When The Last House on the Left came out more than forty-years ago it was banned in many cities and countries, but it was still a commercial success for a young Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham. The movie shocked many viewers in 1972, however, it hasn’t held up over the years.
The movie is short, there isn’t too much time to develop any kind of story or characters. So it’s not too much of tragedy when bad things start happening because we weren’t invested in the characters. The scenes that grossed out audiences then seem tame today (except for one scene by the lake. That one is still sick).
What’s more frustrating is the slapstick scenes involving the only two police officers in this small town. These Keystone cops seem out of place in a movie striving to be a brutal, horror movie. The cops are frustrating, but not as frustrating as the hippie, love songs or the slapstick music being played during several “brutal” scenes. Maybe the music was used to jar back to reality.
Almost forty years later, Wes Craven produced a remake of The Last House on the Left. Unlike many remakes, The Last House on the Left benefited from the remake. It would have been easy to thrown in some 21st century technology and call it a remake. However, Craven and company took an extra step to be different from the original, but stay true to the original.
The remake has the same character dynamic. However, with more time in the movie characters have been better developed. We care about these characters so when things start going bad we’re cheering for mom and dad, we’re rooting against Krug (played wonderfully by Garret Dillahunt). Gratefully, there are no Keystone cops in the remake. The end leaves us a little more breathless than the original, but it still asks the same question, “How far are you willing to go to protect your family?”
Watch the original version of The Last House on the Left for the historical value, but watch the remake for some scares, a little more action, and less goofiness.
(Art used for header is by Jock. It can be found at http://goo.gl/xQYFVD)