McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Adele's '25' Official First Week U.S. Sales: 3.38 Milli...
Adele announces first tour since 2011 for album "25" ...
Kathie Lee Gifford's Family Reveals Her Late Husband Fr...
American Music Awards 2015: Proximity to action matters...
Brad Pitt Says He's 'Angry' at the Finance Industry Aft...
Adele Speaks Exclusively on New Music:'The Most Poignan...
'The Walking Dead' reveals Glenn's fate ...
Adele Performs on Saturday Night Live: Video ...
Blacklisted: The Inside Story of Dalton Trumbo and the ...
Ryan Seacrest Confirms All American Idol Judges Will Re...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

MGM Studios DVD presents
The Last House on the Left (1972)

"Don't worry about it, sweetheart. You'll have plenty of time to feel the pain."
- Krug (David Hess)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: August 26, 2002

Stars: David Hess, Lucy Grantham, Sandra Cassel, Marc Sheffler, Fred Lincoln, Jeramie Rain
Other Stars: Ada Washington, Gaylord St. James, Cynthia Carr, Marshall Anker
Director: Wes Craven

Manufacturer: Laser Pacific
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, gore, language, nudity, sexuality, torture, rape)
Run Time: 01h:24m:19s
Release Date: August 27, 2002
UPC: 027616878151
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B-BC- B+

DVD Review

These are quite the times to be a movie fan. For decades, film and video collectors have been trying to obtain an uncut, complete copy of The Last House on the Left, the legendary gore/revenge shocker that initiated the career of Wes Craven. Notorious for its violence and sexuality, it was regularly cut to ribbons by censors and infuriated projectionists. Its video releases were invariably distorted by using these censored prints. Devotees resorted to buying copies from around the globe and attempting to piece the picture together again. And here, MGM provides what is surely the definitive version of this horrific tales, for a list price under $15. Life is good.

Young Mari Collingwood (Sandra Peabody, billed as Sandra Cassel) and her friend Phyllis Stone (Lucy Grantham) are on their way to a concert when they decide to score some pot. When they are lured by Junior (Marc Sheffler) into a building, they learn that the pot is just bait and they've been lured into a trap, sprung by Junior's father, Krug (David Hess), and Weasel (Fred Lincoln), a pair of escaped murderers, and the depraved Sadie (Jeramie Rain). The foursome haul the two girls out into the woods where a nightmare of torture, rape and mayhem await them. And that's just the first twenty minutes....

Impossibly shocking and brutal in its day, Last House still carries a huge impact. Part of this is the documentary style used by Craven, the result of his experience in making such films. The handheld camera lends this a verisimilitude not dissimilar to the period camerawork by Vietnam reporters. The casting also is inspired, with David Hess as terribly intense as they come; his Krug would give Dennis Hopper a serious run in the question of who was the closest to volcanic eruption. Fred Lincoln's Weasel is appropriately sleazy and vicious as well. But at the same time, the foursome makes a perverse little family, the members of which clearly care for each other while terrorizing the world at large.

The comic relief is primarily presented through the idiot police, portrayed by Marshall Anker and Martin Cove. While their slapstick appearances are pretty much over the top, certainly comic relief is necessary here; otherwise this film would simply be too hard to take (and I say that as a veteran horror and gore viewer). Mutilations, disembowellings, torture, rape and chainsaw hackings all come at the viewer with surprising effectiveness for a very low budget picture. Between the cops, the dimwitted parents of Mari and the music, which is often a rollicking kazoo-and-barrelhouse setting to the non-mayhem episodes, this often crude comedy helps keep the audience from going completely into the abyss.

While some Internet discussion has been critical of omission of some of the outtakes from the finished film, this version was assembled by David Szulkin, probably the foremost authority on the picture, and the author of a book about its making. I'm prepared to accept Szulkin's reconstruction; he certainly seems to have left no stone unturned in his research. The brief (15 seconds or so) segment omitted, since it was never part of the film proper, couldn't be included for legal reasons. This disc is certainly light years ahead of trying to piece a Japanese laserdisc together with a Dutch videotape. In its complete state, this is as harrowing as they come, and recommended for those wanting a highly disturbing film.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: MGM presents the film in both an anamorphic widescreen and a pan & scan version. Since the original was shot in 1.66:1 ratio and generally exhibited soft-matted, the widescreen version best reproduces the theatrical experience. However, since there's not a huge difference between 1.66:1 and 1.33:1, not much is lost from the sides. Compositions are not too badly affected either, due to the handheld camera work that precludes artistic framing.

