Tag Archives: Wes Craven

Review of The Last House On The Left (1972)

3 Dec

The Last House On The Left (1972) is an exploitation/revenge thriller/horror film, inspired by The Virgin Spring, a Swedish film, directed by Ingrid Bergman.

Directed by Wes Craven (The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Swamp Thing (1982)). This film is his directorial debut, which led to his highly succesful career as a horror filmmaker.

Written by Wes Craven (My Soul to Take (2010), The People Under the Stairs (1991)). He is one of those directors, who, more often than not, write their own movies.

Starring: Sandra Peabody, David Hess, Fred J. Lincoln, Jeramie Rain, Marc Sheffler, Richard Towers, Cynthia Carr and others.

This is a fairly typical exploitation film, not really crossing borders too much. It is graphic at times, but mostly it’s not that explicit. Although if it had an NC-17 rating it wouldn’t surprise me and I don’t really understand why they tried to get the R rating, because it is obvious they wouldn’t get it in 1972.

The start of the movie is the worst part. It shows all the worst acting the actors are able to do and the worst writing Craven can do. Wes Craven shows his deep insight into both the hippie culture and female psychology. He shows us that there is no greater purpose in the life of a young hippie woman than to be amazed how her breasts have grown. They have grown big enough for her to stop wearing bras and go around saying “tits”. Also important is their enjoyment of ice-cream and trying to buy drugs. At this point the movie takes a dark turn.

Well, at least half of the movie does. The two hippie girls walk into an apartment, where a bunch of criminals are hanging out. So now they are screwed and can’t leave. But then there’s the other part of the movie that takes place at the same time, but at our protagonists house. There we see her parents messing around with a cake, while some silly music is playing. And then we cut back to the criminal apartment where one of the girls gets punched in the gut and Sandra Peabody gives an awful mess of unsure acting, which left me wondering, what emotions were she trying to express.

Further on, I don’t want to get into spoilers, but since it is a revenge thriller, you can guess that something bad happens and then the revenge happens.

Also all the scenes, that don’t have the criminals anywhere near is in one way or another comedic. I really don’t get this decision on Craven’s part. The cops are two idiots, one of them is almost unrecognisably young Martin Kove. They run into different shenanigans, at one point having to sit on a roof of a truck full of chickens, that’s driven by a crazy, old, 4-toothed black woman. Again, there is wacky music in the background, that really seems inappropriate. Most of the music is cool, especially the part when the criminals have done their worst, a slow ballad starts playing. That’s the only part where the good, but out of the place music works.

The acting is not that great for the most part. David Hess is pretty awesome, with his robust, yet handsome facial features, adding to his intimidating performance. Also Fred J. Lincoln is perfect as a despicable, sleazy asshole. No wonder he went on to do porn movies.

They managed to make the fake blood’s color uncommonly realistic for the time.

Overall, I liked the movie. It isn’t great and if I have to recommend, there’s other, both exploitation and revenge, films I’d recommend over this, but this is a decent one too.

And for some reason he's acted in only two movies.

Review of A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

15 Oct

A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) is a horror/slasher/mystery film and a remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984).

Directed by Samuel Bayer, who previously has been almost exclusively a music video director for various well-known rock bands.

Written by Wesley Strick (Wolf, Cape Fear) and Eric Heisserer (Final Destination 5, The Thing (2011)).

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Clancy Brown and others.

This is another horror remake from Platinum Dunes, a production company co-created by, one of the biggest douchebags in film industry, Michael Bay, which, I guess instantly, makes him the producer, although the amount of his involvement isn’t clear. For people familiar with the name, seeing it on the screen should lower the expectations bar quite a bit.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t think a remake was necessary, but this is something Hollywood has decided to not let go, I guess, because shit like Friday the 13th (2009) can gross almost 100 million dollars, just because old fans are curious and younger audiences are idiots. Anyway, I thought this was the best possible horror remake Platinum Dunes could have produced, which doesn’t say much.

New Nightmare kind of returned to a much darker tone, but this one is really dark and most fans enjoyed the darker ANOES films the most.

