Monday, August 9, 2010

Certified Video Nasty: Don't Go in the House

Welcome back, ladies and gents.  Sorry it's been a while since my last Nasty, but Blockbuster had no selection whatsoever.  So I switched to Netflix.  On top of a better selection, their on-demand streaming is free with membership.  And they have Lars Von Trier's Antichrist.  Guess what I'm gonna be watching sometime this week...

Now if I could just get Blockbuster to quit sending me stuff...dude, I cancelled my membership.  Quit shipping movies.

Anyhow, onto my latest Nasty.

This is another one I'd been looking into since I was a wee lad.  However, I don't recall seeing this one in many video stores.  Instead I read about it in my Video Movie Guide...

Back to memory lane for a moment.

Every year my grandma would give me the latest and greatest edition of the Video Movie Guide by Mick Martin and Marsha Porter for Christmas.  It was one of the things I looked forward to every holiday season.  Ah, my grandma was always an enabler in my cinema addiction.  R.I.P. Grandma.  I miss you.

Now back to Don't Go In The House.

The Video Movie Guide gave it a low low rating.  Either one star or a turkey.  I don't remember off the top of my head.  Either way, I remember the one sentence review, which pretty much read, "Guy lures women into house and burns them to death."  Not exactly a review.  But that's common for horror movies, so I was kind of used to it.  Their review of New York Ripper simply said, "4 1/2 minutes were cut from this movie to avoid an X rating."

So my knowledge of the film was limited until I started researching the Nasties for this blog.

So the film follows Donny, a lonely duder (Richard from Doomed Moviethon, you got me using that word.  Hope you're happy).  Donny works at an incinerator.  Which is a strange occupation considering his mom used to burn him over the stove as a child.  I dunno about you, but if my mom held my arms over a stove when I was little, I'd probably choose to work for Ben and Jerry's.  Cold, flameless, and three free pints of ice cream every day.

Donny witnesses an explosion at work, standing mesmerized as a coworker runs around in flames.  See.  This would never have happened at Ben and Jerry's.  The other workers put out the fire and chew Donny out for standing and staring.  Except for one guy, Bobby, who for some strange reason wants to reach out to Donny.

When Donny gets home that night, he finds that his mother has passed away.  Something inside him snaps and he starts to hear voices.  And since this is a Video Nasty, they don't tell him to pick up some milk on the way home.

Donny reinforces a room in the house to be completely fireproof (imagine that conversation at Home Depot).  Then he lures young women into his home, strings them up, and goes at them with a flamethrower.  When they're finished toasting, he raids his mom's closet and dresses the bodies in her old clothes.

All the while, Bobby keeps trying to reach out to Donny.  Donny finally bites and goes out for the first time in his adult a disco.  Inserted in between the murders and the disco scene is a strangely fitting scene where Donny goes shopping for something to wear.  This scene actually adds a bit of emotion to the film.  Here's somebody who has been locked up his whole life, who can finally go out into the world, and he's totally lost.  But that's just me.  Maybe it's really just five minutes to pad the running time to 82 minutes.

At the disco, Donny is his usual withdrawn self.  Not even the hot Farrah Fawcett haired chick Bobby set him up with will get him out of his shell.  When she tries to get him to dance, his burn scars start poking out from his sleeves, and all hell breaks loose.

Which came first, this or Maniac?  They're very similar.  Crazy abusive mommy, murdering women because of crazy abusive mommy, visions of his victims coming to haunt him.  Where the films differ is during the murders.  After the first (understandably Nasty-worthy) death in Don't Go in the House, the killings are more of an afterthought.  In Maniac, each murder is a long, choreographed exercise in tension...almost its own little short film (and most certainly nastier than anything in House).  Meanwhile, Maniac doesn't have as much of a backstory, while Don't Go In The House is more character based.

Don't Go in the House is a better film than I expected.  That said, some bits do date the film quite a bit.  First of all...Disco.  I love disco, so that doesn't bug me, but it will bug others.  Also, the scenes of Donny playing the radio and dancing after his mom's death...hmm...

Either way, this is an effective film, and a decent way to spend 82 minutes.  Would make a great double bill with Maniac.  And would also make a good remake in the right hands.

Anyhow, I'm off.  Another Nasty is on its way from Netflix.  All is well in the world.


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