Last House on the Left (1972)
Riding the same crime-wave fear as Death Wish, Last House on the Left is one of the most unpleasant movies we’ve ever watched, but we think about it almost every day.
Its portrayal of casual, pointless cruelty is incredibly despairing, and Mari’s death — walking into a lake, just wanting it all to be over — is endlessly haunting.
All the acting is outstanding, especially by Sandra Peabody (above, left) and Lucy Grantham (right). And writer-director Wes Craven has an obvious skill for scaring the hell out of us, as we would continue to do for the next four decades with films including the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises.
It’s one of those horror movies we respect but will never watch again.