Don't Go in the House (1980)

R | 90 mins | Horror | 22 August 1980

Director:

Joseph Ellison

Producer:

Ellen Hammill

Cinematographer:

Oliver Wood

Editor:

Jane Kurson

Production Designer:

Sarah Wood

Production Company:

Turbine Films, Inc.
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HISTORY

The following acknowledgements appear at the end of the film: “Special Thanks: National Park Service; New Jersey Film Commission; Jersey City Mayor’s Office; General Camera; Dick DiBona; August Films; Simon Nuchtern; Royal Court Repertory Theater; Phyllis Craig; Lou Salvatore; Palace Disco, New Rochelle, N.Y., Nap Holmes; Phantasmagoria Prods., Inc.; Keith Robinson; Mannerly Shop, New Rochelle, N.Y.; William Seef; Mark Goldberg; Shore Florist, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.; Mary Ann Chin; Nancy Fraioli; Jim Glass; Len Greiner; Scott Hello; Penny Kunz; Larry Neroda; Beriau Picard; John Gray; Y. C. Kwei.”
       A brief from the 20 Dec 1979 HR stated that the working title of film was The Burning, and the production was filmed in NY.
       Most reviews panned the film. A 6 Jun 1980 DV review (by Step.) suggested that the film’s entire reason for being was to cash in on “gruesomely explicit carnage and fem[ale] nudity.” The movie’s one saving grace was its “antichild abuse message.” Furthermore, the reviewer remarked that any money the film made would be dependent on the success of its advertising campaign and not on the quality of the product. A 27 Aug 1980 HR review by Ron Pennington added that the movie was “a truly awful film” that suffered from a weak plot and a director that could not sustain any suspense or interest. According to Pennington, audience members at Hollywood, CA's Vine Street Theatre laughed at several moments that were supposedly scary, and many people left the theater while the film was still playing.
       A group of 1980 sex-gore-terror exploitation movies motivated an editorial in The Chicago Tribune placing the blame on the ... More Less

The following acknowledgements appear at the end of the film: “Special Thanks: National Park Service; New Jersey Film Commission; Jersey City Mayor’s Office; General Camera; Dick DiBona; August Films; Simon Nuchtern; Royal Court Repertory Theater; Phyllis Craig; Lou Salvatore; Palace Disco, New Rochelle, N.Y., Nap Holmes; Phantasmagoria Prods., Inc.; Keith Robinson; Mannerly Shop, New Rochelle, N.Y.; William Seef; Mark Goldberg; Shore Florist, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.; Mary Ann Chin; Nancy Fraioli; Jim Glass; Len Greiner; Scott Hello; Penny Kunz; Larry Neroda; Beriau Picard; John Gray; Y. C. Kwei.”
       A brief from the 20 Dec 1979 HR stated that the working title of film was The Burning, and the production was filmed in NY.
       Most reviews panned the film. A 6 Jun 1980 DV review (by Step.) suggested that the film’s entire reason for being was to cash in on “gruesomely explicit carnage and fem[ale] nudity.” The movie’s one saving grace was its “antichild abuse message.” Furthermore, the reviewer remarked that any money the film made would be dependent on the success of its advertising campaign and not on the quality of the product. A 27 Aug 1980 HR review by Ron Pennington added that the movie was “a truly awful film” that suffered from a weak plot and a director that could not sustain any suspense or interest. According to Pennington, audience members at Hollywood, CA's Vine Street Theatre laughed at several moments that were supposedly scary, and many people left the theater while the film was still playing.
       A group of 1980 sex-gore-terror exploitation movies motivated an editorial in The Chicago Tribune placing the blame on the film industry, as reported 18 Nov 1980 DV. The newspaper editorial recommended that the films receive an “X" rating from the Motion Picture Association of America instead of "R" ratings on the basis of the sex and explicit violence. The editorial praised the efforts of critics Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times and Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune to call attention to the gruesome content of the films as well as their misogynistic point of view. The article added that Don’t Go in the House was on a list of ten films that Siskel and Ebert sited on a 23 Oct 1980 edition of their television program Sneak Previews, as being poorly done and espousing poor societal values. Ebert pointed out that audiences rooted for the killer when plots were told through the killer’s viewpoint and such films would benefit from being seen from the victims’ viewpoints.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Nov 1980.
---
Daily Variety
6 Jun 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 1980
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
27 Aug 1980
p. 4.
Variety
11 Jun 1980
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Turbine Films Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Best boy
1st electrics
2d electrics
3d electrics
Key grip
Asst cam
2d asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Ed room asst
Ed room asst
Ed room asst
Ed room asst
Ed room asst
Ed room asst
Ed room asst
Ed room asst
Negative matching
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set const
Set const
Set const
COSTUMES
Asst cost
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd ed
2d sd ed
Re-rec mix
Re-rec mix
Post prod sd
Sd rec at
Sd tranfers
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hair and makeup
Asst hair and makeup
Spec eff makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Catering
Catering
Catering
Post prod consultant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
STAND INS
Stunts
SOURCES
SONGS
“Dancin’ Close To You,” composed by Ted Daryll, performed by The Daryll/Barber Band, and produced by Murri Barber
“Straight Ahead,” composed by Ted Daryll, performed by The Daryll/Barber Band, and produced by Murri Barber
“Late Night Surrender,” composed by Bill Heller, available on Reflection Records & Tapes
+
SONGS
“Dancin’ Close To You,” composed by Ted Daryll, performed by The Daryll/Barber Band, and produced by Murri Barber
“Straight Ahead,” composed by Ted Daryll, performed by The Daryll/Barber Band, and produced by Murri Barber
“Late Night Surrender,” composed by Bill Heller, available on Reflection Records & Tapes
“Boogie Lightning,” composed by Bill Heller, available on Reflection Records & Tapes.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Burning
Release Date:
22 August 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 22 August 1980
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
by DeLuxe
Lenses
Lenses by Panavision
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

