Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 245: Wed Sep 3

The Last House on the Left (Craven, 1972): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This screening, brought to you by the Cigarette Burns Film club, is part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September.

Here is the Prince Charles Cinema introduction:
Psychotronic and Cigarette Burns Cinema team up to present a series of ultra-rare UK cinema screenings of the notorious video nasty The Last House on the Left.
When two innocent girls head to the big city for their first rock gig, little do they expect their simple diversion to score a bit of weed would go so disastrously wrong for all involved.

Released in 1972, Wes Craven"s rough-edged directorial debut The Last House on the Left remains as controversial now, as it did then. Suffering for decades under an outright UK ban, before finally seeing an official home video release in the mid-noughties and a few, very limited theatrical screenings in the UK, we are pleased to bring this groundbreaking and nerve shattering nasty to UK screens on 35mm for its largest and longest theatrical run ever.

Wes Craven closes the door on the hippie 60s and kicks down a new path to the post Vietnam era of harsh brutality, in a movie you won"t soon forget, but don"t worry, it"s only a movie...

Psychotronic Cinema is a monthly cult film event which has been dedicated to bringing the world"s greatest, rarest and flat out weirdest cult movies to Scottish cinema screens for over a decade. While down south, Cigarette Burns flies the battered and bloodied flag of celluloid, screening 35mm and 16mm genre magic wherever there"s a projector.

Roger Ebert review:
Last House on the Left is a tough, bitter little sleeper of a movie that's about four times as good as you'd expect. There is a moment of such sheer and unexpected terror that it beats anything in the heart-in-the-mouth line since Alan Arkin jumped out of the darkness at Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark. I don't want to give the impression, however, that this is simply a good horror movie. It's horrifying, all right, but in ways that have nothing to do with the supernatural. It's the story of two suburban girls who go into the city for a rock concert, are kidnapped by a gang of sadistic escaped convicts and their sluttish girlfriend, and are raped and murdered. Then, in a coincidence even the killers find extreme, the gang ends up spending the night at the home of one of the girls' parents.

Wes Craven's direction never lets us out from under almost unbearable dramatic tension. The acting is unmannered and natural, I guess. There's no posturing. There's a good ear for dialogue and nuance. And there is evil in this movie. Not bloody escapism, or a thrill a minute, but a fully developed sense of the vicious natures of the killers. There is no glory in this violence. And Craven has written in a young member of the gang (again borrowed on Bergman's story) who sees the horror as fully as the victims do. This movie covers the same philosophical territory as Sam Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs" (1971), and is more hard-nosed about it: Sure, a man's home is his castle, but who wants to be left with nothing but a castle and a lifetime memory of horror?

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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