Wes Craven on "Last House" and the lure of horror

Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:54pm EDT
 
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In 1972, Wes Craven made a career change from college lecturer to slasher film maestro with his bloody "The Last House on the Left," and he is back for more knife play with a remake in theaters on Friday.

Craven, 69, produced the film reboot, which is directed by Greek-born Dennis Iliadis and gives a contemporary take to a movie originally made with less than $100,000 specifically for local Boston theaters wanting something scary to show teens.

When "Last House" became successful, it was picked up for wider distribution, and its marketing slogan "To Avoid Fainting Keep Repeating, It's Only A Movie..." became a pop culture catchphrase. Now the film is widely credited as being a forerunner to today's popular slasher flicks.

The original film followed a couple of teenagers who were terrorized by criminals, before two parents take vengeance on the outlaws, and the new movie has basically the same plot.

The only film Craven single-handedly directed outside the horror and thriller genre is his 1999 "Music of the Heart."

Craven, who enjoys bird-watching, spoke to Reuters about the remake and his mother's view of his films.

Q: Often teens go to horror movies to see if they have the strength to stand it. Do you think that every year the films become more crazy and extreme?

A: "I think that to some extent they're tuned to the times. It was no coincidence in my mind that torture porn came out at the same time that the United States was torturing people. It's dealing with what's floating around in the psyches of everybody. My God, waterboarding. What would it feel like to do it? Would I be able to take it? All those questions come up, so it wasn't surprising that there were films about it suddenly."   Continued...

 
<p>Director Wes Craven attends a panel discussion for the documentary 'Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film' at the 'Television Critics Association' summer 2006 media tour in Pasadena, California in this file photo from July 10, 2006. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>