Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
STRUCK BY BOOGIE LIGHTNING
on 16 October 2012
After witnessing a co-worker being seriously burned in an accident Danny Kohler lines a spare room in his large dilapidated house with sheets of metal and invests in a flamethrower.
Despite its fearsome reputation, Don't Go In The House is a surprisingly subdued and downbeat tale. Shot in the winter of 1979 on location in New York and New Jersey, Joseph Ellison's film is more concerned with abuse and psychotic breakdown than death and mayhem. There is only one on screen death. However, it is truly shocking. The basic set up of a boy and his mother is fairly obviously inspired by Hitchcock's Psycho, but the grittiness and use of hard disco 12 inch dance tracks to highlight Donny's dehumanised yearning for metaphorical and literal warmth owes a little to the bleakness at the heart of Saturday Night Fever. The visitations by the killer's charred victims have a quit eeriness that verges on the ghostly and whilst the ending is not dissimilar to the later Maniac the effect is very different.
Dan Grimaldi (the Sopranos) gives fairly nuanced performance as Donny, mostly avoiding histrionics. I like the scene where he picks up two less than impressionable girls and proceeds to make a complete fool of himself by bragging about his fighting skills and imaginary military background.
Interestingly for a film often dismissed as misogynistic, Don't Go In the House was co-written by Helen Hammill (the director's wife) and edited by Jane Kurson. And at least to me, the film's few female characters seem like normal people rather than fetishised slasher victims. Richard Einhorn (The Prowler, Eyes of a Stranger, Shock Waves)contributed to the creepy atmosphere with a decent electronic score and Tom Brumberger provided the realistic burned corpes effects. The use of L'Electriques' Struck By Boogie Lightning over the end credits is also very effective.
There are no extras on this region 2 disc, but the 1.85.1 aspect ratio presentation is fairly crisp.