Monday, June 13, 2011

150 Days of Halloween: Last House on the Left and Hobo With a Shotgun

Whelp, a day late, which means another double review!

First off, The Last House of the Left. I know I said I would watch and review the original, but I already saw it a few years back and didn't like it all that much, so I opted for the new experience with the remake. Going to keep this brief, because Hobo With a Shotgun was way more interesting to watch and Last House on the Left wasn't.

Last House on the Left

Last House on the Left follows a young girl who excels in school and has a good relationship with her parents, we learn that her brother died a year ago and she still strives to win in his memory. This is already a big departure from the original where they made the daughter an oversexed and typical movie teen. Which, when you think about it, is super creepy. They are sexualizing a teen for the audience, who will later witness the rape and torture of said girl. Really sets the wrong tone when you think about it. Oh don't worry, that's not really all that much of a spoiler, its basically all the movies about.
That actually looks like the Last House in the Center Frame.

The remake opts to keep her a believable person who doesn't take her shirt off constantly, which is already a vast improvement in not being creepy. The improvements are constantly seen actually, with people who can actually act being a big improvement over the original. Having seen both, one is basically a low budget porno and the other a typical revenge fantasy movie.

So anyway, the family arrive at their lake house and soon the girl leaves to visit her friend in town. They meet up, befriend a dude and head back to his motel room to smoke some pot. Unfortunately it turns out the dude is the son of a killer and his psychopathic brother and girlfriend. Thus the eventual murder of her friend and her own rape before being shot and left for dead in the lake. The killers then seek shelter from a storm in the girls lake house, welcomed as guests by her parents.

"Did I ever tell you my worst fear is to be bludgeoned to death by an elderly house wife?"
She eventually drags herself home and finds her parents, who then begin to brutally murder their daughter's attackers. That's the rest of the movie basically, attacking and killing them between short tension building games of cat and mouse. If you watch enough horror movies, its nothing you haven't seen before really, overall it is competently made especially when compared to the original.

Hobo With a Shotgun

Now this is what I'm talking about! To be frank, Hobo wasn't really a horror movie, its part of the Grindhouse revival and is firmly rooted in that style and aesthetic. Everything about it screams 70's Grindhouse, from the over the top acting, violence, and gore. If you love old exploitation and grind movies, then you will find everything to love here. This will also be short, but only because you need to watch it and I don't want to spoil too much.

I will watch this movie over and over again. Its so damn good.
Hobo With a Shotgun follows a hobo as he arrives in a city overrun by crime and violence. The police and the city are owned by a maniacal crime lord who rules through public executions and blatant acts of violence to keep people in check. The streets are crowded with the homeless, drug pushers, prostitutes, and every other symptom of a bad neighborhood. Our titular hobo only wants to make enough money to buy a lawnmower so he can start his own business, and ride back out of Scum City. Until his conscience gets the better of him and he steps in to help a young prostitute.

Soon enough the man is beaten and threatened enough by the city at large that he invests his money into a shotgun instead of the mower. What follows is a series of brutal attacks on those he find terrorizing innocents on the streets. Child molesting Santa? Head blown clean off. Man orchestrating bum fights? Gunned down. Pimp beating his girls? Dead on the street. Its all gloriously accompanied by synth music and grizzled one liners from the amazing Rutger Hauer.

I mention these guys below, they show up and just own the movie.
This eventually reaches the crime lord Drake, who instructs his sons to send a message to the city. The message, by the way, is sent by walking onto a full school bus and using a flame thrower on all the kids. They then kill a news anchor while he is on live television and tell everyone in the city that every homeless man, and especially the one with a shotgun, must die or the rest of the children will. Causing the streets to fill with vigilante violence and roving gangs. From here it just continues to escalate in amazing ways, with metal suite wearing demons hanging people, heads being torn off via manhole covers, and so much more.

It all comes to a head with a seriously over the top final confrontation that involves someone stabbing someone else repeatedly with a jagged arm bone among other displays of pure grindhouse awesome. What really makes this movie work as well as it does is the world it takes place in. This isn't just a forgettable series of sets, its a fully realized universe, with its own mythologies pulsing throughout it. The Plague, the demonic bounty hunters that arrive to escalate the violence and deliver the Hobo, have a whole legacy hidden beneath their metal faces. At one point we see a series of pictures represented completed bounties. That list includes many famous deaths, including one Jesus Christ, and these pictures are seen while one of them beats some massive tentacled creature back into a cell. Its a twisted reality this movie takes place in, but that reality pulsates with life in every frame and makes the movie feel like some living entity your getting a glimpse into, something its hard to experience in a movie.

If you love over the top movies then you owe it to yourself to seek this movie out. As always, feel free to see the full 150 Days of Halloween schedule with links to reviews HERE.
"Watch my movie or I'll blow your god damned face off!"


  1. first movie sounded less intriguing then hobo with a shotgun xD

  2. Hobo with a Shotgun is such a fanatstic name for a movie. Based on your review, I think I'll be seeing it and hopefully having a laugh.

  3. ive seen last house on the left, and i liked it.
    great reviews

  4. never hear of both, will check
    thx for the info

  5. I am going to go find that Hobo movie as we speak. It just sounds so epic.

  6. oh I am for certain going to go rent that hobo with a shotgun movie tonight!!

  7. Sounds cool, mite have to watch some of these on cheesy horror movies night, thanks

  8. i gotta go see hobo w/ shotgun

  9. I need to see the Hobo one, so much good reviews.

  10. Watched it loved it

  11. Last House on the Left didn't strike me as a horror but it was alright, I suppose. I wouldn't watch it again, that's for sure.