Death Weekend (The House by the Lake, 19746

Swedish Studio S Entertainment DVD edition


A gritty Canadian grindhouse thriller where a gang of sleazy thugs (they are hardly even human beings, drooling freaks, and a bit over-the-top
trashy to be taken seriously perhaps) home invades an isolated mansion where the owner, a rich dentist, and his girlfriend is about to spend
their weekend. With the alternative title being "The House by the Lake" it apparently tried to appeal to the audience who liked Wes Craven's
gruesome but impressive 1972 "The Last House on the Left".

For some unknown reason this film was the victim of the Swedish Film Censors, really an Enemy No. 1 for these cutting dictators. This film
obviously is NOT more violent than any other Grindhouse rape revenge thriller or horror from this period. The Swedish distributor wanted it to
be shown in swedish cinemas but the censors banned it 7 (seven) times from being shown. Sweden had one of the oldest Film Censor Boards
in the world and one of the harshest, and in the extras (in swedish only) it's discussed why Death Weekend became the target for the scissors
and the reasons may have been political. In the 1970's Sweden victims of crime had no right to self defence and the sympathies from the law
and authorities were totally on the side of the criminals, they were seen as "Society's unfortunate children" and considered the true victims.

In Sweden The Right of Self-Defence is probably among the weakest, if not the weakest, among any country in the western world, and that
could be why swedes hesitate to intervene when a crime is committed, they know that they will be severely punished if the perp is harmed.
Revenge is considered even worse and films with revenge motifs (as i.a. Bronson, Clint Eastwood or this film) were seen as fascistic and cut.

The Film:

A rich dentist and playboy, Doctor Harry Black (Chuck Shamata) is bringing a woman, Diane (Brenda Vaccaro, good performance) with him
to his isolated Ontario country mansion. he has a fast Corvette car and Diane is driving it when a car with 4 nasty thugs harasses them into a
race contest on poor country roads. Diane is a skilled driver and beats the gang who crashes off the road.
The imbecile, and almost not members of the human race, gang of 4 is led by Lep (Don Stroud, always charismatic and great) is out for revenge
and starts searching for Harry and Diane. When they finally finds them they home invade and plans on a weekend of terror, but what they
did not expect was that the harmless sexy woman were a lot stronger and deadlier than these misogynists could ever imagine.

The DVD presents the film in 4:3 fullscreen ratio and in english audio DD 2.0 with swedish subtitles, region 2.
Extras (in swedish audio only): Death Weekend vs. Swedish Censors (interviews, 2017), Excerpt from TV News about the debate around the
censoring of the film, Excerpt from Swedish Radio, Trailer, Radio spot, Gallery and some trailers for other films

Final words: This thriller with Female vs. Rapists is a Good little Grindhouse movie that unfortunately the censoring debate in Sweden gave
some hyperbolic reviews, as "One of the best films of the 1970's ..." which this film may not be.
The ending was a bit obscure .... did Brenda Vaccaro's Diane feel attracted to Don Strouds's Lep, a man she had just killed ? In a very unusual
scene earlier she did quit to resist him when he was trying to rape her in the barn, something which disturbed him quite a lot, and made him
stop his advances on her.

Director and scriptwriter Fruet, an obscure maker of B movies, also made i.a. the also great backwoods hillbilly thriller "Trapped" in 1982 with
the amazing Henry Silva, one of the best Bad Guys on film ever, and the extremely low budget Slasher "Killer Party" in 1986.

 

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