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The Last House on the Left but one

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Mark Kermode | 10:34 UK time, Monday, 9 March 2009

Does modern horrific trump vintage mephitic in the trailer for the remake of Sean S. Cunningham and Wes Craven's infamous 1972 horror movie?

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  • Comment number 1.

    Hey Mark,

    I agree with you about these new flashier, slicker remakes that we are seeing nowadays. However there is a part of me that hold out some form of hope with The Last House on the Left - it may be that I only saw the original a few years ago not when it first came out (I am 27 by the way) I don't know.

    [I posted the following last night in the comments for your last video but I think you might have missed it, so I hope you don't mind me asking again:]

    Knowing that you are a horror film buff, I wondered if you'd had a chance to watch Pascal Laugier's Martyrs yet (maybe at Cannes)?

    I watched it over the weekend and it totally blew my mind. While I can't say that I enjoyed it or necessarily liked it - I thought it was brilliant, terrifying, sad, horrific and beautiful at the same time.

    I just wondered what your thoughts were as it seems to me that the french are riding a very healthy wave of quality horror movies at the moment.

  • Comment number 2.

    I saw it in Sheffield a weeks ago, For the first hour and a half, I would agree with you on all your descriptions. It was one of the only contemporary horror films that truly reaches through the screen and grabs the audience by the neck and refuses to let go. Straight from the off, it was horrific and at the same time compelling. However, I lost all respect for the film after about an hour and a half. There is a point when it should have stopped (explaining this in any more detail would ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen it) and from here on the film unsuccessfully tries to 'torture' the audience as the character themselves is being tortured. I found this ridiculous and insulting and ruined an otherwise great horror film. There was no need for this cheap attempt at claustrophobia, which is a shame.

    And for the pseudo-philosophical nihilistic rubbish that was the ending, don't get me started.

    But yes it would be very interesting to hear what Dr. Mark has to say about it.

  • Comment number 3.

    If someone hurt? What's this hurt nonsense? In the original the someone(s) killed the two girls.

    Apologises for ruining the original but if you haven't seen it then I blame YOU for all these remakes.

  • Comment number 4.

    Dr Mark,

    First of all I must state that I have not seen 'Last House on the Left', but wondered if any remake, of any film, can truly live up to its predecessor.

    As a remake, it is probably by definition made at a time with a new vernacular, new context of meaning, and in some cases, a new upgrading of technical know-how and equipment.

    Which having seen some of the resent films now offered in this genre, have gone someway in making them suffer from what I call designer violence.

    Bloody, yes, but they lack some of the original films rawness and limits which I think adds to their impact. Thus the viewer does not let their own fears/discomfort/prejudices
    surface, and so becomes just what it is, without further meaning.

  • Comment number 5.

    Dr K

    I think that it’s very easy to be filled with a sense of trepidation at the prospect of a classic film (be it horror or anything else) being re-made, particularly when that the original means a lot to you (as it clearly does with Last House on the Left). Recently you have expressed similar thoughts concerning Hollywood remakes of Japanese films so I was wondering if this will always be the case, or is there an example of a classic film that you think needs or at least would suit being re-made?


  • Comment number 6.

    I haven't seen the original (yet) and I may start a new thing of buying/watching the original everytime a new horror remake comes out. I have seen 'I Spit on Your Grave' though and that is in the works for a remake.

    Interestingly, the 'Last House' remake has Monica Potter, the wife in the original 'Saw'.

  • Comment number 7.

    Well I don't like films being re-made simply because they water down or take away what the original was about.

    The only positives I can think of the remake's coming it out in general are.

    1. People who have never heard of the film will,look for the original on DVD.

    2. Keep people in jobs in a tough climate

    But if you ask me they are better offer re-releasing the orignal films. Like what they did with Christopher Lee's Dracula last year.

  • Comment number 8.

    See I don't have this problem because I just think they're boring and in years to come they won't be as revered or as well remembered as the originals because the true horror fans will not submit to Michael Bay's evil plans for cinematic domination.

  • Comment number 9.


    The only remake I can think of which I actually prefer to the original is 2003's The Italian Job. Controversial - I don't think Dr. K likes it much - but I think it's good fun. Apart from this, remakes do seem to be almost univerally inferior, and usually flag this up by trying to imitate too closely the original work. Haven't seen the original Last House, but I think Dr. K is probably going to be right yet again.

  • Comment number 10.

    Another thought I've had is that if Hollywood wants to make more money from old horror films, they should simply re-release them in the cinema!
    Plenty of people (myself included) would pay money to be able to see (for example) Nick Roeg's famous work on the big screen. Recent re-releases of classic films (eg: Hitchcock's Notorious) have been successful as far as I know.

  • Comment number 11.

    re: Tapping Eddie

    I get where you are coming from and I found Martyrs extremely hard to stomach from that 20 or so minutes. However, I think that the ending totally saved it and in turn made me see such a brutal, uncompromising movie as also a beautiful one.

    Saying that, I wouldn't hold it against anyone that didn't like the movie - which is in itself weird.

