DVD Comparison: Last House on the Left
The Last House on the Left (1972)
Studio: MGM (R1) vs. Atlas (R2)
DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009/October 20, 2008
Directed By: Wes Craven
Cast: Sandra Cassel, Lucy Grantham, David Hess, Fred J. Lincoln, Jeramie Rain
Brutal As Hell Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Review By: Rod Schroeder
Two young ladies hit the big city for a night of Rock & Roll only to take a side trip to score drugs & find themselves confronted with a night of terror, courtesy of a couple of escaped convicts’ and their accomplices.
I’m sure by now you are well aware of this movie. It’s Wes Craven’s first major motion picture and in the simplest terms it is one nasty piece of cinema. A lot of people like it, and I’m sure a lot of people don’t. Tame somewhat by today’s standards, but still very despicable, but it isn’t without soul. May I direct your attention to one scene when, after one particular act of brutality, the gang just stand and look at each other, almost remorseful. It ends there. The movie trudges along until the final twist and finally ends. And while you may be inclined to cheer, I couldn’t find it within myself. It just needed to end, with no fanfare.
Now that I’ve gotten that vagueness out of the way, let it be known that the origins of strangely spelled normal names can be found within. Mari. That’s Mary with an i. However the point of my “review” is not to delve too deeply into the story but to make you aware of the new collector’s edition DVD that just hit the shelves by our good friends at MGM. It was also recently released as a Region 2, 3 disc Ultimate Edition by Atlas International. Which one is better? Well, let’s compare, shall we?
First off the MGM disc is unrated and runs 84 minutes. The R2 uncut and uncensored is also running 82 minutes?! Both versions have the following special features: “Celluloid Crime of the Century”, a 40 minute documentary of the making of the feature and it’s done very well. It features interviews with Craven, producer Sean S. Cunningham, stars Fred Lincoln, Jeramie Rain, Marc Sheffler, Martin Kove and David Hess.
Next is “Scoring Last House”, which covers the music of the movie, shows star David Hess in action plucking away at his guitar and talking about playing music, and finally writing the music for Last House.
“Tales That Will Tear Your Heart Out” is an unfinished short film which found its way on both versions of the DVD’s. The footage included was meant for an anthology film Craven was working on in 1976, but never completed due to lack of funds.
Finally, both editions contain a deleted scene of Mari dying by the lake, unseen footage from Last House On the Left and the theatrical trailer. The 3 disc Ultimate edition goes even further giving the fan 20 minutes of outtakes, radio & television advertising spots. The rest of the features are unique to each edition: the MGM R1 has a special feature called “Still Standing: The Legacy of The Last House on the Left”, which is Craven reflecting on the film. On the Ultimate edition you get the complete alternate cut of the movie, “Krug & Company” and an interview with Carl Daft of Blue Underground. Also included is “Krug Conquers England” which follows the theatrical tour of the uncut film shown in the U.K. Lastly, the 3rd disc in the Ultimate set is the documentary “Going to Pieces: The Rise & Fall of the Slasher Film”, which has previously been released stateside as a standalone documentary on slasher cinema through Velocity/ThinkFilm studios.
In a side by side comparison it’s a no brainer. If you have access to a R2 player, spend the extra few bucks and pick up the Atlas International 3 disc set.