Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

EXTREME SCENE: Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

Sometimes as horror lovers, especially extreme cinema fans, we have to dig deep and look to the past to find what we’re looking for. The 70s were a great decade for horror and exploitation movies, and I find a lot of hidden gems there.

Last House on Dead End Street (1977) is more of an exploitation film than anything else but it’s also subtly extreme cinema. It was made by film students who, after making it, were so ashamed they didn’t want their names attached to it. It really has something to offend everyone – I love that about it. The whole thing watches like a softcore porn combined with an arthouse and a grindhouse film.

Last House on Dead End Street is about Terry, a man newly released from prison for a drug charge, who wants to get back at society. He sets out to create a snuff film, “something really different”. At a party, Terry meets Jim Palmer, a pornography director, and his gay friend and film executive Steve, and they agree to team up to make a movie. During the party, Jim’s wife comes down donning blackface and gets whipped repeatedly while delighted partygoers watch and cheer, “Harder! Harder!” For some reason, Terry decides that the other two are taking credit for his masterpiece. After raping Jim’s wife, Terry Kidnaps her, another female porn star, Jim, and Steve to star in his snuff film.

The last 20 minutes or so is where it really breaks loose. The four victims are tied up and removed to be killed one by one. The whole sequence is a pulsing, whispering, echoing, eerie, flashing look into madness. The slowness of the kills and almost graceful movement alongside the pulsing music make it hauntingly beautiful as well as disturbing.

Jim’s wife gets the worst of it;, Terry and his film crew slowly slice her face, taunt her and remove her legs. By the end when they cut open her abdomen and remove her insides, she doesn’t flinch, unblinking and resigned to her fate, her silence far more disturbing than if she were screaming.

This movie makes an educated effort in offending by either showing or implying:

  • Animal slaughter
  • Beastiality
  • A graphic sex scene between horses
  • Blackface
  • Rape
  • Homophobia
  • Torture
  • Branding a human
  • Mutilation
and so much more…

I can’t claim that all extremists will love Last House on Dead End Street, but it’s worth their consideration.


Posted by Candace Stone

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