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The Last House on the Left
Commentaries on this disc:
Director Wes Craven and producer Sean S. Cunningham
Rating:8.0/10 (7 votes) [
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Reviewed by space guy on August 10th, 2004
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Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham hadn't seen this film in several years when they made this commentary and seem alittle hazy at times. Despite that it's an excellent commentary. Craven is a master of the genre and cunnungham knows his stuff. Worth a listen.
Reviewed by Brian on March 9th, 2007
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Neither one of them take this film all that seriously - but are also not ashamed of it. Craven is always thoughtful. Certainly worth a listen.
Reviewed by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr on September 27th, 2009
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The jokey start sets the tone for what follows, reflecting what Craven calls "our flippant nature" as they happily mock their younger selves and their film-making naivety ("We knew nothing!") while attributing the supposed documentary feel to their previous, very limited, experience (less charitable viewers might suggest it's less documentary and more home movie, albeit a particularly unsavoury one - which is basically what the film is, as we learn it was shot in and around Cunningham's mother's house).
Like a good producer, Cunningham is happy to take a back seat and let Craven lead, and he proves good value as always, gleefully identifying which actors have since disowned/denied their involvement in the film, as well as providing plenty of background/making of information - the debt the film owes to Bergman's THE VIRGIN SPRING is well-documented but Craven also reveals the influence on specific scenes of films as diverse as THE DESERT FOX and 1945 British portmanteau film DEAD OF NIGHT.
Craven is also quick to credit the actors when they contribute a line that improves a scene, just as he generously acknowledges it was Cunningham who suggested the use of a chainsaw in the final carnage "And thus the whole direction of western cinema was changed..."
Neither Craven nor Cunningham had seen the film for 20 years prior to recording this track so they're not always up with the action (and both are surprised to see a scene they thought had been edited out of their preferred version) but despite this only once are they (briefly) guilty of watching the film rather than commenting.
Craven does stop joking and get more reflective and analytical when violence (or at least sexual violence) is on screen, though how much of this is retrospective wisdom only he knows - and the interviews and original script pages shown in the accompanying documentary reveal Craven initially intended it to feature far more (porno)graphic violence.
But for the most part the tone is generally light-hearted and far funnier than any of the attempted humour in the film, so like his directing Craven's jokes have improved immensely since making his first feature, reflected in the way his genre re-defining hits A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and SCREAM blended humour and horror so successfully.
Love LAST HOUSE or hate it, Craven remains refreshingly unapologetic about his film and the controversy it has aroused over the years (it was only passed fully uncut in the UK in 2008) - after all, It's Only A Movie...It's Only A Movie...It's Only A Movie...
[The 3-disc 2008 Metrodome region 2 UK DVD release also features an actors' commentary with David Hess, Marc Sheffler and Fred Lincoln.]
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