The Curator of Schlock #106 by Jeff Shuster

The Last House on the Left

The story is true…

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 It’s October again, the time of year where your Curator of Schlock transforms into the Curator of Shock!

Cue the lightning strike!

With the recent passing of Wes Craven, your curator feels it’s his duty to pay tribute one of The Masters of Horror. Funny how he never directed an episode of Masters of Horror, that short lived Showtime anthology series where they’d get a different horror director to direct a “one hour movie.” I remember that one John McNaughton directed where this woman has sex with zombies. Really? I don’t mean to sound like a prude, but really?

Our first Wes Craven movie is The Last House on the Left. The movie starts out with the claim that the events being depicted are true. I remember when I first purchased The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on DVD back in 1998 (I’ve bought it 4 more times since), my mom flipped out saying, “How can you buy a movie that celebrates those people?” The people she was referring to were the Sawyer Family, a group of cannibals that terrorized Texas in the 1970s. The trailers for that film stated, “The Story is True.” My friend Emilio from Dallas swears they caught one of them and before they gave him the chair, Mr. Sawyer blurted out, “Bubba’s going to come for you. Bubba’s going to come for all of you.”

Of course, there never was a cannibalistic Sawyer family and there never was.

We don’t get cannibals in The Last House on the Left, instead having to settle for bunch of degenerate thieves, murderers, rapists, and pedophiles on the run from the law, the kind of criminal lowlifes Paul Kersey wouldn’t have wasted a second bullet on.

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Come on, there’s one guy named Junior who croaks like a frog.

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He’s also addicted to drugs, obviously. The other gang members are named Krug, Sadie, and Weasel.

The movie starts out with 17 year-old Mari Collingwood who’s going out to a concert with her friend, Phyllis. Before she heads out, her parents complain that she isn’t wearing a bra, and she retorts that the bras her mother wore back in the 1950s were shaped like torpedoes. The whole conversation made me very uncomfortable, a prelude of things to come. Mari and Phyllis try to score some weed before the rock concert, but their plan goes awry when that sadistic gang I mentioned earlier kidnaps them.

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Bad things happen to Mari and Phyllis from here on out. It doesn’t end well for them, and we’re left to believe that this gang will get away with what they’ve done until they arrive at the house of Mari’s parents, who take them in for the night.

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What will happen to the gang once Mari’s parents figure out what they did to their daughter? Let’s just say that Mari’s dad let’s his chainsaw do the talking.

Is this a sick movie? Yes. I remember hearing Joe Bob Briggs comment on how audiences back in the day shouted at the projectionist to turn the movie off. I wonder if the projectionist did. Is there a code projectionists live by?

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Jeffrey Shuster 4

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.

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