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Monday, 31 October 2011

DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE (1980)


One of the DPP's list of Video Nasties, Don't Go In The House originally found its way to my eyes via a cheap Apex slipcase VHS I bought for 1.99 from a market stall when I was about 14. It scared the crap out of me at the time thanks to its truly nightmarish concept, and recently I picked up a big-box version of the same Apex release on eBay in order to revisit what I remember as a film that really unsettled me.

How does it stand up? Actually it's probably more frightening now, despite the bad acting, dodgy internal logic and tiny budget. The film follows a demented young man whose mother lies dead in the living room. He can still hear her voice, berating him, screaming at him, even while she decomposes in an armchair. Another mad voice has joined his psychic turmoil, and is persuading him to take out his frustrations, anger and madness on innocent women. He builds a steel room in the house, buys a flame-proof suit and a flamethrower, and proceeds to chain people up and burn them alive.


As the film progresses, his madness escalates until he sees his victims (whose charred corpses are dressed in his mother's clothes and arranged in the living room with his dead mother like some insane tea party) coming back to life and taking out their revenge upon their killer.

The film features some very graphic scenes of horrific violence (although the version on this tape is cut a bit), but it is the atmosphere of the flick itself that makes it so unsettling. There is little build-up before our main character goes mental, and then we are taken along for the ride as he goes deeper and deeper into his own psychotic world and his own sense of murderous logic, egged on by the voices.

There's also a great use of a minimal score and some stylish cinematography, but the acting lets the film down and stops it becoming anything other than a creepy little Grindhouse movie that built a lasting reputation thanks to a couple of very nasty scenes. That said, Don't Go In The House is an interesting curio for the discerning horror fan who has a taste for low budgets and buckets of atmosphere rather than tons of gore.

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