Even to this day, Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left is one of cinema’s most infamous horror films. As Craven’s directorial debut, The Last House on the Left is an unsettling story of exploitative violence; while its on-screen horrors are enough to turn the stomachs of its viewers, it thematically unraveled the end of a generation.
Now 46 years later, Arrow Video presents a special three-disc Blu-ray collector’s edition of The Last House on the Left. The set comes with three cuts of the film, along with an overwhelming amount of commentary. The collection also comes with the film’s soundtrack, a poster, a 60-page booklet detailing new writing about the film, and more. This is an ideal collection for hardcore fans of horror and Wes Craven.
The plot follows a young girl named Mari and her friend Phyllis as they prepare for a concert. They’re both bubbly and energetic, excited for the night ahead of them. As the film starts out, viewers get to take in the playful soundtrack alongside the cutesy, humorous dialogue. For those who have never seen The Last House on the Left, these moments play a significant role in setting up the dynamic of emotions that are to take place throughout the film.
Mari and Phyllis eventually come into contact with the film’s antagonist, the latter who sexually assault the two. Their torture plays out for a good portion of the film—to break up the uneasiness and violence, those moments of cheesy humor pop up in-between. While these sequences are goofy and lighthearted, they help to provide a breather when taking in those moments of assault and torture. Even after all these years, The Last House on the Left exudes just as painful and disturbing an atmosphere as it did upon original release.
The parents of Mari later on discover what has happened to their daughter and set out for revenge. But even after extracting their revenge, the film ends on a dreadful tone. While the scenes that play out provide their own form of horror, The Last House on the Left can also be viewed as the decline of America’s hippie age. With the Vietnam War and escalating tension and protest within the states, it was the end of a peaceful era; The Last House on the Left can be seen as an artistic take of that end, and the shift taking place within the American people. Gone were the days of peace and love… and now the days of grim realities and uncertain futures.
The Last House on the Left is a difficult picture to watch, and that’s something considering the wave of disturbing films to have come out since its first release. Not only is it one of the most potent horror movies to be made, but is one of the most disturbing films in cinema’s history in general. Arrow Video’s three-disc collector’s edition is a must-own set for those looking to experience and learn more about Craven’s horrifying masterpiece. This film is not for the faint of heart; even as its credits role to happy music, its chills and dread linger with the viewer.
Michael Pementel is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago's Creative Writing Program. When he isn't writing for Film Daddy, he writes full time for Metal Injection and New Noise Magazine. He has also written for Alternative Press, Film Inquiry, and The Curator. He's the Social Media Manager for death metal record label Ultimate Massacre Productions. When not writing, he enjoys a hot cup of black coffee, a good book/video game/film, and to cuddle with his fiancée and cat.
Follow Michael on Twitter @pementelm.