Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It Came From Netflix: Don't Go in the House(1980)

By Eric Polk of The Audio Descent podcast-
Directed by Joseph Ellison, this 1980 psychological thriller owes a debt to Psycho, but does manage to make its own imprint.

Donald "Donny" Kohler is deeply disturbed individual who was emotionally and physically scarred by burns inflicted on him by his mother. As a child, whenever he did something she saw as "wicked," she would hold his bare arms over a gas stove in an effort to "burn the evil out of him." Due to this he has developed a secret obsession with fire and human combustion. During his job at an incinerator, he observes a co-worker, Billy, catch on fire. Instead of going for help, he stares, mesmerized. When he returns home he finds his mother has died. While he is free from her possessiveness, the only life he has ever known is gone, and with it his chance for revenge against her. He sets out to avenge himself on every woman who bears a resemblance to his hateful parent with the aid of makeshift steel chains, a home-made flamethrower and a steel-paneled bedroom crematorium.

On its own merits, this is a good movie. It's revengesplotation against the dead! Sorta unique. The torture inflicted on his psyche, thus the visions of the women he kills, gives this tale a richness not seen in other low-budget films. It is disturbing to see actual child abuse on the screen, but it's not pointless, not violence for its own sake. Sadly, this movie seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle since it did come out during the Friday the 13th glut of slasher films at the time. It is slow at times, but not too terrible overall.



Mr. Gable said...

Thank you for the review! I bought this vhs awhile ago and its been sitting on my shelf. Now it has gotten a bit of a bump :D

Maynard Morrissey said...

totally agree with you. no masterpiece but sadly extreeemely underrated