Since Last House was shot on 16mm, there's a limit to how good it's likely to look. There's a ton of grain, as is to be expected, and the image is often a bit soft. However, color is excellent and detail is captured faithfully to the extent it's present in the film. Black levels are decent, and certainly passable. The source material demonstrates hardly any damage at all, which is quite surprising.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono is mostly live sound, and it has the slightly echoey character that often characterizes shot-on-video pictures. Occasionally it's a bit muffled, but again, it's hard to say that the film ever has or ever could sound any better than this. Hiss and noise are surprisingly limited. The music comes through quite well. For those lines that are hard to make out, the subtitles come in useful.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Wes Craven and producer Sean S. Cunningham
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Introduction by Wes Craven
  2. Outtakes and dailies
Extras Review: MGM doesn't stop at a complete reconstruction of the picture. There's a thorough documentary (28m:59s), directed by Szulkin, which features present-day interviews with the principal members of the cast and crew. They provide plenty of interesting insight, such as the fact that the picture was closely based on an Ingmar Bergman film (The Virgin Spring). Less essential is a commentary by Craven and the producer of the film; they spend much of the running time making fun of it and occasionally start watching it silently. They do, however, manage to get some information in that doesn't duplicate the documentary, such as just how terrified Sandra Peabody really was of David Hess.

The pan & scan side contains the rest of the special features. A set of outtakes and dailies (14m:00s) provides a look at some unused footage, including a more extending segment on the disembowelling. This isn't terribly convincing, however, and the judgment to use only a short clip of it in the feature was a wise one. The audio has unfortunately been lost over the years, so they are presented silent. Finally, there's a featurette (8m:10s), Forbidden Footage, which discusses the censorship issues that the picture faced, as well as focusing on some of the more lurid moments in the picture. I really would have liked to have seen a similar featurette on the reconstruction of the film, since Craven here notes that when he tried to get an uncut print he was told that it was impossible; all of the prints had been censored in one way or another. There surely must have been a fascinating story behind the piecing together of the feature, which still is the most special feature of the disc.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

A long-awaited definitive special edition of one of the great cult classics, bringing this harrowing picture in about as good a presentation as could be desired by even the most hardcore fan. It looks and sounds about as good as is possible considering the circumstances under which it was shot. And if it gets to be too much, just keep telling yourself, "It's only a movie....it's only a movie."


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


music, adele, 25, 3.38 million copies, nsync, no strings attached, 21, tour europe, spotify, apple music, pandora music inc., television, frank gifford, nfl hall of famer, sportscaster, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, kathy lee gifford, american music awards, talor swift, one direction, jennifer lopez, selena gomez, nicki minaj, justin bieber, movie, the big short, steve carell, ryan gosling, christian bale, michael lewis, brad pitt, hello, 19, the walking dead, amc, davod alpert, glen, heads up, saturday night live, 25 album, skyfall, nrj awards, graham norton, herbert biberman, john howard lawson, lester cole, ring lardner jr., samuel ornitz, adrian scott, albert maltz, alvah bessie, edward dmytryk, dalton trumbo, reality, american idol, ryan seacrest, mariah carey, ellen degeneres, harry connick jr., keith urban, simon cowell, paula abdul, randy jackson, steven tyler, kara dioguardi, televison, fargo, fx, kirsten dunst, jesse plemons, jean smart, jeffrey donovan, bokeem woodbine, brad garrett, patrick wilson, celebrity, bruce willis, laurie metcalf, misery, broadway debut, paris tragedy, u2, foo fighters, steven spielberg, natalie portman, book, the diary of anne frank, otto frank, swiss foundation, daytime talk, 2000 shows, justin timberlake, jennifer aniston, sequel, animated, finding nemo, finding dory, disney-pixar, diane keaton, eugene levy, inventor, hedy lamarr, google doodle, ecstasy, samson and delilah, bbc music, angelina jolie pitt, by the sea, troubled marriage, mr. & mrs. smith, gwen stefani blake shelton, country music awards, the voice, miranda lambert, jon stewart, john oliver, hbo, wonder woman, nicole kidman, amazonian warrior, gal gadot, chris pine, nick lachey, 98 degrees, pot grower, ohio, nanette lepore, oscar robertson, frostee rucker, the red bulletin, james bond, daniel craig, naomi harris, bond girl, a. o. scott, 1977, star wars, elvis, beatles, sesame street, j.k. rowling, israel, palestine, culture for coexistence, harry potter and the deathly hallows, ricky gergais, 2016 golden globes, hollywood foreign press association, jessica biel, 2015 fashion group international night of stars gala, flip phone, the power of love, huey lewis, michael j. fox, back to the future

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store