Friday, November 21, 2003

Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

In a strange way, this film made me appreciate Emanuelle in America. Sure, Emanuelle remains in the top five least pleasant experiences I've ever had watching a movie. Yes, it's still definitely a hideous, pointless and irresponsible endeavor. Yes, I still believe every known copy of the film should be gathered up and shot into space. But at least it wasn't boring -- its transgressive material admittedly did retain a primitive shock value. This film, on the other hand, is dead-dog-dick dull. It's ostensibly about a crew of snuff filmmakers who turn on their financial backers, but it's more like an hour of filler scenes and awful dialogue until the climactic orgy of bad makeup and slaughterhouse leftovers. The film runs 78 minutes cut down from an original mind-boggling running time of 170 minutes, so I understand that it wouldn't make much sense (no movie could withstand that brutal a slashing)... but Jesus. If I read tomorrow that the editor on this put on a blindfold, started cutting wildly and stopped when he hit feature length, then pasted everything together and hoped for the best, I wouldn't bat an eye. And what did make it into the film is below amateur-level -- it's a terrible script poorly enacted by untalented thespians running around in minimal lighting in front of a camera that never stands in a position to best capture the tedium. There are six-year-olds who've made more professional and interesting films. And its worst offense is taking the vilest of vile exploitation premises and somehow, through sheer incompetence, making it safe enough for your grandmother. No wonder the cast and crew hid behind pseudonyms -- I'd be embarrassed too.

Grade: F