**Please note that there may be spoilers throughout the blog**
I think we all know that there are certain things that people shouldn't do in horror movies. We shouldn't investigate a strange noise in the basement, we shouldn't open the closet door after it creaks open and we should never ever split up from each other! Byb doing any of these things in a horror film will only bring unpleasant consequences. Before Wes Craven's smash horror film, "Scream", other producers in the late 70's and early 80's, also recognized that there are some tricks to surviving a grindhouse film and tried their luck at writing full films on some of these concepts.
Here are 5 Things You Don't Do in Horror Movies!
5. Don't Answer The Phone (1980) - Photographer, Vietnam Vet and maniac, Kirk Smith likes to strangle and rape women, then he shoves candles into his victims orifices and take pictures of his handy work. After the murders, Kirk also likes to a call a psychologist, Dr. Gale on her radio talk show and using a terrible spanish accent, he tell her about his his maddening headaches. She encourages him to seek real professional help and he usually just hangs up on her.
Police detectives, McCabe and Hatcher have just taken the case and they're stumped! They have semen samples, hair follicles and punch card computers. How are they ever going to find this guy? While they sit at their desk waiting for Kirk to turn himself in, Kirk murders one of Dr. Gale's patients. Doctor Gale comes downtown to offer her help with the case but McCabe won't have any of it because he doesn't believe in shrinks. Shortly after, Kirk forces a hooker to call Dr. Gale's show and kills her while their talking live on air! Now McCabe and Hatcher will have to work with Dr. Gale and try to stop crazy man Kirk from killing any more women!
This movie was all over the place. The scenes with Kirk, played by Nicholas Worth (Swamp Thing, Hell Comes To Frogtown) are pretty intense, unforgiving and can put a knot in your stomach. Unfortunately, his brutal behavior is dealt with by the police in a glib, comedic way. The detectives, who seem to have graduated from the Dragnet academy of police work spend more time cracking jokes and sitting at their desks than they do looking for a suspect. Also, a love story is tacked on between Detective McCabe, played by James Westmoreland (The Monroes) and Dr. Gale, played by Flo Lawrence (Lords of Salem, Over The Top), which is pointless and unnecessary. The soundtrack is annoying and most times doesn't fit what's going on. It has it's moments but they seem far and few between, you may not want to answer this call.
4. Don't Go Near The Park (1979) - Brother and sister, Gar and Tra did something awful, I didn't quite understand what they did but it was so awful that an old witch had to put a curse on them. The curse is also confusing but I think they need to eat flesh from teenagers to survive until they can sacrifice a child from their own clan and that will give them eternal life but they can only do this 12 thousand years in the future.
Fast forward to 1979, the future! Gar, who's now Mark is still eating teenage innards. He rent's a room from a lady and she discovers that he kills people! However, it's 1979 and I guess there is a severe lack of eligible bachelors because she marries Mark and they a have a baby girl together, which they named Bondi. Unfortunately, for Bondi, her mother is a real cow and doesn't like that her father spends time with her. On her 16th birthday, Bondi's mother has a fit and tells Mark that either he goes or she goes. Mark gives Bondi the ugliest amulet in world and says good-bye. Bondi, also decides to hit the road and strike out on her own.
After some twists and turns, that are unnerving and confusing, she ends up at an abandoned park and finds a old ranch house, where to other runaways, Nick and Cowboy live with a mysterious lady named Patty. Patty likes to dress up like a witch and scare people at the park! Sometimes she wears an eyepatch when she takes off her mask and sometimes she doesn't. Anywhoo, eventually Bondi finds out this place is haunted by creatures that eat flesh but she doesn't want to leave her new best friends, Nick & Cowboy! What's a girl to do?
This movie is sooooooo ridiculous, you'd have to watch it to understand. It goes from this scary movie and then shifts into an after school special. The gore effects, which there isn't too much, and having Linnea Quigley are really it's saving graces to this film. However, it is pretty funny to watch as director Lawrence David Foldes keeps changing his mind about what kind of movie he wants to make. The sets, look like sets and the acting in this is awful but if you're looking to Mystery Science Theatre something, this would be a good choice.
3. Don't Go In The Basement (aka The Forgotten) (1973) - Nurse Charlotte Beale has just arrived for her first day of work at the Stephens Sanitarium for the mentally ill. She is informed by a Dr. Geraldine Masters that before she arrive Dr. Stephens was murdered by one of the patients and the other nurse hasn't "taken leave". Dr. Masters tells Charlotte that she isn't needed and has everything under control but when Charlotte says that she'll go and see if she can get her old job back, Masters changes her mind and asks her to stay. So Charlotte decides to stay.
