Monday, August 23, 2010

"Don't Go In The House"(1980)d/Joseph Ellison

Let's skip the whole "I'm baaaaack" stuff this time around,shall we?We all know how many times I've stomped off in an inebriated and otherwise altered mental state and left you cold like Fair-weather Frankie when the chips were down.We were pluggin' right along with regular reviews during the summer(ha!remember those days,bastards?)and it looked like,for once,the Wop would post an epic number of entries here in the 1-0,but partying and old legal wounds took their tolls on yer favorite Italian,and in admirably self-destructive fashion,I took the low road and bailed on my responsibilities to you dearest readers.Things didn't look promising for another return,as my glassies viddied the opinions of varied idiots throughout the interwebs,giving praise to shit movies,blowing smoke up the asses of studios that churn out manure sequels and remakes at an alarming rate,but then,a funny thing happened.When I logged in to check the site's hit statistics,expecting to see a barren wasteland,I saw an increasing number of hits daily that dwarved anything during my regular entry period.So,with you,more stubborn than even I,in mind,let's play some catch up just in time for Hallowe'en,shall we?
If you happened to wonder what Lustig's Maniac(1980) would look like with a different Italian playing the nutbag(in this case,Dan Grimaldi aka/Patsy Parisi from The Sopranos taking the reigns),a different fetish killing style(burning instead of scalping),and disco bitches,director Joseph Ellison's Don't Go In The House released that same year,fits the bill.That uneasy sleaze factor is ceiling level here,with decent FX and familiar "chicks only" cruelty that genre films gleefully delivered in the golden age of splatter.Then there's Grimaldi,who goes above and beyond to deliver a uniquely twisted performance as the cranially fucked abuse victim with a penchant for flame-charred flesh,and really adds to the aforementioned unease the movie's laden with.It certainly fits pretty comfortably next to similarly sick 80's fare like Don't Answer the Phone while mirroring its Psycho-esque roots in the same instant.It also has a distinct late seventies reek about it,with its dated polyester fashions and discotheques,and compared to what passes for pop culture today,that's never a bad thing,believe you me.The world could always use some more boogieing.
Over the flame,you bubblehead,like a marshmallow.Someone should revoke your child abuse license.
Donnie Kohler(Dan Grimaldi)never had a chance.As a child,his mother spoiled him rotten,roasting his arms over the open flame of a gas stove like a pair of pink chestnuts,she did.No space heater to the small of the back for Donnie,no siree.Is it any wonder when she turns her toes up that her abused offspring flips his wig for good and all?I mean nevermind the homicidal voices in his head telling him he's the master of the flame and all that,what about him jumping up and down on the furniture and playing full blast disco in the house?His mother'd flame broil his mitts for that outburst.Instead,her voice spurs him on to do some shopping at a store that looks as though it caters to the Bundys,Fishes,and Geins of the world,stocking nifty knives,Nazi war helmets,and a full flame-retardant suit in its front window.After he panels one of the rooms in his house's walls with flame-resistant metal and picks himself up some happening new disco threads that'd make Tony Manero blush,he's ready to start chaining him some naked bitches to the ceiling in said room so he can torch them alive with a flamethrower,afterwards dressing their smoldering remains in clothes and propping them up in his mother's bedroom so they can keep her corpse company.Donnie is to sterno what Ed Gein was to sewing machines.After standing by and watching a co-worker cook like a chicken for like ten minutes,he becomes increasingly despondent and introspective on the job to the point that he ceases going to work altogether,preferring to haunt the discos and burn bitches in his homemade fire room instead.The cackling caucophany of char-broiled floozies yapping away in his head forces him to try and snake some holy water from the local church,but he gets caught by the priest,who naturally,attempts to proselytize our resident sicko,before coming on to him a little bit.
If I had a hammer,I'd build me a flame-resistant torture room,to burn nekkid disco chicks in,come on,everybody,sing along!
Enter Donnie's lone pal,Bobby.When most people encounter someone as obviously fucking disturbed as Donnie,they might try and reach out to them,they may try and seek some counselling for them when they notice that person's grasp on reality becoming more tentative by the phone call,or they might just invite the guy out for a night of disco dancing and random chicks,if they're this guy,Bobby.Take a guess how that works out.When her goading to the dance floor proves unsuccessful,Donnie's date tries teasingly pulling him by the arms out onto it,which triggers some nasty memories inside Kohler's subconscious of his abusive mother's pulling his arms over the open stove,and ultimately culminates in him putting a candle out in her carrot-hued hair do.No "Sorry,I'm a little too crazy to boogie with you,darling,I'll watch you get down from over here" for Donnie,no sirree.Insert your obligatory "Burn,baby,burn!Disco inferrrrrno!" reference here.Suddenly very aware of Kohler's aversion to boogieing,Bobby calls upon the priest to make a housecall with him,unwittingly saving the lives of two more she-mallows in the process,but costing the man of the cloth his own life.As for Donnie,he's attacked by the reanimated charred corpses of his victims as the house collapses upon itself,engulfed in flames,reminiscent of a similar boffo ending in a similarly twisted aforementioned Bill Lustig vehicle.Women can once again shake their collective groove thangs,free of the possibility of ever being torched while chained nude and screaming in a home crematorium.Hot stuff,indeed.
Redheads and discos don't mix.
Grimaldi,who went on to appear in countless television crime series before landing on the award-winning HBO mafia drama,seems to look back upon this,his first starring role,with fond memories,unlike some actors who'd rather bury their horror beginnings where nobody could ever see....ahem,Zellweger.In her defense,Texas Chainsaw Massacre:The Next Generation(1994)is a horrible,annoying piece of shit,and Don't Go In The House isn't,so you can't really blame her here.The snooty,chootchy face,that's all her fault,so give her both barrels on that,by all means.Personally,I dug this one a lot.Solid performances,effective makeup fx,an interesting variation on the "Psycho" turn,all make this a decent screening for horror fans out there,especially at this time of year.Two wops.
Donny Kohler(Grimaldi)hallucinates like a Jamaican smoking crack out of a tv set.


stonerphonic said...

Let's skip the whole "I'm baaaaack" stuff this time around,shall we?

ummmm.... ok.

but a warm welcome back anyway beedub. and with a pyromaniac flick to kick off your return, it don't get any warmer!!!

burn baby burn....

beedubelhue said...


As Paris Hilton says(every two sentences,usually):

"That's hot."

Thanks for the toasty welcome,my friend!


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