SLASHER MONTH: The Last House On Dead End Street (1977)

Somehow, some way, this movie played the Cannes and Berlin Film Festivals in 1973 as The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell. It also was named The Fun House, which is possibly how Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse became a video nasty. It was finally released in 1979 under this title by Cinematic Releasing Corporation, who tried to pass it off as a film connected to The Last House On the Left.

Because every name the film is a pseudonym and no one came forward to claim making this movie, there were rumors for years that this was a real snuff movie. In 2000, Roger Watkins came forward to take ownership, even telling how Otto Preminger had gifted him with the Bolex camera he used to film the snuff sequences. He was also hooked on amphetamine while making it, spending $2,200 of the movies $3,000 budget on drugs.

Watkins, who apprenticed with Freddie Francis and Nicholas Ray, would go on to make several adult films under the name Richard Mahler. His films Her Name Was Lisa and Corruption are less porn than art movies with penetration.

Let me state this up front: this movie is not for those looking for an easy watch.

Terry Hawkins just got out of jail for a year on drug charges and wants to make something beyond pornography. He wants to capture murder on film. He rounds up a crew of like-minded people and gets Jim and Nancy Palmer involved. Jim’s a porn director who says that people are getting too desensitized. Terry’s just the guy to shock everyone.

From real animal mutilation to people being forced to orally satisfy goat hooves — and oh yeah, body parts being torn apart while smelling salts are used to keep people awake — this is a movie about horrible people doing horrible things.

As for the square up reel at the end, where a voiceover claims everyone was punished for their crimes, distributor Leon Fentonand his assistant Bernie Travis added that as they felt that some punishment had to be delivered to the bad guys. Watkins felt that this ruined the film.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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