Wes Craven Took an Ingmar Bergman Movie and Created a New Horror Subgenre

Wes Craven‘s 1972 debut The Last House On the Left has garnered quite a reputation for its brutal take on the horror genre and for ushering in the rape-revenge subgenre. However, what is still not frequently talked about is how it used Ingmar Bergman‘s 1960 classic The Virgin Spring as its foundation. The films are so similar in plot that The Last House On the Left has been referred to as a remake of The Virgin Spring. Two filmmakers could not be more diametrically opposed in style than Craven and Bergman. Yet, Craven initially got into filmmaking having been inspired by the arthouse and international renaissance which was happening in the mid-60s with European exports such as Fellini, Antonioni, the French New Wave, and of course, Ingmar Bergman. While Craven never spoke on the two films’ connection himself, according to Criterion, The Virgin Spring was especially influential on the young Craven.

​ Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin River was the basis for Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left, kickstarting the rape-revenge genre.