To Avoid Fainting, Keep Repeating “It’s only a Remake”

Welcome back, my friends, to Castle Rackula. Prepare for an unusually long and discursive post this week.

I’ve been in the castle’s library for the past few nights boning up on the latest actresses, and I got a chance to do a little reading while I was at it. Therefore I decided to take a more scholarly approach to this week’s subject, the upcoming Last Louse on the Left remake.

But don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten to include plenty of nudition to accompany all the erudition.

The 1972 exploitation flick The Last House on the Left is the latest hallowed classic to get a Hollywood remake, following The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and Friday the 13th.

Unlike those three films, The Last House on the Left never became a movie franchise, though writer-director Wes Craven went on to start one of the biggest of them all when he made A Nightmare on Elm Street 12 years later.

Sandra CasselThere was never a Last House on the Left sequel, but there have been enough re-imaginings and interpretations to fill a whole neighborhood with houses on the left and the right and the edge of the park and at the end of dead end streets.

Some (Last House on the Left fan Roger Ebert among them) will tell you that the story of Last House on the Left goes back to Ingmar Bergman’s 1960 film The Virgin Spring, itself a retelling of the medieval Scandinavian ballad "Tore's Daughter at Vange."

And even the centuries-old ballad was based on the even more ancient Indo-European themes of hospitality, obligation, and revenge that inspired the Nibelungenlied.

The basic narrative of which these are all variants involves a group of thieves who murder a woman, then unknowingly seek shelter in the home of her father. When they accidentally give away what they have done (usually by producing some item that belonged to her), the father then must decide what to do with these men he has welcomed as guests.

In all of these stories, the major conflict is not the murder of the innocent female victim, but the conflict that arises when the debt of sanctuary and protection owed to one’s guests runs up against the equally weighty obligation to pay back violence done to one’s clan with blood for blood.

Brigitte SkayAs these ancient codes of conduct have eroded in the cultures that descended from the great honor societies of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, the importance of this central theme has lessened to the point that the hospitality vs. revenge motif is dropped completely in favor of a plain old revenge motif, accompanied by lots of sex and violence.

Among the many modern day retellings of the story that rely mostly on Craven for source material are
Hitch-Hike (1977) and The House on the Edge of the Park (1980), both starring singer-songwriter David Hess as a psychopathic killer, the racially charged Fight for Your Life (1977), and 2005’s Chaos (which provoked a very different kind of response from Ebert), a film that stays the closest to the original storyline without acknowledging itself as a remake.

Chantal DegroatSome movies were content just to imitate the film’s title. Movies like these include The Last House on the Left, Part II (1971) aka Bay of Blood, the inspiration for Friday the 13th, Last House on Dead End Street (1977), The Last House Near the Lake (1979), The House by the Cemetery (1981), The Last House on the Street(1993), Last House on Hell Street aka Beyond the Last House on the Left, (2002), Last House in the Woods (2006), and the porn flick The Last Whore House on the Left (2004) with Keri Sable and Lisa Marie.

The 2009 remake will take the film’s title as well as part of its story, although it looks like the female victim survives her attack, and at least some of the original’s award-winning nudity.

Sara PaxtonMari Collingwood, played by Sandra Cassel (who shows off all three boobs in the bath and being molested by the baddies) in the original move, is played by Sara Paxton in the remake.

Cassel’s other roles include a girl in a dildo ad in the raunchy 1973 comedy The Filthiest Show in Town (the only other film to be directed by Robert A. Endelson, the man behind Fight for Your Life), and parts in Love-In '72 (1971), Voices of Desire (1972), Legacy of Satan (1974), Teenage Hitch-hikers (1975) and Massage Parlor Hookers (1976).

Sara Paxton, who has never been nude, cut her teeth in tween movies like Sleepover (2004) and Aquamarine (2006), in which she played the titular mermaid.

The great hope for fans that want to see a ton of nudity in The Last House on the Left remake is epically named director Dennis Iliadis.

Iliadis’s other directing effort, made in his native Greece, is Hardcore (not the one with George C. Scott), the skin-filled story of two teenage lesbian hookers in love.

The movie is due out March 13th, and I’ll give it a real review then. But until that day, my friends, keep your fingers crossed that Last House on the Left 2009 will do its predecessors proud and give us a look a this former mermaid’s clam!

Until next week, fangs for the mammaries.