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Don't Look In The Basement/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Don't Look In The Basement
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Dr. Stevens (Michael Harvey) is the head of a mental home where he allows the patients to play into their own psychosis by participating in the delusions that they all suffer from. When he is accidentally murdered by one of his patients during a therapy session involving an ax, his head nurse Dr. Masters (Anne MacAdams) immediately takes over and tries to downplay the fact that the murder even occurred. When pretty young nurse Charlotte Beale (Rosie Holotik) shows up claiming that Dr. Stevens had hired her only two weeks prior to the incident, Dr. Masters reluctantly takes her on staff. It isn't long before strange things begin to occur at the home, with one patient's tongue being removed and several outsiders turning up dead. Charlotte tries to figure out what is going on, but the patients are no help and Dr. Masters is already stand-offish as it is. Will Charlotte figure out what is going on, or will she fall victim to a deceased doctor's seemingly harmless therapy procedures?

Cult film director S.F. Brownrigg and the makers of the The Last House On The Left remind us once again to keep repeating: "It's only a movie". Unfortunately, this film has none of the ferocity of the film it is trying to emulate and succeeds more in irritating than in terrifying. 98% of the cast are horrid overactors who spend most of the film screaming their lines at the top of their lungs in grating "nails-on-a-chalkboard" type voices. While watching, I swore that if I heard one particular character screech "MY BABY!" one more time, I was going to reach through my television and pluck her head off. Only the very attractive actress Rosie Holotik comes off as having any acting ability and she saves what little of this film is left to salvage.

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In fact, the only thing the film really does offer up in the way of interest besides Holotik is the careers that some of the crew have moved on to. Co-writer Thomas Pope wrote the script for the film The Lords of Discipline and a little known favorite of mine called Cold Dog Soup (with Frank Whaley and Randy Quaid) while the other writer, Tim Pope, directed the lackluster The Crow: City of Angels. Composer Robert Farrar is also known for his screenwriting abilities, having penned the unjustly criticized Bill Murray vehicle The Man Who Knew Too Little. Director Brownrigg is perhaps best known (or not known) for his film Poor White Trash 2.

Don't Look in the Basement has been released on DVD through VCI Home Video. The film is presented in full screen only, but the image is hardly compromised so the lack of letterboxing has no effect. The print quality is fair, showing off signs of wear, but exploitation fans should get a kick out of this disc all the same. No extras are included on the disc save for a handful of bios on the crew and a string of trailers for some of VCI's other upcoming (or already released DVDs).

Review by Pockets of Sanity

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