The Wes Craven Retrospective: The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Following his unexpectedly successful debut The Last House On The Left, Wes Craven ended up convinced to stay within the genre and cook up a worthy follow-up that would cement his stature as one of the up-and-coming voices in horror. Interestingly enough, he was initially quite hesitant because he feared he would paint himself into a corner. Little did he know that the corner he was painting himself into would be looked at with adulation by generations of filmmakers. That’s because similarly to George A. Romero, John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper – his contemporaries – he had a knack for distilling social anxieties into his stories and elevating what could otherwise be disposable exploitation films to become cultural icons.  

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The Wes Craven Retrospective: The Last House On The Left (1972)

It is commonly understood that when Wes Craven embarked on a mission to write and direct his debut feature, he was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring. Some attach a caveat that he was merely adapting the same Swedish ballad, but it is abundantly clear he was intentionally hitting the same dramatic beats as Bergman. But more often than not – apart from remarking upon the film’s exploitation aesthetic, cultural notoriety and the fact some parts of it have been lost forever owing to widespread censorship – this is where the discourse surrounding The Last House On The Left ends. But there’s much more to be mined in there.  

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