After a twelve-month jail sentence for drug charges Terry Hawkins decides to dive back into the career of film making, despite that his previous series of stag films failed to make an audience. As he gives up on the idea to sell sex on film, Terry decides that this time he wants to try something different, something more. Like a common career change for many trend following film makers, if you can't sell sex, sell violence. So Terry Hawkins comes to the conclusion along with his friends that the best way to get an audience, is to enter the seedy underworld of snuff.
I know what you're thinking, this is a storyline that has been done to death (pun intended) and you're right; storylines surrounding the controversial theme of snuff has been done more times than you can count, but this is something different. Most films surrounding the topic usually view it from an outside perspective, we feel like we're watching the characters watch snuff, as opposed to watching it ourselves. In contrast if you took many scenes out of The Last House on Dead End Street, recorded it on unlabelled VHS tapes and hid it in someone's basement, well their reaction could be interesting.
The Last House on Dead End Street is riddled with poor dubbing, and sub par acting, but this is all part of the fun. In one way this film is the dictionary definition of the dirty Grindhouse genre we all know and love; with topless nudity, graphic violence and more over the top sleaze than the red light district. However in another way The Last House on Dead End Street far surpasses this stereotypical exploitation cliché. The fashion in which this film was shot portrays it not quite as a purposely made b-grade extravaganza, but as an almost authentic guerilla style approach to film making, reeking strongly of artistic merit. In a different light The Last House on Dead End Street is somewhat similar to the great works of Harmony Kormine.
Overall, The Last House on Dead End Street is an incredibly underrated piece of glorious 70's trash. For obvious reasons this is not a film for everyone, but this more intelligent example of Grindhouse cinema is definitely recommended at least as a curiosity call for those who can handle it; and is a must see for fans of the horror genre.
OFLC (Office of Film and Literature Classification) rating: