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Home Invasion Flicks: Murder Delivered Right to Your Door

This Friday Rogue Pictures releases a The Last House on the Left in theaters everywhere. The film features a reverse home invasion where the parents get revenge on the unsuspecting attackers of their daughter. To get you psyched for the release, Jeff Otto has for you a list of “10 Home Invasion Flicks: Murder Delivered Right to Your Door”. Read on to check it out.

Home Invasion Flicks: Murder Delivered Right to Your Door

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Everyone has had the experience of sitting in a movie theater and rolling their eyes at the moronic choices made by the doomed hero or heroine, nothing but all-too-willing lambs to the slaughter. Going outside to investigate a strange noise, walking through the woods at night, taking a short cut through a dark alley… But what about when the victim-to-be is just sitting within the safety of their own home? What happens when homicidal maniacs make house calls?

Denis Iliadis’ remake of the 1972 Wes Craven horror classic, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, hits screens next Friday, March 13th. To get you prepped for all the twisted debauchery of the new LAST HOUSE, we’ve got a little exploration of the Home Invasion horror genre. We start, of course, with the original classic.

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972)



Treading a very thin line between horror and snuff film, Wes Craven’s debut is a demented tale of voyeurism that toys with audiences by mixing titillation with brutal gore. LAST HOUSE doesn’t actually become a home invasion flick until the second half, when the murderers unwittingly hit up the parents of one of the young girls they just killed for a place to stay the night. When the parents discover what has happened, they decide to enact their own justice on the men who took away their little girl. And they’ve brought the power tools out for the occasion.

WAIT UNTIL DARK (1967)



Based on the play of the same name, classic Bond helmer Terrence Young directs Audrey Hepburn as recently blinded housewife heroine Susy Hendrix. Just as the resourceful Susy is learning to readapt to her surroundings, her home is invaded by a group of criminals looking for a baby doll filled with heroine. The thugs are lead by the ruthless Roat (Alan Arkin) as they torment Hepburn. Arkin was apparently one of the few actors willing to take on the less than enviable role of tormenting not only a blind woman, but also America’s sweetheart. DARK builds to an unforgettable climactic finale in which Susy evens the odds against Roat by knocking out the lights one by one.

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978)



Always at the top of any revenge movie list, this litmus test of sexual perversity takes the sexual attack of Craven’s LAST HOUSE to a whole new level. Featuring a rape sequence that lasts a staggering 25 minutes and 19 seconds, aspiring novelist Jennifer Hills (played by Buster Keaton’s grand-niece Camille Keaton) takes a radically different approach to her own post-traumatic therapy sessions, inviting her attackers back into her home in order to act out a series of calculated revenge murders. Guys, you might want to look away during the bath tub sex change operation.

WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (1979)



Put the lackluster 2006 remake out of your head if possible. This original film may not be a classic, but its got a few moments that should make anyone shutter. Jill Johnson (Carol Kane) is just your average teenage babysitter, planning for an easy night of gabbing with her friends on the phone and raiding the fridge when a series of creepy phone calls starts up. It seems like a harmless prank right up until the police tell Jill the calls are coming from inside the house. The story takes a surprisingly ballsy turn when the sleeping children upstairs are discovered to have been murdered. A few years later, the killer escapes to torment a new babysitter who happens to be watching Jill’s own children.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)



Not a home invasion film by traditional standards, you gotta admit, Freddy does prefer to torment his victims in their most vulnerable position, fast asleep and huddled up under the covers of their own bed. In the first ELM STREET, Nancy even brings Freddy out of dreamland for a Home Alone-like final sequence. Stripped of his dream powers, the clutsy Krueger storms through the Thompson house and into a series of booby traps designed by Nancy during the trademark `80s montage. Freddy is foiled this time out, but he’ll be back (and back and back) to torment new teens in their beds. In the end, no killer’s taken out more victims right in their own home than Mr. Krueger.

FUNNY GAMES (1997/2007)



A slow-building, bleak little film from eternally morose Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke. While a well-off couple young couple, their son and dog are settling into their vacation home, they are approached by two young men. Preppily dressed and excessively polite, the boys at first appear to be the well-bread relatives of a neighbor. But as a few uncomfortable early scenarios progress, it becomes obvious that these two are not at all what they appear. They have concocted a series of deadly games intended to torment the happy family and quench their own thirst for deranged amusement. Haneke’s film (and remake) is a litmus test of endurance for the characters and the audience.

ILS (THEM) (2006)



Co-directed by David Moreau (THE EYE – 2008) and Xavier Palud, this French thriller is said to be based on true events, although the Czech Republic murder of an Austrian couple to which the filmmakers are making reference is largely fictionalized here. Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michael Cohen) are planning to enjoy a quiet evening in their secluded country house when the phone starts ringing and the TV turns on downstairs. When Lucas goes downstairs to investigate, the intruders incite their plan on the unsuspecting couple. Turns out the tormenters are only kids, but don’t think that means they haven’t carefully plotted their little game. “They wouldn’t play with us,” the demented youth later tell investigators.

INSIDE (2007)



The French are making some impressive waves in horror lately and they do seem to prefer setting their atrocities right at home. Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, Alysson Paradis stars as Sarah, a young widow preparing for bed on Christmas Eve the night before her planned pregnancy. A strange woman (Beatrice Dalle) comes knocking at her door asking to use the phone and Sarah refuses. The woman reluctantly leaves and police agree to keep watch on the frightened mother-to-be. But this stranger isn’t taking no for an answer. She wants Sarah’s unborn baby and she’ll kill anyone that gets in her way. The two square off in a bloody, graphic game of cat and mouse that should satisfy even the thirstiest horror fan’s bloodlust.

THE STRANGERS (2008)



It’s hard not to notice the striking similarities between the plot of STRANGERS and the aforementioned ILS. Here a young couple, James (Scott Speedman) and Kristen (Liv Tyler), are returning from a wedding reception after his botched marriage proposal. They plan to stay the night at the secluded cabin owned by James’ folks, but a series of strange noises and phone calls quickly changes the focus of the evening. The assailants, masked in potato sacks that provide a strikingly disturbing visual, slowly toy with the doomed couple as the make a series of feeble escape attempts. Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” will never sound quite the same again.

MARTYRS (2008)



Writer/director Pascal Laugier turned enough heads with this intense, gory shocker to land the coveted HELLRAISER remake gig. Missing girl Lucie is discovered wandering the side of a country road not far from the slaughterhouse where she had been held for the past year. In a near-catatonic state, investigators are unable to piece together the circumstances of her captivity. In an orphanage, Lucie befriends Anna and, well, you’ll just have to see this one to see what happens next – but this film puts the spin on home invasion. Featuring plenty of striking gory visuals, HELLRAISER fans should see plenty of gruesome possibilities for Laugier’s Clive Barker reboot.