The Last House on Dead End Street (1973)

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A grotty hellmouth of a movie. Almost hallucinogenic in the way everything just bleeds and blends together. The shoddy sound, the grainy film stock, the grimy nudity and snuff violence – it all stews together into some weird, bargain-bin acid trip. The imagery is nothing unexpected: lot’s of mindless button pushing with girls in black-face getting whipped or tied down and dismembered, it’s all just another day’s work for the underground horror scene.

The mythology surrounding Last House on Dead End Street is reason enough to seek it out. Roger Watkins made the film more or less single-handedly but directed it under the name Victor Janos and used about two dozen other pseudonyms for his other roles. For a long time nobody had any idea who made this movie, who starred in it, where it came from or if it even was a movie! Many even assumed the film’s murder sequences were genuine and probably suspected that the filmmakers fled in fear of prosecution. It must have been a simpler time because, no offense to LHoDES, the special effects are far from being that convincing. Still, as I said it has a certain backyard charm and Watkins’ acting reminds me of Larry Fessenden. Hey, for all I know he is Larry Fessenden. Watkins went out and made a movie…and if you read a lot of my reviews you should know that goes a long way with me.

At a digestible 76 minutes, this isn’t going to leave too much damage on your daily viewing intake and is well worth a watch if just to check off another semi-notorious nasty from the 70s Grindhouse era. The soundtrack is really cool too. Built entirely of library cues sourced from various locations, it’s all distorted electronic throbs and screeching stings. Even library music sounded fucking great back then! Not essential. Not pleasant. But strangely watchable.

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