No announcement yet.

Last House on the Left vs House on the Edge of the Park vs Night Train Murders

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Last House on the Left vs House on the Edge of the Park vs Night Train Murders

    3 similar but different films. Two of which made by Italians. And one of which (HOTEOTP) has almost nothing to do with LHOTL aside from the casting of David Hess and having a similar title. Which of these 3 films do you like and why?

    The young me would've gone with Last House purely because of it's status. But the older me notices the flaws of Last House that much more. The direction is pretty bad. No real style and it's not even point and shoot for the most part, it's verite. Verite doesn't really impress me because it's largely improvised and the philosophy is basically 'let's shoot it this way, let's shoot it that way, we'll figure it out in editing' and that's what verite is for the most part unless it's really elaborate in which case it's not really verite but staged verite. A good example would be the found footage in Cannibal Holocaust. The angels and movement were so important in that film and I don't get that impression from Last House.

    Then you have the scenes with the cops... and an inconsistent pseudo zany tone with bits of humor with the fugitives and some questionable music by Hess. It's a miracle that the film worked at all considering. Why it works because of some amazing acting by the two teenage girls and Hess and Lincoln. Plus the violence works in the verite style, everything else in the film shot like verite -fly on the wall- style of filmmaking just doesn't work.

    House on the Edge of the Park is a total 180 compared to Last House. The tone for one thing is totally consistent. Yeah, we can laugh here and there but when we do it's usually because of something witty spoken by Hess or Radice making an ass of himself, but this is intentional. Hess is charming and manipulative and sadistic. His character is so much more layered compared to Last House where's he's a typical rapist that tries to act suave but you can easily see through him. Not to mention the music is genuinely effective and disturbing, the acting is great all around, and the violence is probably more disturbing than Last House because it's so much more focused on the violence without any cutaways. I still would like to know if Hess' reaction to getting shot in the balls was supposed to be serious or not...

    Night Train Murders. Another film that I think is better than Last House. It's not nearly as disturbing as Last House but that's subjective. I like it because it because it does something clever with it's treatment of good and evil. The villains were not some evil rapists who just wanted to rape and kill, they were just street kids who were coerced into doing something horrible. And it ends on that note and questions the almost black and white morality of Last House. I say almost because, yeah murder won't bring the girls back, but many would argue that it was completely justified. Unlike say when Sydow kills the child in The Virgin Spring.
    Alex K.
    Senior Member
    Last edited by Alex K.; 11-02-2017, 05:39 PM.
    "Ah! By god's balls what licentiousness!"

    Marquis de Sade, The 120 Days of Sodom.

  • #2
    I'd say the first half of Last House on the Left is much more successful than House on the Edge of the Park. The scenes with the young women in the forest are still very uncomfortable to watch, in particular the scene where one of the women is forced to pee in front of the slobbering characters is still one of the sleaziest things I've ever seen. The tone of that entire sequence comes so close to something real (as you say, verite) that it is authentically disturbing. The failed humour and more typically genre-bound ending weaken the film fatally but it is still a classic of a sort.

    House on the Edge of the Park opens strongly but the scenes inside the house are ridiculous as the characters stand around to be abused while they have numerous opportunities to escape. The rape that turns into a 'love' scene is beyond risible and the ending is so logically incoherent the entire film collapses, the weak-ass 'I didn't have an opportunity to make it to the gun' is laughable.

    I do agree that Night Train Murders is a much stronger film though, must stronger than either Last House or House at the Edge of the Park. The filming, acting and writing are all at a much higher level, I'd like to see the film in Italian some time.

    Another excellent film in this rape/revenge and home invasion subgenre is the Canadian Death Weekend aka House by the Lake. Very well acted and written with some real complexity. It deserves a proper DVD or BD release.
    Randy G
    Senior Member
    Last edited by Randy G; 07-31-2012, 12:42 AM.


    • #3
      Hnh....interesting question.

      It's sort of amazing to me that LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT works at all. I agree with Randy that the scenes in the forest are incredibly effective, and almost rescue the movie. But not quite for me. The utter lack of visual style and the incredibly misjudged attempts at humor are too deep of flaws for me to have much more affection for this movie than just appreciating it for its (relative) historical importance. I definitely like it least of the three.

      HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK, on the other hand is just dumb fun, as far as I'm concerned. And emphasis on the dumb -- seriously, dumb as a rock. Randy's points about the plot are spot on -- there's pretty much no way to explain the script/story that can cover up the gaping holes. But...Hess and Radice were great, I love me some Annie Belle, Deodata's direction is pretty confident and stylish, the sleaze quotient is just ridiculously high, and the end result is pretty fun if you're willing/able to just accept the plot as is. Probably of the three, the one I'm most likely to rewatch anytime soon.

      NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS -- Arguably the best of the three, especially from a technical standpoint. I thought the third act, when the movie seemed to decide to replay LAST HOUSE felt forced, but other than that this one just doesn't have the gaping problems the other two do. The cast is good all around, the direction is excellent, and the structure of the story actually has some teeth to it in the way that it looks as class roles in Italian society. I feel like there's way more going on here than in the other two. But, on the other hand the sleaze quotient is dialed way down relative to the others, and it's not as fun as PARK, so apart from wanting to check out the quality of the blu-ray I haven't felt any burning desire to see it again.


      • #4
        I should say that I do like Hess and Radice, Annie Belle is a plus and the disco song is killer in HOUSE.


