A Wes Craven Retrospective: The Last House on The Left

This year I thought it would be fun to focus on a few horror directors, so I’m staring with Wes Craven. I’m most familiar with his 80s films, which I saw over and over and over and over—even though I knew some of them were completely terrible. But since I’m a fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street from way back, I have seen most of his catalog.*

Starting with The Last House on the Left (1972), which I tracked down sometime in the mid-80s after I’d (FINALLY) seen Elm Street—mostly due to all the “banned” talk around it, and the promise of some pretty unbearable graphic violence.

The thing about Craven’s debut is that it’s TERRIBLY dated, and because of that, people watching it now are going to have a really hard time taking it seriously. Poor film quality, some not-so-great acting, and some really strange music choices all make it more awful than good, but it’s still entertaining if you can look past all the ridiculous 70s clothes, hair, makeup, and lingo. Ohmygod, the lingo.

SPOILERS AHEAD (more…)

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[Rec]3: Genesis

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

Sometimes when filmmakers continue their horror film franchises, it doesn’t work out so well (I’m looking at you, Paranormal Activity). But while [Rec] 3: Genesis is admittedly the campiest film in Director Paco Plaza’s zombie trilogy, it’s still a nice follow-up to his previous creations, and he manages to keep changing it up enough that it doesn’t feel tired.

Also, I love camp—especially when it involves a bride running around with a chainsaw.

Yup, Genesis takes place at a wedding reception, with an unsuspecting uncle nursing a dog bite that eventually turns him feral and starts a chain reaction of guests biting guests, with massive blood splatters, screaming, and lots of torn dresses and ripped tuxedo jackets. (more…)

Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil

I love a good splatter-flick that’s also a lot of fun, and Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil did not disappoint.

Best friends Tucker (Dear Wash Alan Tudyk, I ❤ you!) and Dale (who happen to be PBR-drinking hillbillies) are headed up to their “summer home” – a newly purchased cabin in the middle of the woods where they can drink, hunt, and fish in quiet and solitude.

On the way there, they run into a group of snotty college kids who immediately brand them creepy…so later then they’re seen pulling one of the girls (Alison, played by Katrina Bowden from 30 Rock) from the water and throwing her in their boat, the college kids assume T&D are backwoods serial killers, bent on torturing and murdering their friend.

What follows is a series of unfortunate misunderstandings, which leads to bloodier and bloodier mishaps, ramping up the body count and getting Tucker and Dale into more and more trouble.

There’s splatter everywhere in this one, and it’s great, but everything is also all done with a touch of humor – and a clever nod to classic slasher film history. I don’t know if I’ve ever branded a horror film “cute” before, but if any film deserves it, it’s this one. Also, I don’t want to give anything away, but the chainsaw bit is definitely my favorite part.

Definitely recommended!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

31 Horror Movies I Own #4: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Another horror film that gets a bad wrap for being “too dated”, the original TCM still holds its place among the top of the very small list of movies that actually scare me.

The key to the scariness of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is atmosphere. The story comes off as really basic because by now we’ve seen it copied 100x or more (I’m looking at you, House of 1000 Corpses); 5 friends set off in search of some fun, run out of gas in the middle of nowhere and stumble upon an old house that just happens to be occupied by a gleefully murderous family. (more…)