Director – Joseph Ellison
Cast – Dan Grimaldi, Robert Osth, Ruth Dardick, Charles Bonet, Bill Ricci
Release Year – 1980
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I came across this 1980 slasher late one night, and after giving myself a quick glimpse of the storyline I HAD to see this. Why? Well, simply because we get a slasher that dons a weapon I have never before seen used in the slasher sub-genre, a flamethrower!
Don’t Go In The House follows Donald ‘Donny’ Kohler(Dan Grimaldi; “The Sopranos”), a troubled man who suffered much abuse from his religious mother who used an open flame to cure Donny of his “disease”. When Donny’s beloved mother passes away the event sends him over the edge, and he desperately does anything he can to repress his feelings. He has come to a single solution to his trauma, and that is to stalk young women who he feels resemble his mother, hang them right side up, and ignite them on fire with a flamethrower.
Yes, you read right, this killer uses a freakin flamethrower to kill his victims. When I first read about that I exalted with joy, and seeing him employ the flamethrower to do his deeds only pleased me even more. As you can imagine, the kills in this film are pretty brutal, and one of them is downright disturbing. Personally, I loved it and found it to be the defining moment in this film, and one of my favorite kills in horror history.
The storyline in this film plays off a bit like Psycho, with Donny keeping his death mother’s corpse in his home with him and remaining faithful to her at times despite her not being alive. We get some backstory into Donny’s relationship with his mother, and it goes back to his childhood days in which he was horribly abused and scarred due to her “punishments”. If I did not know any better, I would say that this film comes with quite a bit of social commentary regarding abusing your children and the steps that lead up to someone being a serial killer or a mass murderer, and I enjoyed that.
Watching Donny do his business was a true joy to watch, and actor Dan Grimaldi did a fine job portraying this awesome killer. He went from emotional extremes at a moment’s notice, and sold his performance in realistic fashion. You may remember him as Patsy Parisi in “The Sopranos”, and it is obvious this guy has some real talent. One element of Donny that I really enjoyed was the desperation he showed and went through in his attempts to relieve himself by killing the girls. We see him go to some desperate measures to convince his victims to enter his home, sealing their fate the moment the front door closes. It was awesome, and well executed thanks to some cool writing and direction.
My one beef with this film is that it did lost “it” during the second act in which the story slowed down quite a bit and become dull. This was ultimately made up for with the ending sequence, but had we been given some awesome scenes during this negative period this film would have received a higher rating.
Overall, this is a pretty cool slasher that gives us a sweet psychopathic killer who employs one of the coolest weapons I have seen in the horror genre. If you can make it through the slow second act then you should come out of this one as happy as I was. Oh, and did I mention this comes with a disturbing kill that you will never forget?