Rape & Revenge!!!

This edition of BRAIN HAMMER’S PICKS FROM THE CRYPT is all about some good old fashioned r & r. I’m not talking about rest & relaxation, I’m talking RAPE & REVENGE! If the massive amounts of sexual sadism, torture, humiliation, and suffering contained within start to overwhelm you, just repeat to yourself – “It’s only a movie…only a movie…only a movie…”

 

LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972)

Seventeen year old Mari Collingwood is dying. But for her the worst is yet to come! It all started when Mari and her fast living pal Phyllis took a trip to the big city to see a Bloodlust concert, eat some ice cream, and score on some good grass. Unfortunately for the girls they fall into the clutches of a quartet of psychotics, comprised of escaped convict and murderer Krug Stillo (David Hess), the sadistic Fred “Weasel” Padowski, Krug’s dimwitted heroin addict son Junior Stillo, and the gang’s feral female fucktoy – Sadie.

The four psychos spend the night assaulting Phyllis inside their hotel room hideout and the next morning sneak the two girls into the trunk of their getaway car and head off to the country to escape the law and have some more fun. Along the way the car breaks down, and the girls are able to briefly escape. To Mari’s shock she realizes that she is literally right in front of her house! Unable to go inside where Mari’s parents are nervously waiting for her along with the dimwitted and inept local police, the girls have to run into the nearby woods. Krug and Company give chase and what follows is almost unspeakable horror.

The girls are soon captured, and Krug, Weasel, and Sadie all have a blast engaging the girls in all sorts of humiliating sexual acts. Pants are pissed, and Lesbianism is explored at knife point. Things turn violent as name carving, rape, dismemberment and disembowelment all ensue. Phyllis is gutted and Mari is shot in the head and left to bleed in a pond. After the carnage is over the killers wash the blood off their hands in the same pond and then wander off dazed. The brutality of the crimes seems to even appall the killers.

They wind up back at the Collingwood house, and incredibly enough become the Collingwood’s house guests for the evening! (a bit of a stretch to say the least!) As the thugs help themselves to heaping helpings of spaghetti and wine, the Collingwood’s discover their guest’s deadly secrets and finally decide to take the law into their own hands. The punishments fit the crimes, as castration, throat slittings, and chainsaw dismemberment are the orders of the day.

Pretty much the definitive “rape & revenge” movie. Also the most brutal. The only other flick that comes close is “I Spit On Your Grave,” but “Last House” came first and is a lot more realistic and influential in my opinion. Wes Craven has called this ultra sick retelling of Bergman’s “Virgin Spring” his “answer to stylized, Hollywood violence.” Hats off to Wes for a job well done. The violence in this film has a sickening realism that few other flicks can touch. There are times it feels like demented documentary footage. The rape scene is the most disgusting I’ve ever seen. Watching flies crawl on Sandra (Mari) Cassell’s face while David Hess is on top of her drooling as he briefly violates her and takes her virginity by force is almost unbearable. AS IT SHOULD BE! Rape isn’t pretty. Neither is this movie.

Watching the parents get their gruesome revenge on the killers is undeniably satisfying, but also forces the moral question if the ends justify the means. The victim’s family becomes as brutal and savage as the killers. It’s an interesting theme that Wes Craven also explored in his follow up film “The Hills Have Eyes.”  The tone of “Last House” is very grim, although it occasionally suffers from failed attempts at wacky humor (the scenes involving the cops and their comic misadventures are real buzz-killers) Another Wes Craven trademark that is established here is his love of bizarre “booby traps.”

I consider LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT to be a fucking must see. It’s one of those crucial exploitation flicks that I think everyone should have to endure at least once in their lifetime. Love it or hate it, this flick is one of the most important and influential flicks in the history of the horror genre and it must be respected. Hats off to MGM for releasing a pair of fantastic dvds of this flick that feature a lot of nice bonus features, including cast interviews and commentary tracks that can be easily found for a reasonable price.

 

 

HITCH HIKE (1977)

Franco Nero (“Enter The Ninja”) and Corrine Clery (“Moonraker”) play Walter & Eve Mancini, an eternally bickering married European couple taking a road trip across the United States. Along the way they stop to see the sights, pound booze, and hate fuck each other inside their camper. Their dysfunctional relationship is put to the ultimate test when they pick up a hitch hiker named Adam (David Hess).

Adam quickly reveals himself to be a pervert, asking Eve if she wants to suck his cock. After Walter pulls the car over to kick his ass, Adam pulls a gun and also reveals himself to be a bank robber on the run. Adam forces the couple to drive him to safety before his double crossed accomplices can catch up to him and the suitcase full of cash. Along the way Walter and Eve try to tip off the police but Adam proves to be a good shot and doesn’t hesitate to blow a large hole in the cop’s head! (great gore effect!) Adam also survives an insane bulldozer showdown with his former partners in crime.

