The Last House on the Left: The redemption of the remake

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While The Last House on the Left (Wes Craven, 1972) has had a checkered history with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the remake of the same name (Dennis Iliadis, 2009) was passed uncut. This article seeks to explain the comparative leniency towards the remake by examining the films’ contrasting modes of violence. It argues that the key difference is that while Craven sought to condemn violence and confront the audience with it, Iliadis celebrates violence and uses it to reassure his audience. Focusing particularly on the notorious scenes of rape and revenge, this close analysis of the two films reveals significant ideological, political, and aesthetic shifts, in spite of the remake’s surface fidelity to Wes Craven’s original film. Despite its more graphic violence, the remake was able to redeem The Last House on the Left in the eyes of BBFC through its redemptive ending, assertion of family values, comically excessive ‘torture porn’ aesthetic of violence, and its return to the moral clarity and ideological divisions between good guys and bad guys embedded in Craven’s source text, The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman, 1960).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • The Last House on the Left
  • British Board of Film Classification
  • censorship
  • rape-revenge
  • torture porn
  • violence
  • rape
  • Wes Craven
  • remake


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