Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lost Horror

Director: Roger Watkins
Writer: Roger Watkins
Starring: Roger Watkins, Ken Fisher, Ken Rouse
1973 | United States | Not Rated | 78 mins

Since the 80's with the boom of home video films that were considered lost or urban legends began to pop up in the mom and pop shops across the world. Here legions of movie buffs could finally catch a glimpse of these once-forgotten gems now playing before their very eyes. But even the rarer titles only whispered about by fanzines and word of mouth still were the talk of myth to most, and sometimes the only way to see these films was by a handed down degraded third-generation dupe from the bootleg circles. One such film is the notorious Last House on Dead End Street which, until 2000 when Roger Watkins finally stepped forward, not one soul knew who actual directed, starred in, or made the film because the credits were all obviously fake. So even 30 years after a films release, and the advent of DVD, can the true history of these once lost but now unearthed films finally be revealed.

Terry Hawkins (Roger Watkins) is fresh out a jail and looking to make a buck. Upon meeting some seedy friends, and knowing how to use a camera, Terry is hired by a few local pornographers (Steve Sweet and Ed Pixley) to create something unique that will keep them on the market. But Terry, with the aid of some twisted individuals, is looking to get back at the society he despises, and turns the camera on the people around him. Capturing, punishing, and killing those for the camera becomes sick and twisted art as Terry transforms the murders into snuff films.

Vile, disgusting, depraved, and shocking, The Last House on Dead End Street is more than just grindhouse exploitation. Combining complex ideas of corruption and decadence with drugs, greed, and sex, Last House on Dead End Street showcases sleazy Manson-esque ideals as both bred, influenced, and tainted by the society it ultimately was born of and in the end devours. Roger Watkins displays a raw talent that unfortunately didn't lead to a more prominent film career, but for a film nearly lost for 30 years it can now be rediscovered properly. With cheap 16mm camera work, gory and grotesque murders, and shocking juxtaposition, Last House on Dead End Street takes you into a gritty world of horrors.

The Last House on Dead End Street is avant-garde artistic horror filmmaking with hidden layers under the grime and gore. In one scene in particular one of the pornographers held captive is forced to fellate a deer hoof while a mirror is held in front of him, which perversely symbolizes his character to look at himself, where he can see too that he is also a monster. Like the earlier works of Wes Craven or Monte Hellman, nihilism in filmmaking makes for an interesting and disturbing viewing experience, and Last House on Dead End Street doesn't hold back. The Last House on Dead End Street is a tough watch, but all the better for the experience - a grindhouse cult classic with complex ideas that goes straight for the jugular.

All contents copyright 2010 Tyler Baptist

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