The first night there is strange for Charlotte and the patients are acting weird, even for people in a mental institution. One of the elderly patients, Mrs. Callingham keeps trying to tell Charlotte something but her tongue cut out gets cut out that night and isn't able to communicate after that. The phones no longer work for some reason and the tension in the asylum is rising. Can Charlotte find out the mystery of the missing tongue and escape this madhouse or will she become a patient there under Dr. Masters control?
I like what this film tries to do and can appreciate the effort that went into it. There are some gory scenes at the beginning and then at the end but sadly the middle seems to drag on and on and on. There are a lot of patients to focus on and some of them get lost in the mix. There are some moments of confusion and you really have to stretch your suspension of belief for some of it to still make sense. Still, it's a alright picture that can be enjoyed by any horror fan, who appreciates B-movies.
2. Don't Go In The House (1979) - An explosion at work sets one of Donny Kohler's friend a flame and he stands back to watch the fire engulf his pal. Other workers rush over to help and give Donny shit for not trying to save his friend, except for Ben. Ben tells Donny that he understands that Donny froze up and invites him out for a beer, but Donny refuses and says he needs to get home. Donny heads home to take care of aged mother but when he gets home and walks into the kitchen, he remembers how his mom would hold his arms over the fire on the stove when he was bad. Putting it out of his mind, he makes the food for his mother and heads up stairs to her room. When he gets upstairs, he finds his mother dead in her favourite chair and so he tries yelling at her but this has no effect on her, she remains dead. At first he's sad, then he's relieved and like any tormented child runs around the house blasting his loud disco music and jumping on the furniture! That is until he hears the voices whispering. The voices in his head start to tell him to do bad things.
The next day, Donny calls into work sick and starts putting metal walls up in one room and then like any child in grieving, he goes and buys a flame retardant suit. Now his plan is almost complete, he just needs one more thing, a girl and what better place to find a girl than at the local flower shop. So, he heads downtown and after making the florist miss her bus, he offers her a lift home. She accepts and he asks her if they can stop at his home to pick something up but when they stop at home, Donny knocks the florist out! When she wakes up, she is naked and hanging from a hook in a metal room. Danny walks in with his brand new suit and flamethrower and hoses her down in flames, until she is nice and crispy. Danny is ready now and realizes that this is what he should be doing with his life but is there anyone out there that can stop him?
This was an interesting film and it had a semi Hitchcock "Psycho" feel to it. The scenes with the flamethrower are pretty graphic and got this on the Video Nasty list but it really turns into a one note film after the first couple. As he collects his victims, there doesn't seem to be any mystery as to what is going to happen to them and it gets old quick. The voices inside Donny's head are an interesting touch and his spiral into insanity is well played out by Dan Grimaldi (The Sopranos). The problem for the film is how does Donny get discovered because he is a loner, but they work an alright twist that creates a plausible and acceptable ending. Some elements of the film may be too hot for some to handle, make sure you wear protection while watching.
1. Don't Go In The Woods (1981) - Ingrid, Peter, Joanie and Craig head into the woods for a summer camping trip. Unfortunatley, there is a mad woodsman viking looking guy killing campers there too! The sheriff has had a report of a couple missing people but he's waiting 24 hours to see if they turn up, so he's gonna take a ride in the helicopter. Meanwhile, people are being hacked to pieces by this madman and Craig is murdered the next day! Peter, Joanie and Ingrid split up and try to race out of the woods. Will they survive this camping nightmare?
There really isn't much to this movie and that might be why I enjoyed so much. There's no character development, no discovery of greater truth or even a reason why this guy is doing it but there is a crazy guy who kills a lot of people in the woods! The body count on this movie is huge! I don't know if these woods were giving special offers on kijiji or what but a ton of people die in this movie. It's extremely low budget but there are some good special effects and some that will make you laugh. The acting isn't very good but I'm sure they tried their best and sometimes that counts. It's a lot of fun to watch but probably better to watch with friends and if you need an excuse it was on the famous Video Nasty list as well, so just relax, turn off your brain and enjoy.
When Tarantino and Rodrigez produced their Grindhouse movies they included a number of fake trailers, (two actually became movies) and there was one trailer called "Don't" that was spoofing these films. I kept thinking of when I was watching these movies. None of these films had a huge cast or a lot of money but they are certainly fun to watch and if they didn't teach you how to escape an insane killer, well at least they showed you that you can make a cool slasher film on a limited budget.