Saturday, 13 December 2014

California Axe Massacre (1974)

Axe AKA Lisa, Lisa AKA California Axe Massacre.

The story is simple. Three manicured big city criminals go on the lam to the country where they hole up in a run-down farm house where Lisa lives with her paralysed Grandfather. Lisa is lonely, frustrated and depressed and an attack by one of the thugs pushes her over the edge.

Axe is a proper 70s grindhouse mix of rape revenge, home invasion and backwoods horror that has great tension and menace. I can imagine this playing in a stained flea-pit on Times Square back in the day. The soundtrack has some wonderful percussive jazz and some less wonderful Stylophone synth. The acting is pretty poor but some of the editing and shot choice is terrific.

A short scene of an unknown man running from the house chased by two of the thugs, plus the film's short running time (68 minutes), point to a sub-plot being left on the cutting room floor. This is a good thing as it leaves the film tight and focused.

I really liked Axe; it's way better than the well known Last House on the Left and deserves more recognition.

Original letterboxd review

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