Night falls, and after setting up camp Adam ties up Walter and finally has his way with Eve. Things get extra nasty as Eve seems to get off on it, much to Walter’s disgust. Adam tells Walter “All you have to do is know to touch her…” and seems to be right. Then everyone sits around the camp fire for a while and talks shit to each other. A double cross, and then a triple cross ensue and only one person walks away from a spectacular car crash with the money and their lives.

This is the second film where David Hess would star and command the screen as a violent sexual deviant. “Hitch Hike” is a fantastic little road thriller that was expertly directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile. This film is beautifully shot and tightly edited. David Hess has called this “the most psychological of the three films” and I would have to agree. This isn’t as much exploitation as it is a thriller. There is a lot of dialogue involving relationships between men and women, as well as homosexuality included that is more intelligent than you might expect from a flick like this. The twists and turns along the way will keep you riveted throughout. This flick also has one my favorite endings in genre history.

This is easily the most underrated entry of the “trilogy.” My pal the “Horror Geek” Mike Bracken calls this flick “a lost classic” and I have to agree. Anchor Bay/Blue Underground have both released HITCH HIKE on dvd and it should be easy enough to find. Fans of Franco Nero and David Hess should consider this flick mandatory viewing.

 

 

HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK (1980)

The flick that will make you scream “DO IT TO ME ONCE MORE!” David Hess and Giovanni Lombardo Radice play the dynamic duo of Alex & Ricky: a pair of super swinging NYC psychopaths. Alex is so bad, he even rapes and murders a girl – at the same time mind you – BEFORE the opening credits! I guess the producers didn’t want anyone to forget who David Hess was!

Alex runs a garage and deals in hot cars on the side. Ricky is his loyal, semi-retarded sidekick. One night a rich and good looking young yuppie couple pulls into the garage after hours looking for a quick repair. Ricky fixes the problem while Alex makes chit chat with the chick and ogles her ruthlessly. The couple mentions a small get together taking place at their house later and Alex and Ricky quickly invite themselves along. Once at the party and introduced to the three other guests Alex starts pawing at the girl and Ricky gets his freak on all over the dance floor much to the amusement of the others. (HILARIOUS!)

After a “now you get me, now you don’t” game in the shower, and a crooked card game where the kids try to swindle the mongoloid out of his money, Alex decides that the rich kids are trying to have some fun at their expense and whips out his trusty straight razor. The secluded house on the edge of the park becomes the ideal setting for an orgy of sexual sadism.

Every exploitative element (with the sad exception of Religion, I would have loved an obvious Jew for Hess to hurl abuse at!) is used to its fullest potential. You want multi-racial lesbianism at knife point? You got it. Racism? In spades. Rape? You bet’cha! Well, not so much actual rape as the constant threat, or perhaps promise, of rape. Violence? Oh yeah! Feast your eyes on brutal bloody beatings, razor blade slicing, poolside urination humiliations, and even 9mm castration!

As nasty as this flick sounds (and undoubtedly is) it actually plays out in a lot more entertaining fashion that you might expect. This flick is my favorite of the trilogy because I feel it has a lot more repeat viewing value than the other entries. I can’t get enough of David Hess saying “It’s too late for boogyin’ anyway” or calling the black chick “Roots.” I never tire of hearing that catchy disco theme song or watching Giovanni get down with his bad self as he seduces the always lovely Lorraine De Selle (“Cannibal Ferox!”) with his funky dance moves.

This Italian effort which was directed by the legendary Ruggerio Deodato (“Cannibal Holocaust”) obviously owes a debt to “Last House On The Left,” especially with Hess starring and the title. However, this is no inferior rehash. This flick is a tight thriller with a nifty twist ending. Another interesting aspect of the film is the fact that it mostly takes place within one location. Once we enter the house, we only rarely leave it. It’s to both Deodato’s and Hess’s credit that the film never gets boring.

As I’ve said before, this flick is a personal favorite of mine. I’ve forced many people to watch it over the years and it never fails to entertain. People who might consider “Last House On The Left” too brutal might find this more tolerable. There is a lot of unintentional humor to enjoy here, especially with the music and wardrobe. Lots of nice nudity throughout, and lovers of BUSH will get a hairy eyefull when the lovely leading lady Anne Belle sheds her clothes. Not to mention classic lines like “street fighting you don’t learn watching Telle Savales on tv.” This really is a clas-sick.

You can get HOUSE OF THE EDGE OF THE PARK on dvd, with a slew of bonus features, including a very in-depth interview with David Hess that covers all three films, thanks to the fine fiends at Shriek Show.

 

 

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!

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