Don’t Go In The House | Varied Celluloid

Don’t Go In The House

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 22 - 2008
Plot Outline: This is the story of Donny Kohler, your average young man who just happened to have been burned on the stove by his mother every time he was naughty when he was a kid. This trauma has inflicted Donny with some severe mental disorders, and after he comes home from work and finds his mom dead, he just flips his lid. At first he’s broken up emotionally, but then he realizes he can do whatever he wants from now on. He does just what you think too, what every young man dreams of doing once out of the reach of their overbearing mothers, he kidnaps young girls ties them up nude and burns them alive… Maybe that’s not a fantasy most have, but it’s what Donny does just the same. So now Donny takes to killing girls on what seems to be a nightly basis, will anyone ever stop him?


  

The Review: I know this site isn’t exactly one of the most frequently visited sites on the net as of the moment, but if there are any Newsradio (a sitcom, but one of the actual good ones) fans out there, I would like to make an idiotic point if I may. It was during the last season of the show’s run I believe, after the death of the funniest member of the cast Mr. Phil Hartman. After Hartman’s death Jon Lovitz came in to fill his shoes, and unlike some, I personally don’t blame him for the death of the show, it’s just he never really fit into the format. He was often too silly or cute, he’s a funny comedian it just wasn’t his scene. Every once in a while though, Lovitz’s character would actually let something funny loose. Case in point. When Johnny Johnson, the evil corporate tycoon who tries to steal away Jimmy James’ corporation comes around, Max starts following Johnson around like a lap dog. Well, this episode was one such occasion where the character of Max Lewis (Jon Lovitz) was actually funny, he also let out a nugget of wisdom that has stayed with me ever since. When the character of Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) tells Max (Lovitz) that Johnny Johnson is evil, and shouldn’t be associated with, Max tells Dave “Doesn’t that make you want to serve him all the more?”… so very true. Don’t go in the House contains bad acting, plot inconsistencies and is only a ploy to deliver exploitation and sleaze… doesn’t that just make you want to love it all the more? – Thought I was heading nowhere with all that Newsradio talk didn’t you?

I first heard about this flick from Pete who now runs the The Grindhouse Database , he mentioned it in some post I forget, but it surprised me because I had never heard of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a all knowing guru of horror, I just consider myself to be quite informed on the subject. The real guru of horror is a guy name Mike Bracken, you can check his reviews on epinions.com I believe. Anyway, I might have heard the title once or so, but I had never actually read about it or anything. So a few days ago I finally got around to checking it out, surprisingly I think I really liked it. I would never go so far as to call the film ‘good’ or well made, but it’s entertaining and unique. First of all, rather than really giving any good guy that stops our lead psycho, the film just kind of unwinds on it’s own. For about 80% of the film it’s just Donny dragging women into his house and killing them, reveling in his new independence from his mother. If that sort of thing bothers you and misogyny grates your nerves, it’s safe to say this flick isn’t for you. Along with I Spit on Your Grave, Last House on the Left and The House on the Edge of the Park, Don’t go in the House is a somewhat sleazy, dark and somber slasher flick. There’s no true home invasion like in the previous films mentioned, but the tone most certainly fits it in the same category. You’ll either be able to look past the bad aspects of the film and enjoy the perversity of it all, or you’ll just hate it. Either opinion seems justified to me.

Although the director didn’t/shouldn’t win any awards, every once in a while there are some interesting visual pieces. Like the dream on the beach, although a little cheesy in places, it was still pretty effective. The different cuts of burned bodies standing in mirrors and such also produced a jolt at some times, something I rarely ever get in my horror films anymore. The single most impressive thing about the film, and what will likely either offend or entrance most audience members, is the first victim of Donny’s rampage. After being tied up in his metallic room and chained to the roof, Donny douses her in gasoline and lights her ablaze with his flame-thrower. Although it’s a little bit fake looking on second glance, it’s still remarkably effective the first time around. I only have vague ideas about how it was achieved, my first instinct is to think they just layered a image of fire over her body, but I’m not sure if the technology for that sort of thing was around back then. Maybe manually laying the fire over the film it’s self. Beats me.

As I said, Don’t Go in the House isn’t going to win any awards, some things in the film just really make you scratch your head. Like, when Donny goes to sleep in the film and has his nightmare, the radio is playing the same song when he wakes up as when he went to sleep. Does the radio station only play this one song? There are plenty of other smaller things, but when I saw that I just howled. It’s the little things like that that draws me to this film. Much like Basket Case, Don’t go in the House isn’t good cinema, but it is entertaining. Some call the film disturbing and hard to handle, I just call it fun. Dig in if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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