“To avoid fainting, keep repeating, ‘It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie.’” The tagline for this film amazingly still holds up today. By far one of the most disturbing and intense films on this list, Last House on the Left was Wes Craven’s (Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) writing and directorial debut. The film starts off with two rural girls going to the city for a concert. Then they get abducted by a group of recently-escaped convicts, who throw the girls in their trunk and head out to the countryside. Their car breaks down very close to where one of the girls lives. The fugitives take the girls out to the woods, and a series of disturbing acts takes place before the girls are eventually killed. The fugitives then go to the nearest house, which just so happens to be the parents of one of the girls, and pretend to be salesmen who need a place to stay overnight. Due to certain events, the parents figure out what happened and they exact revenge on the fugitives. This is an intense film by today’s standards, so just imagine what the reaction must have been in 1972. As a horror and Wes Craven fan, I did enjoy the experience that this film provided.
For the second film in a row on the list, there is a heavy theme of parent gets revenge. Mad Max takes place in a dystopian-future Australia where law is almost non-existent. Max (pre-Hollywood actor Mel Gibson) is a cop who decides to quit after his partner is severely burned by a gang who they’ve been after. While away with his wife and son, the gang finds them and murders Max’s wife and kid. This sets off Max on a killing rampage, finding every member of the gang and eliminating them. This was a very young Mel Gibson, but it’s safe to say some elements of Max may be showing in present-day Mel.
From Roger Corman, a king of low-budget cult films (Death Race 2000, Pirahna) comes this rock ‘n roll exploitation film. Rock N Roll High School stars P.J. Soles (Halloween, Stripes) as Riff Randell, a high school student leading the rock 'n roll music craze in her school. The new principal has vowed to outlaw music from the school. With the help of the Ramones, who were relative unknowns at the time, the students take over the school. There's lots of great music by the Ramones as well as other great rock 'n roll bands at the time. The film comes to an explosive conclusion.
Black Death takes place in medieval England during the times of the black plague. A young monk leaves his monastery and joins a group of knights who are tracking down a necromancer. The leader of these knights is played by Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones), who as far as I am concerned can play a knight anytime. This film has elements of suspense, action and horror, though it really isn’t like any one film. Black Death is a fresh take on the horrors of medieval times and worth checking out.
I promise you this is the craziest film on the list. Rubber is mainly about a tire named Robert who discovers he can blow things up with his “mind.” It turns out however that this very conceptual film has more to it than that. The film sort of breaks the fourth wall in a very unusual yet fun way. It’s hard to talk about without giving too much away, but I guarantee that this film that prides itself on the element of “no reason” is like nothing you’ve ever seen.