Jackie Earle Haley was the perfect choice for the role, also the digitally enhanced voice was kinda creepy, because it feels like he’s whispering right in your ear. I mean I love Robert Englund as Freddy, but if he was in this movie, it would’ve been so out-of-place. This time Freddy is less talkative, but still does some one-liners, now they’re not as much cheesy-funny in movies 3-6, but more creepy and he’s given some really good lines. “Did you know that after the heart stops beating the brain can function for well over seven minutes? We got six more minutes to play.”

Nancy was incredibly blandly portrayed by Rooney Mara, but Kyle Gallner was fun to watch, especially his freak out in the pharmacy.

They did some new things and that’s what remakes should do. For example, they really accentuated the molestation part of Freddy’s history this time, when previously it was just implied.

Best use of All I Have to Do Is Dream by The Everly Brothers ever.

At the start it tries to trick you with the characters, but if you’ve seen the original, you’ll just be annoyed and not surprised.

The previous movies were mostly notable for the amazing use of practical special effects, this one doesn’t do much of that, but at least it doesn’t give you a golden shower of shitty CG either. Freddy’s make-up needed some improvement and they went for a more realistic burn victim look, which I didn’t mind, but admittedly did look a bit off.

This is movie was generally panned by critics. I guess, they couldn’t let go of the Platinum Dunes brand on it or they hadn’t previously sat through all of those ANOES movies that were filled with bad jokes and incoherent plots, written only to connect together the effect sequences.

It had some really bad parts, but since they got the most important part – Freddy Krueger right, I still found it pretty enjoyable and would want to see a sequel with confusing homoerotic undertones and S&M imagery.

Meow!

Review of New Nightmare (1994)

6 Oct

New Nightmare¬† also known as Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and commonly known as A Nightmare On Elm Street 7: New Nightmare (1994) is a horror/metafilm/fantasy film and the seventh (and in a sense the final) entry in one of the big three 80’s horror franchises.

Directed and written by Wes Craven (Scream series, The Last House on the Left), who also wrote and directed the original ANOES ten years earlier.

Starring: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Miko Hughes, John Saxon, Wes Craven himself and others.

Marks the return of Heather Langenkamp as the lead and after her crappy performance in ANOES 3, this was impressively well done. And she’s also pretty hot. I loved how through the movie she’s just getting gradually all fucked up.

The idea for the movie is kind of genius, and it was a bold new direction to take the franchise, sadly the public interest had already faded by the time, mostly thanks to parts 4-6. So the movie to some extent chooses to ignore those movies, in fact, you can (and I actually recommend this) watch only the first, third and seventh parts and it would totally make sense. The movie shows Langenkamp being interviewed on a talk show, like she’s the star of the whole series and what’s going on with her life would be relevant.

Miko Hughes used to be one of the top child actors of the early 90’s and then as they more often than not do, he just basically disappeared. I think he does a good job here, but still I found him absolutely annoying. And why does his character’s T-Rex toy protect him from Freddy?

It uses this one comically absurd movie cliché, where a character is painting and only when he finishes the last stroke we see the painting and as if the artist sees it for the first time as well, he only then realizes what he has portrayed.

I’m usually unaffected by those, but it had this one jumpscare, where I totally flinched.

Jsu Garcia and Tuesday Knight has really small cameos. Maybe because they wanted to downplay the later movies. I wish Craven had gathered the courage to ask Johnny Depp for a cameo, because he would have done it.

Maybe the only ANOES to put the script as the priority over special effects sequences. But the effects are great too, Freddy’s make-up is improved and he’s actually scary again. Robert Englund’s still got it.

You can’t punch a nurse, apparently, yet they keep hitting them.

Definitely a better conclusion to the series than Freddy’s Dead. It essentially returns to the tone of the original, by being very dark, serious and while having some amazing special effects, making them more horrifying rather than cheesy (and entertaining).

After all that mediocrity of the certain previous ones, I loved this movie. It’s by no means a perfect movie, but if you’re a horror fan, ANOES fan, interesting shit fan, watch this.

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