        • #5
          LAST HOUSE is killed for me by the badly filmed scenes, the "zany"cops, the "music" that accompanies them, the parents "acting" at the end, the actual ending (mother inparticular)....HOWEVER the murder scenes are wel done, as is the walk into the water and the general premise is sound (which they had made "sex crime of the century instead though!!)

          EDGE OF THE PARK is better made, more OTT, some dubious "social commentry"...but the more professional approach makes it a more watchable....but also more "safe".....

          I prefer "EDGE" because HOLLYWOOD will never remake it!!!!


          • #6
            Ever see D'Amato's Porn Shop on 7th Avenue?

            Made before HOTEOTP, it is very similar...has some of the same actors in it as well...At one time, I thought it blatantly ripped off HOTEOTP, but lthen learned it was made a year earlier...

            I like all of these...I was kind of let down by The Night Train was well done, but the revenge portion could have been better or more effective...

            The "keystone cops" bit always irked me about Last House...I guess I understood why, but it just came off goofy...

            So, in this round HOTEOTP will get the win for me...It is an uncomfortable watch and the laughs that come from it are not goofy ones...well, maybe the close up shot of Hess at the end...

            Hitch-Hike is by far my favorite of the Rape/Revenge flicks...


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tom K View Post
              Hitch-Hike is by far my favorite of the Rape/Revenge flicks...
              Great call. Hitch-Hike is fantastic...


              • #8
                Hitch-Hike is probably one of the best Italian films of the 80's but I didn't list it because it was more of a on the road flick with elements of the chase movie and rape revenge.

                Amazing film nevertheless.
                "Ah! By god's balls what licentiousness!"

                Marquis de Sade, The 120 Days of Sodom.


                • #9
                  The Virgin Spring.


                  • #10
                    To those that have not seen them,the italian productions of 'terror express' and 'terror/last house on the beach' are both worthy additions to this kind of rape/revenge mini genre.'terror express' is a rip of 'dont ride on late night trains/night train murders' and 'last house on the beach' is obviously a rip of 'last house on the left' & 'house on the edge of the park'. Both are inferior to the films they imitate but they do have enough merit to seek out.

                    Both are available on fantastic dvds as part of the italian genre cinema collection,'terror express' from camera obscura and the other from sazuma


                    • #11
                      I think that Night Train Murders is just a really disturbing film. Well, they all are but something about that one just hits a note with me. Harmonica music has never been more ominous.


                      • #12
                        Yeah, I don't think the other two are even in it's league honestly. The short tracking shot of the girl's body next to the tracks is haunting and chilling.


                        • #13
                          When I first saw LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT - I have to admit I was disappointed with it
                          I prefer HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK and NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS easily


                          • #14
                            Something occurred to me recently regarding LHOTL's "bumbling cops" subplot: I feel like it highlights the futility of the girls' situation, as if to say "NOBODY can help them, especially not THESE two!". Now, this could have been achieved without resorting to schtick, but Wes and co. probably felt a little levity would help the film overall (with the hippie flip-off serving as both a catharsis for the youthful audience members and further horror for the adults). It clearly doesn't work for most people, but I don't mind it much because ALL of the tonal shifts feel misjudged yet kind of work for me, adding to the overall nightmarish-ness of the experience. LHOTL could have been another exploitation programmer that came and went, leaving little trace, but timing, word-of-mouth and a classic ad campaign assured that this would not happen, and because of Craven's subsequent career (and the growing notoriety of his debut), people seem to come to this film with higher expectations than maybe they should?

                            HOTEOTP works for me on a pretty different level, Hess and Lombardo Radice make a great damaged buddy pair whom I really enjoy watching, and Frank von Kuegelgen's English dubbing for Ricky is every bit as memorable as his work as Mike in CANNIBAL FEROX and Giulio in ALMOST HUMAN. Plot-wise, it asks a fair amount from its audience but the conclusion still feels satisfactory while still leaving a sense of unease at the viewer's shifting sympathies.

                            NIGHT TRAIN is beautifully made, and the controversial Roussos theme actually sets up the tragic fate of its characters quite well, IMO. Socio-politically, this one probably comes across as the least muddled in its conception, while still playing with audience sympathy to some extent.

                            Even though they occupy similar territory, I love all three on their individual (somewhat dubious) merits, with PARK taking the lead of the two Italian films.


                            • #15
                              LHOTL is the one I revisit the least. Remove Hess and it would be unwatchable, except for Lincoln who's pretty good. The soundtrack is amazing though. Hess was a brilliant guy.

                              HOTEOTP I've probably seen close to 20 times by now. I love it. The sleaze-o-meter is off the charts. Hess and Radice are both great. The music is groovy (bought the limited vinyl that came out last year, which of course was warped but thankfully plays without skipping) and yes it's contrived and implausible but I guess you can accept their passiveness as part of the plan so to speak. That's a bold strategy Cotton but let's go with it. Annie Bell... whatta trooper! Super gorgeous girl with a cool confidence about her. Not big on her short hair but you can't have it all. No wonder Hess raved about her in interviews. Propably Deodato's most fucked up film after the cannibal stuff. I love the protracted comeuppance of Hess in the pool. The entire film is just hilariously obscene. I've shown it to select friends but they've just looked at me like I'm insane for liking something that vile.

                              I've only seen Night Train Murders once but I was very positively surprised by it. It's definitely the best film of the three but I doubt I'll watch it more than HOTEOTP.

                              Oh, not on Cauliflower! Oh, not on Broccoli!