drama in this movie consists of two girls being tortured and raped.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Subverted as the chicken farmer's cheeky attitude towards the frantic cops helps get Mari and Phyllis killed.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The soundtrack is mostly made of upbeat ballads or outright cheery music.
    • Interesting note: It was all composed (and sung) by none other than David Hess, the actor who played Krug Stillo.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ah, man, we raped and murdered these people's daughter, and they don't even know! Wow, now the mom's giving me a BJ! This is the best road trip ever!
    • Well, you can't blame them for not thinking that maybe Mari would be washed up on shore and her parents will find her, or that Junior would be in the middle of a Heel Realization and having a Freak Out! that winds up in the parents finding out.
    • Also when Paige and Mari follow the obviously extremely weird boy who they barely know, and admit later that they thought he was creepy to begin with, to his dingy hotel room to buy drugs from him. Not to mention the fact that they he is underage so there is no way that he rented the room by himself. Good idea girls, I guess don't talk to strangers doesn't apply if they promise you drugs.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Obviously, and applied with reckless abandon, just to show how depraved the villains really are.

The 2009 remake has examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Justin (Junior in the original) deliberately leaves Mari's necklace out in the open after realizing whose house they're in.
  • Blatant Lies: "You'll be fine," as John leaves Krug with his head in the microwave.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The necklace that Mari finds at her vacation home as a gift from her dead brother is instrumental in making Emma realize what happened to Mari.
  • Fan Disservice: Although the original is undeniably lurid, if when watching the rape scene in the remake you find anything remotely erotic about what's happening to Mari there is probably something wrong with you.
  • Fingore: Francis (originally named Weasel) gets, in a very horrific scene, his fingers shredded in a garbage disposal.
  • Heel Realization: Junior has one. There's more justification in contrast to the original due to the fact that it was his fault the girls were kidnapped.
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The remake left Mari and Justin (named Junior in the original) alive, after Justin did a Heel–Face Turn (the movie also made it pretty clear that nothing that happened was his fault). In the original, Mari died, and Junior committed suicide.
    • Not his fault. At least in the remake he is guilty of putting the girls in an unnecessarily dangerous position by bringing them to the motel in the first place. His father's and uncle's behavior are erratic at best so there is no reason for him to believe that just because they say they won't be coming back doesn't mean they won't be coming back. He could have easily just gone and got the drugs and then come back to the store. Krug even makes a good point when they are all in the room about how thinking they wouldn't be coming back is no excuse for breaking the "Don't bring anyone back to the room" rule and him having to face the consequences of that action.