Tuesday, September 07, 2010

"Last House on the Beach" review

Last House on the Beach (1978)

Three psychotic cretins break into a house so that they can lay low for awhile. Their car broke down while they were escaping from a bank robbery and they need some time to regroup. Little did the thieves know that there are a half dozen Catholic school girls and their nun chaperone staying in the house. The men decide to take advantage of this classic exploitation movie setting and terrorize the innocent victims until they push the meek women to the breaking point.

I rented "Last House on the Beach" because it seemed to be another sleazy Italian exploitation movie. I've seen my fair share of the genre but had never heard of this movie before. It has all the elements necessary to make a nasty flick. It has the innocent schoolgirls, (with a crucifix over each bed so you know that they're pure). It has a nun, (one scene has the psychos stripping the nun out of her normal clothes so that she'll put on her official nun outfit. You can't be a nun without looking the part.) It has three rapists with raging libidos and no morals. Mix it all together and you have the makings of a sleazy time down by the beach.

But "Last House on the Beach" turns out to be relatively tame when compared to the harsher entries in this particular genre. There's a reason I've never heard of it. I was hoping to be surprised by a hidden gem but it turns out the filmmakers just didn't have the heart to go all the way with their exploitation premise.

Somehow the filmmakers manage to tone down every sleazy scene just when it should be getting rougher. We know that the psychos won't manage to keep their hands off of their captives. We are expecting to see scenes of horror unfold for these hostages. But the filmmakers cannot bring themselves to show any outrageous exploitation scenes. None of the violent scenes are memorable and any nudity shown is brief.

Although "Last House on the Beach" does have a few nasty moments, they are brief and quickly forgotten. If you're looking for a harsh exploitation movie where people are held against their will, check out "The House on the Edge of the Park". It remains the gold standard for this particular genre. "Last House on the Beach" is just not sleazy enough to warrant a viewing. Some scenes start strong but then the filmmakers decide to let the violence happen off camera. Exploitation movies should never have the violence happening off camera. Tasteful decisions are fatal for exploitation movies. "Last House on the Beach" can be skipped.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 Catholic high school girls in trouble


odenat said...

it's good to see ur post active again :)

Dr. Gore said...

Thanks. Appreciate it.

Goretician said...

I didn't mind this film, but "Night Train Murders" was a far more satisfying Italian "Last House on the Left" ripoff. Keep up the reviews of obscure gore and exploitation films!