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Wes Craven's Last House On The Left: The Making of a Cult Classic Paperback – 7 Jul 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: FAB Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (7 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903254019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903254011
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,502,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

A bludgeoningly relentless investigation into what many regard as a classic... chapter after chapter throws out anecdotes and hitherto unknown details. This book is recommended wholeheartedly. -- Headpress

As far as I'm concerned, Last House on the Left is still Craven's masterpiece. And David Szulkin's perceptive, intelligent book on the subject makes me think that all the more. Easily one of the very best books on a single movie I've ever read. -- Jack Ketchum, author of Off Season and The Girl Next Door

David Szulkin's compendium on "the Altamont of horror films" not only dissects the film in minute detail but brilliantly reassesses its position in the annals of horror. The colour photographs and lurid text may make you wash your hands but if you want to know about the emergence of 70s stalk'n'slash films, the genesis of Craven's talents or the myths surrounding the film, then this book is for you. -- Empire - Book of the Month

Features reams and reams of stills, many in full colour, which are worth the price of the book alone. There are some great reproductions of original posters which truly drive home the outrageous marketing potential for snuff. Well worth a look. -- Rue Morgue Magazine

If you're interested in getting the inside scoop on one of the ballsiest, most repellent movies ever made, look no further! Steeped in violence and revenge, this 1972 vision of terror brought a grainy, documentary quality to its victims' suffering that, a quarter-century later, still has unsuspecting viewers stumbling for the exits. A down-and-dirty chronicle of guerrilla filmmaking that demonstrates how a few unsuspecting folks scraped together the necessary resources and created one of the most infamous films of all time. -- Fangoria

Reveling in gory photos, old ad slicks, censorship problems, and scenes which never made it to theatres (with good reason), it overflows with intimate details that cut to the heart of the pic's chaotic history. This gorgeous volume borders on the obsessive, is definitely worth a read, and will undoubtedly make you take another look at this kill-crazed classic. -- Shock Cinema

Szulkin accurately conveys a blackly comic sense of filmmaking on the edge. His close textual analysis of the film's narrative occasionally reads like a Cahiers Du Cinema essay penned by Jeffrey Dahmer... its impact is fascinating, resulting in a detailed, professional and very funny dissection of a nasty, brutish film. -- Neon

Szulkin writes in a witty, literate and easily readable style, and crucially refuses to insult the reader's intelligence. The book makes a serious and informed attempt to place this film within the context of the modern slasher genre it almost single-handedly invented... utterly excellent. -- Total Film - Book Of the Month

Szulkin's book is a real treat for all those interested in Craven's work. The tome is packed with page after page of interesting info, however this is far more than just a collection of bits and pieces... Szulkin demonstrates a deep understanding of the movie, and offers an excellent, thorough analysis of what is a very difficult movie. Stylish layout and appropriate design put the icing on what is a hugely compelling experience. -- Samhain

Szulkin's study of Last House on the Left is a model of its kind. The book is handsomely designed and very sharply written. The film it chronicles is not an easy one to like, but its importance and power are hard to deny and it is brilliantly analysed here. -- Shivers

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

On October 2, 1971, in the town of Westport, Connecticut, a small film crew led by writer/director Wes Craven and producer Sean Cunnigham began shooting a low-budget exploitation movie called Night of Vengeance. No one could have guessed that the two struggling, inexperienced filmmakers were on the verge of a defining moment in their careers, or that Night of Vengeance would become the controversial horror classic Last House on the Left. Loosely based on Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring, Last House on the Left was released in 1972 and marked Craven's directorial debut. The film tells the sordid tale of two hippie girls abducted, raped, and butchered by a fugitive 'family' of four degenerates. When they unwittingly seek refuge at the home of one of their victims, the killers meet with the bizarre, gruesome revenge of the murdered girl's parents. The movie's audaciously violent and perverse sensibility, along with its twisted humor and home-made, underground style, made it an instant cult hit, despised by many critics and celebrated by its fans. Craven has characterized Last House as "anti-social", "a howl of anger and pain", "a real thing of rage", "a protest film", and "the primal scream of my cinema". Love it or loathe it, Last House was undeniably a landmark in the evolution of modern horror, predating Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre even in the use of a chainsaw as a murder weapon. Radically departing from the comic-book escapism of monster movies, Last House delved into the disturbing milieu of human depravity and murderous sexual sadism. While schlock director Herschell Gordon Lewis invented the "splatter movie" in the 1960s (his 1969 film The Wizard of Gore also featured a chainsaw sequence), Last House launched splatter into the 70s with a gritty realism far more unsettling than the patently ludicrous, campy theatrics of the Lewis gut-churners. Crude and confrontational, Last House hit a raw nerve seldom touched before or since; in its warped reflection of the peace-and-love era, it is truly the Altamont of horror films. In retrospect, Last House on the Left is all the more ground-breaking in that it paved the way for the influential latter-day efforts of its director and producer. Were it not for Last House, Wes Craven might never have had the inclination or the opportunity to make The Hills Have Eyes (1977), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), or the phenomenally successful Scream (1996). Likewise, Sean Cunningham deliberately harkened back to the chock-horror aesthetic of Last House when he conceived the idea for the original Friday the 13th (1980). Thus, Last House indirectly stands as grand-daddy to all the bastard sons of Freddy and Jason who stalked the silver screen during the 1980s. With Scream and its sequels, Craven has come full circle, simultaneously parodying and perpetuating the genre he indirectly helped to create with his first film.


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5 February 2001
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
Cole Baker
5.0 out of 5 starsHugely entertaining and informative document about one of the most notorious films of all time
8 October 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
D.F. Henderson
5.0 out of 5 starsI'm very glad I ordered this ....
19 July 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ryan Clark
5.0 out of 5 starsA must-read for any fan of Last House or Wes Craven
14 October 2011 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One person found this helpful.
N. P. Stathoulopoulos
5.0 out of 5 starsReally into it
15 September 2004 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
7 people found this helpful.

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