At the sanitation incinerators where he works, Donny Kohler watches as an industrial fire consumes his friend, Ben. As Donny puts his tools away, Vito, his supervisor, yells that Ben almost died because of Donny’s failure to act. Bobby Tuttle, a friend from work, persuades Donny not to dwell on Vito’s criticism. At home, Donny makes tea for his mother and discovers she is dead. Voices in his head tell him he is free now and can do whatever he wants. In the kitchen, he sees a box of matches and remembers how his mother used to punish him for bad behavior by burning his arms over the flame of the gas stove. Later, Bobby calls Donny to see if he is upset about the accident. Donny declares he is fine and will return to work the following day. In town, Donny persuades Kathy Jordan, who works in a florist’s shop, to sell him flowers for his sick mother although the store has closed for the night. After closing the shop, Kathy misses her bus home. She accepts a ride from Donny to the next bus stop, but first he wants to drop off the flowers at his house. Kathy agrees and Donny persuades her to come inside, where he informs her that his mother has grown worse and he must wait for the doctor to arrive. When Kathy uses his phone to call a cab, Donny knocks her out. She awakens to find herself hanging naked from the ceiling, bound in leather and chains. She cries for help, while Donny sits in his room and imagines his mother calling him to receive his punishment in the kitchen. ... +


At the sanitation incinerators where he works, Donny Kohler watches as an industrial fire consumes his friend, Ben. As Donny puts his tools away, Vito, his supervisor, yells that Ben almost died because of Donny’s failure to act. Bobby Tuttle, a friend from work, persuades Donny not to dwell on Vito’s criticism. At home, Donny makes tea for his mother and discovers she is dead. Voices in his head tell him he is free now and can do whatever he wants. In the kitchen, he sees a box of matches and remembers how his mother used to punish him for bad behavior by burning his arms over the flame of the gas stove. Later, Bobby calls Donny to see if he is upset about the accident. Donny declares he is fine and will return to work the following day. In town, Donny persuades Kathy Jordan, who works in a florist’s shop, to sell him flowers for his sick mother although the store has closed for the night. After closing the shop, Kathy misses her bus home. She accepts a ride from Donny to the next bus stop, but first he wants to drop off the flowers at his house. Kathy agrees and Donny persuades her to come inside, where he informs her that his mother has grown worse and he must wait for the doctor to arrive. When Kathy uses his phone to call a cab, Donny knocks her out. She awakens to find herself hanging naked from the ceiling, bound in leather and chains. She cries for help, while Donny sits in his room and imagines his mother calling him to receive his punishment in the kitchen. Wearing a flame resistant suit, Donny pours gasoline on Kathy. She begs him to stop, but he torches her body with a flamethrower and watches silently as her body burns. Meanwhile, Vito complains to Bobby that Donny has not shown up for work in a week or called to explain his absence. Donny offers to drive a woman to a gas station after her car has stalled. She is not suspicious when he wants to stop by his house and she is subjected to the same fate as Kathy. Later, Donny converses with his mother’s dead body and wants to introduce her to his latest victim before she meets his other women friends. Donny gets a phone call from Bobby warning him that Vito will fire him if he does not return to work by Monday. During the conversation, Donny imagines his mother’s desiccated body standing in the hallway, with white hair, and wearing a black shroud. He tells Bobby he is scared because his mother is very ill, but turns down Bobby’s offer to visit him at home. Donny imagines he hears his mother insist that he will never leave her as her husband did. Other voices in Donny’s head command him to punish his mother the way she punished him, and he now has friends to help him. In one room, all his victims are dressed in his mother’s clothing, each charred body in its own chair. When he imagines his victims laughing at him, he slaps the face of one of the corpses and orders them to stop. In bed, he has nightmares and he wakes in a sweat, and becomes frightened when he imagines his mother alive. He goes to a nearby church, lights a candle and takes a small bottle of holy water. He shows Father Gerritty the scars on his arms and confesses that his mother punished him to rid him of evil. Father Gerritty asks Donny to forgive his mother, and banish evil thoughts from his mind. At home, Donny sprinkles holy water on his mother’s body and promises to forgive her. Donny calls Bobby and invites him to a movie but Bobby has other ideas. He instructs Donny to meet him at the disco and he arranges for some women to join them. Bobby dances with his date, Karen, but Donny is shy. When Farrah, his date, grabs his arms coaxing him to dance, it reminds Donny of his arms being burned on the stove. He throws hot wax from a table candle on her face and sets her hair on fire. Tony, Farrah’s brother, beats Donny in the parking lot but he manages to break free and drive away. He picks up Suzanne and Patty, two hitchhikers, and persuades them to party at his house. The women are impressed with Donny’s home and begin exploring. Bobby is upset by Donny’s actions and persuades Father Gerritty to speak to Donny before more terrible things happen. Donny takes Suzanne upstairs to show her the house. When Patty looks for her, she discovers the room full of corpses and screams as Donny drags her away. Bobby and Father Gerritty knock on Donny’s door to warn him that Tony is after him. They break in and discover Suzanne and Patty tied up. Donny appears at the top of the stairs in his flame resistant suit, tells the priest his advice did not work, and blasts him with his flamethrower. Father Gerritty runs to the porch, where Bobby stomps out the fire. Voices tell Donny he has been found out. He returns to his corpse room, where the charred bodies surround him and confess their hatred. When he tries to leave, his mother’s corpse blocks the doorway and he sets fire to the house. A mother beats her son, Michael, for failing to clean his room when he would rather listens to a television news report about Donny’s house burning to the ground. Voices inside Michael’s head tell him not to worry, they will help him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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