The detritus of a Button Monkey

02 Feb

Last house on the left 1972

Managed to convince my wife to watch Last house on the left. We watched the original rather than the remake. I wanted to watch it due to its reputation from the video nasty era.

One of the things that Mark Kermode has mentioned about viewing an old film is to view in context of the time it was made. I was very mindful of this whilst watching the film. When compared to recent “shocking” films e.g. Saw and Hostel, the content was quite tame. But when viewed as a film that is now over 40 years, it must have been quite shocking at the time of release.

The film is about two young woman who go out to watch a band in the city and cross paths with three escaped violent criminals. What happens is an ordeal. Like Texas Chainsaw massacre, most of the gruesome scenes are not seen but left to your imagination. But quite often, it is perfectly clear what is happening.

The unnerving part of the film is the continuing thread of nasty followed by ordinary. The film jumps between what is happening to the two women and mundane events elsewhere. There is even some comic relief in the form of two police officers trying to find the woman. This flipping between different styles of film may not seem original now but it most have been unsettling upon release.

You can read the release history of the film and ban by the BBFC here.

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