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Förening Film i Malmö presents
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT
Dir. Wes Craven
english w. swedish subtitles
Starring Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David Hess
This directorial debut is among the more influential and elusive movies in the fright-film canon. A genre movie based on the same ancient tale as Ingmar Bergman’s “Virgin Spring,” it immerses its viewer in cruelty, abuse and bloody revenge. Unlike many horror movies of generations past Mr. Craven’s maiden voyage is not about the evil of monsters, but men: two girls are abducted, raped and murdered. The killers wind up spending the night at the home of one of the girls, whose parents learn the truth and then exact their revenge on the killers. The disturbing implication was that the most terrifying violence and depravity could be right around the corner.
Although the movie didn’t do particularly well at the box office — theater owners made their own deletions to the film, and Britain for years banned it outright — it did have a few critical defenders. Roger Ebert called it “a powerful narrative, told so directly and strongly that the audience (mostly in the mood for just another good old exploitation film) was rocked back on its psychic heels.”“I stand behind the 1972 review,” Mr. Ebert said recently in an e-mail message. He called the new version “very well made,” and “an effective thriller.”But the new “Last House on the Left” may not resonate as much as the original, which was, in many ways, a movie profoundly of its time, reflective of upheavals in both politics and culture. And its creator’s life as well. “We never thought that anyone in our circle of friends and family would ever see it,” Mr. Craven said. “And I think in some ways that was what freed me to do something so outrageous. I had come out of a fundamentalist Baptist background, and if anyone in my family had seen it, they would have been appalled. I’m serious.” He laughed, recalling that when he came to New York, he was separated from his wife and had moved into a communal apartment on the pre-gentrified Lower East Side, inhabited by “musicians, drug dealers, Ph.D. candidates and anthropologists.” “It was a weird mélange of people, but we all were very close,” Mr. Craven said. “And when they went out and saw my film, most of them didn’t speak to me anymore.” Courtesy of Jon Anderson at the NYT