Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 16th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1978
Director: Franco Prosperi
Cast: Florinda Bolkan, Ray Lovelock, Flavio Andreini, Stefano Cedrati, Sherry Buchanan
DVD released: March, 2007
Approximate running time: 86 mins
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital mono
DVD Release: Sazuma Productions
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: $29.95
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.
The Last House on the Beach is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The sourced material used is nearly flawless and the end result is spectacular as colors are vivid and details are razor sharp.
This release comes with three audio options Italian, German and English. All audio mixes are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. All audio mixes are free of any defects and dialog is clear and easy to understand. Music and effects sound evenly balanced. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include gallery of posters/stills, Italian and German release trailers and an alternate German opening credits. Other extras for this release include liner notes about the film written by Christian KeBler and the films entire score on a separate CD. Rounding out the extras is a twenty eight minute interview with actor Ray Lovelock titled “Holy Beauty vs. The Evil Beasts”. The first part of the interview is spent with Lovelock discussing the origin of his name and how he got into acting. The remainder of the interview he talks The Last House on the Beach. This release comes with a hidden extra feature which can be found on the extras page when you scroll over Lovelocks profile image. The extra is essentially a Karaoke version of the song that Lovelock sings in the film titled “Place for the Landing”.
Despite only having released a handful of titles so far Sazuma continues to churn out top notch DVD releases of rare cult films. The Last House on the Beach gets a fully loaded release which also comes with an exceptional audio/video presentation, highly recommended.
For more information about The Last House on the Beach visit Sazuma here.