Strong early no-budget exploitation from a true master (spoilers)
2 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Wes Craven has been involved in a variety of horror movies. Along with John Carpenter and Sean Cunningham (who produced "Last House"), Craven ushered in the slasher film in the 80s, and horror has never been the same. Before he started doing slasher movies, however, Craven worked on a number of different movies, including "Swamp Thing," "The Hills Have Eyes," and "Last House on the Left."

Best likened to Peckinpah's classic "Straw Dogs," "Last House" is a no-budget movie literally shot in the backyard of Cunningham's house in Connecticut. It's a fairly typical exploitation/revenge movie, except for the performance of one David Hess.

Hess' Krug Stillo is perhaps the most effective portrayal of a slimy, street-smart, patriarchal serial killer and rapist that I have ever seen (okay, so there aren't many characters like that, but who cares?). With wicked smiles and genuinely menacing dialogue, Hess' performance makes Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter look like a pansy. Simply put, you would never want to meet Krug anywhere, let alone a dark alley. This is all the more amazing given that Hess is such an easygoing guy in real life.

Craven's camera work and sense of pace is very strong even this early in the game - the shots are realistic without ever being MTV-like or jarring like other low budget movies (*cough* Blair Witch Project *cough*). The story is all about the generation gap and how people can become killers when they are faced with killers. In "Last House," the WWII generation parents are sweet at the beginning of the movie, but at the end, they've taken on several psychotic killers...and won. "The greatest generation," indeed.

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