Horror historians campaigned long and hard for this film to be given an uncut release and have hailed it as a lost classic and very influential. The influence of the film is clear to see on many other horror films as well as such strange bedfellows as "Pulp Fiction" and "Home Alone"!
Despite its place as a video nasty and an important part of film history it has to be said that this is not a film that has aged well. It has a particularly childish tone, despite the unpleasant subject matter, which is surprising given that director (horror luminary Wes Craven) was 33 years old when he made it. The "horror" is diluted by a truly awful soundtrack and his insistence on shoe-horning in two comedy police officers at regular intervals despite the fact that they have no place in the narrative.
Many thinks improve with age; I'm just one example and their are many, many "old" films which despite being of their time lose nothing of their impact as time goes by (I'm thinking about "The Exorcist" which continues to shock and horrify despite the fact that it is very much of its time) but "The Last House on the Left" has simply taken on the look and feel of a student film project.
As a horror fan I have long had an interest in seeing this film but it did nothing to dispel the notion I have that Wes Craven doesn't make frightening films he simply makes b-movies that have none of the charm of that genre. That said there is no doubt that there is a dark and unpleasant heart to this film which without the Keystone Cops and hill-billy soundtrack may have packed more of a punch after all these years.