David Hess

The Last House on the Left [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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In 1972, Wes Craven released his first feature film, the infamous horror opus The Last House on the Left, a brutal and effective tale of revenge that became a massive hit on the drive-in and grindhouse circuit. Cast as lead villain, Krug was an unlikely candidate for screen villainy: David Hess, a musician who had flirted with pop stardom both under his own name and as prospective teen idol David Hill, had written a handful of tunes recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, and Pat Boone, and worked as an A&R executive at Mercury Records. Hess proved he could be convincingly creepy in Last House, but he served double duty on the film: he also composed and helped perform the film's score, which ran the gamut from soft '70s-style pop to faux-ragtime irony and spooky synthesizer noodlings. Divorced of its visuals, Hess' music for The Last House on the Left for the most part doesn't sound like the score to one of the founding documents in '70s splatter cinema; many of these tracks are gentle stuff that typify the folk-rock and soft rock that dominated the charts in the day, and the jaunty "Sadie and Krug" was clearly meant to contrast sharply against the ugliness on screen. It's only on tracks like "Phyllis Spills Her Guts" (dominated by atonal synth patterns), "The Chase" (similar, but played with more conventional instruments), and "The Road Leads to Nowhere" (a dark-hued ballad) that one really gets a sense of how grim the film could be; horror fans might find this to be a curious listen, given how benign most of this material is, but with a bit of editing this could pass as a tribute to David Hess, forgotten hero of '70s soft rock.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:27
2 1:09
3 2:41
4 1:04
5 1:41
6 2:53
7 1:58
8 2:30
9 0:32
10 2:40
11 2:14
12 2:40
13 0:41
14 1:03
15 2:19
16 1:55
17 2:00
18 2:15
19 2:36
20 5:30
21 6:16
blue highlight denotes track pick