    I can't wait to see what Laugier can do with Hellraiser actually. If anyone was going to remake it (as painful as that is) he might well be the guy!

  • Comment number 12.

    I bought the uncut Last House On The Left when it was released, being desperate to see it, and I loved it. Which is an odd way to say it. I really respected the intention with which it was made, and was very interested in the way it was and the ideas behind it. To review it vaguely.

    Then recently I saw the trailer for the remake, and it was a rare occasion when I cast judgement on a film prior t'seeing it, cecause it looks abysmal (not that I'd expect a masterpiece, it seems an odd choice of film to remake). Oh look, Krug's head is going to be in a microwave and his captor will spout a killer sign-off line (seemingly with NO sense of irony); it looks sure t'be a lowest-common-denominator-get-the-Hostel-fans-in-the-seats kill-fest. And in a really bad way.

    It reminded me of (to be timely) Zack Snyder's interminably use of slo-mo in Watchmen, particularly in Rorshach scenes. Rorshach, brutalising a roomful of cops should NOT be made to look cool; he's TRAVIS BICKLE! If anything, his fights should look like the desaturated climax of Taxi Driver! We shouldn't be made to see him as cool, we should see him kill, all the while questioning our views of it. As was done superbly in A History Of Violence.

    But I digress.

    Actually had an argument with my brother yesterday about horror criticism and theorising. He said excess money leads to less discretion and more I trounced his point citing (in a witty and erudite way of course, it is ME talking) a comparison between Last House...and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He fell deathly silent in awe of my superiority.

    Signing out,

  • Comment number 13.

    DAMMIT! TYPO. *Interminable.

    And Rorshach, maybe. Can't remember.

  • Comment number 14.

    Perhaps it's not the fact that a film is remade, perhaps the bench mark is already set with the original and the perception shouts, go on, entertain me then, with bigger, faster, louder, more horrific etc. The watcher constantly judges and compares back to the original and cannot possibly see the new film with fresh perspective. The subconscious just takes over. Also, don't you think that after a decade or two of repeatedly wrenched emotions from the portent of horror film genre, future expectations could be unmalleable?

    I speak of course from a childhood that couldn't bear to watch 'Teddy' being stuffed in his basket by Andy Pandy.

  • Comment number 15.

    I obviously haven't seen the film yet (don't plan to) but here's my prediction, based on previous experience.

    No, it won't have the weight of the original, for all the reasons you just mentioned.

    Yes, it will be just another torture-horror movie. Look at the remake of "The Hills Have Eyes" and tell me that's not exactly what's going to happen with "Last House on the Left."

    As a kicker, if you check out the Web spots that have been airing on YouTube, any possible hope you might have for this movie will go down the tubes.

    Deep deep down I have a wish that this movie won't completely suck, and that there could be something redeemable about all these remakes. But of course, the truth is that there isn't. I'm not holding my breath.

  • Comment number 16.

    Well Dr. K,

    This is a link to a Wes Craven interview where he touches on some of the issues you bring up on this video and also talks a bit about his new film.
    He bring up a few intersting points, paarticualrly in relation to on screen violence and what's permissible under the MPAA.

    He does a good job in selling the remake of the Last House on the Left, and gives me the impression that it might not be a complete waste of time.

  • Comment number 17.

    Absolutely right...
    It seems the scariest factor of this film will be the trailer.
    Plus there is no need for the word THINK in the sentence; "i don't think it will live up to the weight of the original"
    It's one thing saying that with an objective led film like Friday the 13th that could spawn a remake that would simply suffice as a spin-off sequel type addition to an ever growing series.... But Last House on the left?!?!?! Just NO...NO NO NO.

  • Comment number 18.

    have to agree with you here.

    one problem i find with most modern horror, is that you just see too much! when i was young and just finding horror, i always wanted more, now i have it i think its gone a little too far.

    and as for last house on the left and its stable-mates, just keep repeating, its only a remake, its only a remake, its only a remake!

  • Comment number 19.

    As someone in Hollywood once said, they're not in it to make art; they're in it to make money; and if they make art by accident, then fine, but it's not their intention. I haven't seen the original LHOTL, but I know for certain the remake will be shite. The importance of old, original ideas is completely lost on the new generation of film-makers; their ignorance of what came before them is for all to see. And let's face it, with so many remakes of remakes of remakes out there, isn't that proof enough that Hollywood has simply lost it? As you have so often said, if you want to see a film, see it in its original form and not its lame remake.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Mark,

    I think you're confusing the tagline for the "Last House on the Left" remake with another modern horror film called "Hush" (2008). "How far would you go to save the one you love" is the tagline for that movie.

  • Comment number 21.

    Doc Mark, is it your wife who follwos you around with a camera so you can do a 'spontanious' piece to camera? or is it a BBC hired hand?

  • Comment number 22.

    Well, yes, I wondered if this was filmed on the, no doubt, sizeable Kermode estate. On the other hand it does look like the sort of place that gets dragged regularly for dead bodies.

  • Comment number 23.

    just read that they (hollywood) are remaking suspiria... *sigh*



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