In this horror movie, a dutiful grand-daughter goes home to take care of her elderly grandmother. Once there, she finds herself trapped inside the house with a homicidal maniac.
Strange, quirky, and colorful low-budget horror film
A young woman reluctantly returns to her home town to oversee her dying grandmother's final days. While staying in the house where she witnessed her mumsy's murder thirteen years earlier, she finds more than a few secrets from her past have come back to haunt her. I appreciate that this movie has such strange execution. It's structure is very different from the typical low-budget horrors of this era, completely eschewing things like mystery (the killer's identity is obvious from the get-go) and resolution. Plot-wise, it borrows from proto-slashers BLACK Christmas and SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. While it's lesser than both of those films in terms of quality, I did find it undeniably charming, entertaining, and even creepy at times. While the acting in the movie is generally amateur, Susan Bracken is a hoot as the spunky lead who gets to spout some amusing dialogue. She quickly flips the switch from headstrong heroine to full-on basket case and there's not a moment she's on screen where my eyes weren't on her face. It's one of the most memorable horror performances I've watched lately. The movie's biggest downfall is the irritating soap opera-ish theme song in the opening credits that pops up way too often throughout the movie. The freaky dolls in the opening sequence (who also pop up at other points in the movie) sort of make up for it. DON'T OPEN THE DOOR doesn't make much sense and it isn't going to be for everyone, but I found it to be a bizarre and unique viewing experience.
Bizarre Low Budget Chiller
Don't Open The Door comes from S.F. Brownrigg who made the equally bizarre Don't Look in the Basement which has become a drive-in/grindhouse/cheapie VHS and DVD staple for years. While this film doesn't have exactly the same kind of manic, low budget energy that film has, it has enough charms of its own to make it worth a watch.
Don't Open the Door follows a young woman who returns home to the house where her mother was murdered and begins receiving strange, obscene phone calls from a psycho who wants her dead.
The acting, much like Basement, is enthusiastic but amateur hour. No one is really awful, but no one is exactly brilliant either. You get the feeling that you're watching the area's most competent community theatre actors having a good time. The concept is solid, but the suspense and scares seem to be put on the backburner until towards the end of the film, which gives us a lot of time to watch the leading lady take a bath or go exploring the house, which isn't terribly exciting.
Where Don't Open the Door excels is with the creepy phone calls and the mood. The phone calls are perhaps some of the genre's creepiest and most unsettling. It also manages to produce a fairly haunting ending.
With a little more effort put into the script, pacing, and scares, this one could have been a contender, but as is, it's an interesting regional time capsule. It's worth seeing once.
Creepy gem with dolls and mannequins.
A young blonde woman named Amanda goes to look after her aging grandmother in her home but finds herself being menaced by a obscene caller,who enjoys collecting dolls and talking to his mannequins."Don't Open the Door!" is a low-budget horror movie made in Texas by S.F Brownrigg.The scene of psycho talking to his mannequin predates the behavior of Joe Spinell's character Frank Zito in "Maniac".The action is slow and there are some dull spots,but the film certainly delivers suspenseful atmosphere.Most of the creep factor comes from Larry O'Dwyer as the breathy,giggling and sleazy psycho in the walls.The characters are bizarre and utterly dysfunctional,the direction is competent and there is a bit of unsettling violence.I loved "Keep My Grave Open" and enjoyed "Don't Open the Door!" as well.8 out of 10.
Pretty good; twisted and spooky
I admit it. I love this film. True, it has it's drawbacks...like how in many scenes you hear a lot of camera noise and see the boom mike popping up here and there. Also, this thing is real low-budget. However, the acting is retty good (especially from Susan Bracken) and there are some scenes that are really chilling. The plot deals with a curvaceous blonde named Amanda returning to her hometown to care for her sick grandmother. Years ago her mother was stabbed to death there by an unknown slasher. Once she is back at the house, a freaked out transvestite starts axing random folks and calling Amanda, seducing her and whispering perverse lines over the phone. The music is cheesy but good and there are some really creepy scenes involving dolls and a lot of twisted little touches. The gore is low and the ending is somewhat disappointing, but overall this movie is quite watchable.
a real creepy affair
Not quite as good a low budget effort as Mr Brownrigg's earlier, 'Don't look In The Basement' but still well worth catching. This starts rather slow and predictably but soon develops into a real creepy affair with an excellent central performance from Susan Bracken as she spends the entire movie fending off the crazies. Whilst she may not be surrounded by folks quite as crazy as in the earlier film none of them are the sort you would wish to get too close to and as the film progresses a most unpleasant tone begins to permeate the picture. Bracken does plenty of wide eyed screaming, particularly as she really begins to lose it towards the end and with her red outfit and the dark shadows and is certainly a sight to be seen.
Effective shoestring slasher
"Don't Open the Door!" follows Amanda Post, a young woman who returns to her hometown thirteen years after the murder of her mother; she arrives because her grandmother is apparently on her deathbed, but soon finds several locals vying for her family's historic home, and is tormented by threatening phone calls that grow increasingly disturbed.
This followup to S. F. Brownrigg's "Don't Look in the Basement" (another shoestring regional horror flick) is a far better film that it deserves to be, and is possibly even better-made than "Basement." The plot here is straightforward, and the film shows its cards around the midway point, spoiling the potential "twist," but even still, there is plenty of offbeat fun to be had here.
Stylistically, "Don't Open the Door!" is quite colorful and lush, at times recalling Mario Bava's "Blood and Black Lace," especially with the use of mannequins as a plot device. The locations are well-shot, and there is a claustrophobic terror to the proceedings as Amanda finds herself subject to disturbed phone calls that grow increasingly violent and sexual in nature. Historically speaking, "Don't Open the Door!" may be a more important film than most realize; it was originally released in 1974, even predating Bob Clark's "Black Christmas," which has a similar setup involving a sorority tormented by a demented anonymous caller. The breathy, bizarre phone calls featured in "Don't Open the Door!" could have equally served as inspiration for those that appeared in the subsequent 1980 slasher "Prom Night," as they are similar in tone.
Susan Bracken, daughter of comedian Eddie Bracken, plays the lead here quite effectively. Her character is headstrong, sassy, and assertive--she is no damsel in distress, which is a bit refreshing to see for a film of this ilk. Even at her most terrified, she takes matters into her own hands, and holds her own against the various locals attempting to intimidate her into handing over her family's home. The film's final act is a bit disjointed and it does seem to grow clunky as it scrambles to provide us with a clean-cut conclusion (which I'm not sure is entirely achieved), but no less, I found myself pleasantly surprised by this film. For a low-budget, regionally-made horror film, "Don't Open the Door!" is inventive and stylish. Well worth a watch, especially given that it seems to have pre-empted the "killer caller" slasher as we know it. 7/10.
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