Thursday, August 13, 2009

Malevolent Maniacs



__"Don't Look In The Basement"(1973)__
Directed by: S.F. Brownrigg
(Sam)Bill McGhee
(Charolette Beale)Rosie Holotik
Tag lines:
"The Day The Insane Took Over The Asylum!"
"To avoid fainting, repeat: It's only a movie..."
"Not Recommended for Persons Over 30!"
"They lived out their fantasies... Now they are dying for them!"

Lets go back in time, back to the 70's. Exploitation, low budgets, and gore galore. Today we well be hitting on one of the more popular, if you want to call it "Grindhouse" flick of the 1970's, "Don't Look In The Basement". Or at lest that's what they say its called on every copy I've seen. IMDB says the movie is actually called "The Forgotten". While not as dynamic as "Don't Go Into The Basement", its still a good name. This movie has a certain feeling to it, that's dirty and spooky. The grainy quality, dirty looking sets and strange psychological horror in the film makes it a film that makes me feel kinda sick watching. I get a strange feeling whenever I see this movie, it brings a certain feeling that I love. A lot of films during the 70's give me this feeling, movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I Drink Your Blood. While not as gorey as the others, it does have its moments. Its also on the notorious Video Nasty list of the 1980's. Now since I cant get threw a god damn review without mentioning this, lets learn about the Director.

The film is directed by a S. F. Brownrigg. Mr. Brownrigg was a American director/producer, and has worked on about 7 films in his career. His first being "Don't Look In The Basement!", then going on to work on:
Don't Open the Door(1974)
Poor White Trash 2(1975)
Keep My Grave Open(1980)
and Thinkin' Big(1988)
He was born in 1937, and died in September, 1996.

Another rather interesting thing is the fact that one of its tag lines is ripped right from the Wes Craven film "Last House On The Left". Now on to the film. The film is set in Stephens Sanitarium, a little mental home out in the middle of nowhere. The film first starts off with giving a little insight on the people in the asylum.
First off theres Sam, a giant lobotomized man child, who enjoys sucking down Popsicles all day. A judge who I guess his name is Oliver W. Cameron, because he will randomly say "My name... is... Oliver... W... Cameron...". Then there's Danny a annoying prankster, who's laugh makes me cringe. Theres Allyson, a needy nymphomaniac who's willing to throw off her clothes for any man who even talks to her. A old woman named Mrs. Callingham, who talks in poetry and believes the flowers are her children. Next is Harriet, a young ex-mother who's child died in accident and now she believes a baby doll is her real child. If you mess with the baby or her, she will kill you. Theres Jennifer, a emotionally dependent woman. And last but not least is The Sergeant, who's either a shell shocked Vietnam vet, or a person who really does believe he is a Sergeant. He spends most of his time hanging around with Sam and spying outside his room window.

Now the hospital is run by Dr. Stephen's a man who believes that letting the insane face their obsessions and be free to walk around within the house will help them become normal members of society. Theres also a elderly nurse who decided to quit because of threats from Harriet. Dr. Stephen's has hired a new nurse to come and work there named Charlotte Beale. But problems happen when Dr. Stephens gives Judge Cameron a axe and sends him to go and chop some wood up. Judge looses control and eventually hits Dr. Stephen's. Another Doctor, Dr. Gr. Geraldine Masters then comes with Sam and helps dispose of Dr. Stephen's body. Meanwhile the other nurse who was leaving is then murdered as well.

Hmm..that seems pretty familiar. A Insane person killing someone with a Axe, and eventually causing a butterfly effect where then everyone practically is killed. Kinda sounds like the plot to Friday The 13th: part 5. Now I know that sounds a little strange, but there are a few similarities, but I'm not going out and saying it completely ripped off this film. Whatever while I did like this film to a extent, I hated Friday the 13th part 5. My favorite will always be Takes Manhattan.

The film goes into mystery territory as Mrs. Beale comes and joins the staff. Dr. Masters unhappily accepts Mrs. Beale in and she gets to work there. The movie then just kinda builds up the characters. Nothing really happens until a Telephone repair man comes to fix their phones. He is then attacked by Allyson. Meanwhile Charlotte Beale finds Mrs. Callingham with her tongue cut out. Dr. Masters tells her she probably did it to herself. Later on Charlotte finds out that Master's is actually a Patient that Dr. Stevens let pretend shes a doctor. Masters grows increasingly paranoid burning Sergeant's hand and murders Jeniffer for stealing. Charlotte then finds the dead body of the Telephone repairman, Who was most likely murdered by Masters, but it is never shown. Allyson, who thought the man was going to marry her, then takes the dead corpse of the repair man and attempts to have sex with the dead body. While trying to escape Charlotte is then runs into Sam and Judge. Judge tells her that they always knew that master's was a patient, but they also think she is one as well.

Sam then leads Charlotte into the basement where someone grabs her and she beats the unknown person to death with a plastic sail boat. She then find out she had just killed Dr. Stephens. Sam upset thinking she killed Dr. Stephens on purpose grabs her, but lets go when having a flash back to his lobotomy. Judge Cameron then proceeds to kill Dr. Master's with a Axe. Sam disturbed by the whole situation Kills all the other patients. Charlotte then escapes threw a secret exit. The movie ends with Sam bloodied going, getting a Popsicle, sitting, then crys to himself.

This film caught me by surprise, mainly because of the fact its genuinely creepy. I mean a lot of scenes in this film are just strange, creepy, and rather disturbing. Theres not that much gore in the film until the last part of the film. The actors were good, but Betty Chandler, who's Allyson probably steals the show with her over the top hammy acting. If your looking for a good 70's gore film, this films okay. But if your looking for a good psychological horror film, this is also good. Or if your just a fan of Bad Grindhouse films then this is definitely for you.

Best Scene: Sam taking out people with a Axe.

3 out of 5


"Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, we dare not go a hunting, for fear of little men!"

1 comment:

  1. Nobody seems to ever mention that the script is a virtual remake of an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that starred Ray Milland. Still have to find the title...