Horror Review: Don’t Go In The House (1979)

A disturbed young man who was burned as a child by his sadistic mother stalks women with a flamethrower.

I remember the first time I watched this film, I was only 13 and it seriously messed with my head, so much so that I didn’t rewatch it again for years.

In hindsight my problem was that I was too young to truly understand what was going on in the film, this was rectified when I decided it was finally time to give this film another viewing and see if I could finally get my head around it.

Thankfully I did and what I discovered was that after all these years I’d missed out on a masterpiece that delves a lot deeper than its counterparts and delves deep into the psychological which we don’t always get.

Writer and Director Joseph Ellison gives us a well delivered story and it’s shocking to think this is only one of two films he made as he certainly had a talent for it, it’s such a shame really, I wonder why he didn’t do more?

Dan Grimaldi who plays our lead character ‘Donny’ gives us a great performance of what is an unsettling and highly disturbed character and he brings it all to life so well that it becomes uneasy to watch.

“Don’t Go In The House” is not to everyone’s taste but it deserves more recognition than it gets.
If you want to see the “Don’t Go In The House” trailer then just click on the video below:
Miscellaneous facts about the film:

Selected by Quentin Tarantino for the First Quentin Tarantino Film Fest in Austin, Texas, 1996.

The actresses who played the burns victims were dancers chosen because they were the same height as the actresses playing the victims, but significantly slimmer in build. This is because when the human body is subjected to burns, it shrinks due to a loss of fluid.

Dan Grimaldi kept the asbestos suit he wears in the movie.

Star Dan Grimaldi didn’t have to audition for the part of Donny Kohler. At the time, he was the lead in an Off Broadway play titled “Mama’s Little Angels”. The director and producers came to see it several times and ended up asking him if he was interested in doing their picture.

The house used in this film is now the museum headquarters of the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society in New Jersey. It was falling into disrepair at the time of filming, and shortly after in 1980, the town condemned it and slated it for demolition. That’s when the local historical society took action and purchased the property. It is now called the Strauss Mansion Museum, named for Adolph Strauss who had the house built in 1893. There are exhibits in every room, ranging from local history to Victorian displays. The restoration work is still ongoing after all these years due to the massive amounts of money (through donations) needed. However, the house is still there and not too much has changed. Some rooms are recognizable from the movie, while others maybe not because of display cases. The society usually shows the film in the house in October as part of their month of Halloween events. The location is open every Saturday and Sunday from 1-4pm (April through December). Admission is free. It is located at 27 Prospect Circle, Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

Director Joseph Ellison owned the pick-up truck Dan Grimaldi drives in the film.

The film’s original soundtrack turned out to be unusable, having been recorded on what actor Dan Grimaldi termed “less than up-to-date equipment”. The soundtrack, in its entirety, had to be re-recorded and re-dubbed.

The first video release in the UK was uncut. A following cut version was later unofficially approved by the BBFC. The film was not prosecuted as a ‘video nasty’ as the distributor assured the BBFC that this cut version would replace the uncut version.

Most of the filming locations, aside from the house and flower shop, are gone. The clothing store has been demolished, and a CVS built on the site. The Palace Disco is also gone.

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