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Written and Directed by Wes Craven
Before Craven was entertaining us with teen horror done in ways that have never been able to be duplicated, he was shocking audiences with what he wasn’t seeing enough of, in his own opinion. This, his debut film of which was based on 1960′s The Virgin Spring was also sprung up from it being the time of the Vietnam War. The footage that was being released of what had been going on being truly terribly and Craven was more than surprised at how the Horror genre wasn’t really portraying that type of “real” terror.
Brief Synopsis: Mari Collingwood (Sandra Peabody) comes from a wealthy background. One day while running off with her friend Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) to go to a concert, they hear on the radio of escape convicts and there accomplishes in the nearby area. All together they were Junior Stillo (Marc Sheffler): Illegitimate son of the leader of the two escapees. Krug Stillo (David Hess): Serving life sentence for triple murder in 1966. Fred “Weasel” Podowski (Fred J. Lincoln): Long record for child molesting, peeping Tom-ism and assault with a deadly weapon. Sadie (Jeramie Rain): unknown, strong and animal-like. The two girls run into Junior when trying to “score some grass” and in turn are kidnapped, raped and tortured beyond belief in a no holds barred sadistic chronicle exploiting their sick perversion. Followed by Mari’s parents chance for payback for what had happened to their young and promising daughter.
1. Revenge: The reason to see these movies, the whole point of seeing what these poor girls go through is to witness the redemption at the end. In whatever sense we can get it. All I know is that it better be sweet. Her father, who was a doctor (and apparently macgyver on the side) rigs the entire house before they get up and notice anything. Except for Weasel who get his “private” bitten off just as soon as he was going to climax. Mrs. Collingwood for the win, I mean…what better punishment for a pedophile? The dream sequence was nice but I rather wish that had been something actually done. The main difference in the original being that their child died when that wasn’t the case in the re-make.
2. A timeless horror that can be seen as “true horror” in any era: The real terror in this story is that these are real people and can exist within any era. The fact that something can be so transcending and full of danger while actually being a possibility; that’s what stays with people through the years. Monster movies are great but it’s not something that can happen to you when walking in the middle of nowhere (for the most part). After the movie was ready for distribution, Craven had to go back and cut well over 20 minutes of the film. Country’s began banning it and one such country had wanted to consider it a snuff film. Obviously most compared to I Spit on Your Grave, both having the premise of killers who do what they want because of their enjoyment out of it. Nothing more or less. They do show a brief moment of despair from the after-effect of everything but these type of people are incapable of actual feeling empathy for their actions. The reason I state being that Craven had spoken of people getting upset and leaving when it showed them washing off the blood from everything that had happened. That the killers shouldn’t have felt remorse since they were the ways who had done the act. Which, I can see what they mean.
3. How young and un-known actors came together to create a horrific relationship with one another: All four actors had never been seen prior and some had gotten their role just by simply knowing one another. Originally they thought Rain would be a problem for the part because it was supposed to be for a 40-year-old or so. Insisting on being able to perform the role, she went ahead and I thought she did well for keeping up with three other male leads. She did still seem a bit young but nothing that interfered too much. Hess did a great job as the hot head of the bunch who took it the furthest after already having done their worst. The one I was most weary of being Weasel, mainly because of how much he got into the role and seemed like the most unpredictable of the bunch. Though Lincoln and Hess gave each other a good run for their money. When Krug convinces his druggy son to shoot himself; the lack of emotion behind his taunting proved that no person was too close or sacred to break down.
4. Seeing both killers and young girls in their environment before the incidents occur: Though the original was quite shorter than the remake, they made time to show both sides in their respected atmosphere. In the beginning as the radio is explaining the escape and each person’s background, they worked the introductions, which worked like mug shot takes nicely into the shots. It’s never necessarily needed from the antagonist’s POV but it does gives the aspect of them being within their own comfort zones.
5. How terribly cheesy the soundtrack was: The entire time I saw the movie the one thing that kept coming to my mind was how incredibly silly it seemed. An FF being that Hess as well wrote and performed all the songs. There were two songs that I think sounded fitting the most throughout but otherwise seemed as though it was some bad retro documentary type footage and could have just the same probably not have had one at all.
I do wonder how much different the film would have been if they kept it as originally intended. Overall the best part was the relationship between the sadists family and their manner of speaking with one another to the victims. When the girls are trying to score in the beginning and Weasel asks them if they were cows and starts mooing, demanding them to follow was somewhat amusing. The entire thing was shot in chronological order and it wasn’t until they had even played the movie for a couple of audiences that they found their title. More than just a classic but a bench mark for the first time doing something daring for the genre and to not be afraid. To try and obtain a portion of something besides just the immediate scare factor but really capturing something inhumane and hard to watch that was as real as possible.