Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 13th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, April 20th, 1978
Director: Franco Prosperi
Writers: Romano Migliorini, Gianbattista Mussetto
Cast: Florinda Bolkan, Ray Lovelock, Flavio Andreini, Stefano Cedrati, Sherry Buchanan
DVD released: September 30th, 2008
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Sister Cristina (Florinda Bolkan) and a group of students tranquil vacation at a remote beach house is interrupted by a trio of bank robbers on the run from the law. Trapped and held prisoner Sister Cristina and her students are beaten, raped and demoralized by the three fugitives. When hopelessness sets in Sister Cristina renounces god and takes revenge against the three fugitives.
When a film is successful there always seems to be many imitators that spawn in its wake. The Last House on the Beach is yet another film that is clearly influenced by the Wes Craven film Last House on the Left. Other similar Italian knock offs include The Night Train Murders and House on the Edge of the Park. Out of these Italian “Last House” clones The Last House on the Beach in tone and content is the closest to Craven’s Film. It is downright nasty and lacks any of humor which was a main part of House on the Edge of the Park’s charm.
The Last House on the Beach was directed by Franco Prosperi who most cult film fans known from his work on the Mondo Cane films and he also directed the Franco Nero Thriller Professional Killer. The film makes excellent use of its minimal locations and every frame is perfectly composed and photographed. One technique that was interesting the first time it was used in the film and wore out its welcome upon subsequent times used later in the film is the use of slow motion during rape scenes. Also if there is a unique or different way to rape someone this film most likely sues it as every rape is done differently.
The story is pretty standard rape and revenge with a few new twists like adding nun into the mix for religious connotations. One thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the plot was how the three bank robbers were not that focused on fixing their car and getting away. They all seemed to be hot and bothered by the ladies they held hostage and every time they tried to rape another it only further dug their graves. Also Aldo’s two sidekicks are portrayed from the get go as loose cannon while he is shown almost like the good guy who just happens to be with them. This feels a bit forced especially since Aldo is actually the most rotten of the three.
The cast all do a good job with the two leads Florinda Bolkan as Sister Cristina and Ray Lovelock as Aldo being the only two fleshed out characters that had any depth to them. Florinda Bolkan really shines as her performances starts off very low key before fully blossoming in the final act. Ray Lovelock has given better performances still his performance as Aldo is more than satisfactory. All the actresses chosen to play the students are all very attractive and serve as nothing more than props. The films score is diverse as it perfectly balances more up tempo numbers with softer/sweeter motifs. Overall The Last House on the Beach is nothing more than down and dirty exploitation as its finest.
Severin Films presents Last House on the Beach in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Severin Films DVD release is flagged for progressive playback while Sazuma Productions DVD release is interlaced. Overall Severin’s transfer is on par with Sazuma Productions region 2 DVD.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio included on this release is in great shape with clear dialog and no audio defects.
Extras for this release include Italian and German language trailers with English subtitles. The main extra is a twenty eight minute interview with actor Ray Lovelock titled “Holy Beauty vs. The Evil Beasts”. This interview is in Italian with English subtitles. Severin Films North American DVD debut for Last House on the Beach comes with a stunning audio/video presentation that carries over most of the extras included on Sazuma Productions region 2 DVD.