Oh boy, I have waited so long for this Blu-Ray treat. The Last House On The Left is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest horror movies of all time. My sister Shushanah refers to it as ‘That shit movie that sucks’, and that is the clean version! The point is that I know no one who thinks Last House is ‘OK’, it is something you are either totally on board with, or totally against. And that is how some of the greatest art of all time should be, questioning and to be questioned.
Wes Craven would of course go on to bigger, not better, things with Nightmare and Scream, but here he was riding by the seat of his pants, coming (literally) off of Sean Cunningham’s nudie flick Together, the two men teamed up to bring us the harrowing tale of Krug and company (the title of an alternate version also on these excellent discs) and never looked back. The BBFC said no for years, then they got their scissors out and only now do we have a fully unrated (well 18, but you know what I mean!) cut on the highest quality. From my own personal story, I used to read about this film all the time and was already a massive Craven fan, but the only way I could get it was to send off to France for La Derniere Maison Sur La Gauche and I instantly adored it, getting the making of book and any film encyclopedia that gave it the time of day.
There was a two disc DVD edition, that featured some of the making of features seen here but there is also a hell of a lot of good new stuff to discover, seeing as this is nearly a fifty year old picture, there has been plenty of opportunity to speak upon it.
So I will not discuss the archival extras, but if you do not own the DVD then those alone are worth the price tag, but lets look at what is new, pussycat. You get three cuts of the film, uncut, R rated and the aforementioned Krug And Company cut. There are six collector’s postcards, a double sided fold out poster, a 60 page book on the film and a new cover art and the original poster on a reversible sleeve. There’s a chance to listen to the isolated score remastered from the original tapes. There’s a new commentary track from Bill Ackerman and Amanda Reyes which discusses the controversies brought up by the film and how it has been viewed, a vey interesting listen. There’s another commentary with the stars of the show David Hess, Fred Lincoln and Marc Sheffler, which is a joy, it is obvious that they all got along so it is not the usual thing you get with classic films where one actor has a beef and keeps mentioning it. Nope, these guys get on great and their track is fantastic. (There’s a 3rd commentary from the DVD version with Craven and Cunningham which is also essential).
Forbidden Footage sees the cast talking about the most controversial moments, which let’s face it are all 84 minutes here! Junior’s Story is a brand new excellent interview with the actor who played Junior, Marc Sheffler. There’s a new interview with the make up artist and a look at the shooting destinations. There’s a fantastic new featurette called The Craven Touch with many of his collaborators interviewed. There’s an unfinished short film Tales That’ll Tear Your Heart Out, a Q and A with Marc Sheffler and brilliantly, Songs In The Key Of Krug which is an interview with the brilliant David A Hess. Speaking of Hess, you also get his complete soundtrack to the film on shiny shiny CD.
The Anchor Bay DVD release of The Last House On The Left was one of the greatest horror releases and the new Arrow Video 3 disc eclipses it. This is one of my twenty favourite movies ever, but this presentation of The Last House On The Left is definitely a 10/10 and essential for anyone with the slightest interest in Wes Craven’s first classic.