Important Things to Know #12: Krug & the King

When I learned Chuck Berris of The Gong Show wrote "Palisades Park", I was a tad surprised.

When I learned Alan Thicke sung the theme to Diff'rent Strokes, I was mildly interested.

But when I learned that the most convincing homicidal rapist in the history of cinema wrote "All Shook Up", I nearly shit myself.

Wes Craven's Last House on the Left (1972) is easily the world's most disturbing and nihilistic 90 minutes of celluluid that's not a snuff film.  Everyone who sees this film walks away with a hollow feeling in the pit of their soul.  The lead rapist murderer in this film is Krug Stillo, a vile sociopathic menace, who was played with ultra-realism by David Hess... who also happened to be a writer for The King! Even more shocking - he also wrote for Pat Boone (remember "Speedy Gonzalez? That's Hess!)

What's worse is that Hess didn't stop there. He played a homicidal rapist in Hitch Hike (1977) AND House by the Edge of the Park (1980).  That's right - he's back to playing a homicidal rapist in two more films. House by the Edge of the Park was directed by the same guy that did the infamous Cannibal Holocaust, so you know it's not the feelgood hit of the Summer.  Hostel looks like a romantic comedy compared to this sick and twisted film.

What a dark turn this guy had!  I wonder what happened in his life that he went from writing catchy pop songs to spending the better part of a decade raping and killing women on the big screen.  I'm not knocking him for it (Hess died last month BTW). In fact, I commend him for leaving such an endelible mark upon two very different art forms.  This was truly a guy with some depth - someone who could not only write benign pop fluff, but also get deep into the mind of a monster.



  1. Maybe that was the only work he could get. Got to pay the bills, after all.

  2. "All Shook Up" was written by Otis Blackwell. Maybe you have the wrong song?

  3. Per Wikipedia

    In 1956, Hess recorded the original version of the Otis Blackwell composition "All Shook Up" under the stage name David Hill.[1] The next year the song became a #1 hit single for Elvis Presley.

  4. Otis Blackwell wrote All Shook Up.
    But the Hess/Elvis connection is still valid.
    Hess sang a cover version of All Shook Up, co-wrote I Got Stung and wrote the movie songs Come Along and Sand Castles.
    Also known as David Hill he had a singing career of his own.

    Groovy Blog BTW

  5. Perhaps "All Shook Up" wasn't originally written by Hess... but check out this from his bio at his personal website

    "David began his professional career as a songwriter for Shalimar Music in 1957, under the pseudonym of David Hill. David's first recording was a quick hit, which was later performed and credited to Elvis Presley. The song: "All Shook Up."

  6. I'd say it's poorly worded at best, vague and misleading certainly.

  7. Well, if it helps to clear anything up, in David Szulkin's excellent and exhaustively compiled LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT: MAKING A CULT CLASSIC it says this on page 118:

    Hess' experience as a professional songwriter and musician preceded his acting career. Using the name David Hill, he began writing songs for Elvis Presley, Sal Mineo, Pat Boone, The Staple Singers, Andy Williams, Conway Twitty and others as early as 1957. The most famous of Hess' pop tunes include Elvis' "I Got Stung"....

    ...Although some of his songs had been featured in two Elvis movies (FRANKIE & JOHNNY, and PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE), Hess had yet to compose a film score when he was hired to do the music for LAST HOUSE.

  8. He did have other roles. I reviewed a lesser-known indie film a few years back for Film Threat. He did not play a rapist. The name of the film escapes me at this moment.

  9. Here's another Alan Thicke treat for you