Remember the double-feature movie Grindhouse? Great movie experience...you get 2 hysterically cheesy movies spoofing the kinds of crap films you'd see at a drive-in, plus several ridiculous movie trailer spoofs. Well, the reason I bring up Grindhouse is because one of the trailers, Don't..., is a direct spoof of the horror genre of "Don't" movies. You know, like Don't Look in the Basement, Don't Answer the Phone, and today's cinematic "gem", Don't Go In the House.
The story is about young, crazy Donny. He's a troubled loner who is obsessed with fire. As the movie starts, Donny is at work(some kind of factory job), and he inserts a flammable can of spray into a furnace. A co-worker opens the furnace door, and BOOM--he lights up like a Roman candle. While others come to the man's aid, Donny just stands back and watches. Later, when confronted about the "accident", a supervisor asks him directly why he didn't cover the guy in something to douse the flames, and Donny's reply is, "I did...I covered him in fire." Nice guy.
From here, we start getting into a pretty blatant Psycho rip-off: Donny hears the voice of "Mother" telling him what to do. As Donny grew up, Mother apparently punished him by burning him on their stove, usually for sex-related "crimes". (sound familiar?) When he gets home, he even offers to make her some tea. Just like Norman Bates. In one of the funniest scenes I've ever witnessed, he "finds" her dead and has a reaction that even William Shatner would call hammy acting. (I'm still not entirely convinced he didn't kill her himself)After failing to revive her, Donny hears another voice, which informs him that he is now free to do anything he wants. His first major act of freedom is to listen to shitty Disco music at full blast, smoke a cigarette, lounge around...and hear his mother's voice screaming at him. Just like Norman, his mother haunts him.
He calls in sick to work and buys himself a flame-retardant suit. Then he reels in his first victim, a young florist. He buys flowers from her just as she's closing her shop, then offers her a ride when she misses her bus. Of course, instead of driving her home or to the next bus stop, he takes her to his house. Didn't she see the title? DON'T GO IN THE HOUUUUUUSE!!!!! Well, she does. Dumbass. As she wanders around the house getting progressively more and more freaked out, Donny tries to persuade her to stay. When she resists he knocks her out, strips her naked, and chains her up inside a fireproof room. Throw in a rose ceremony, and it looks like a standard episode of The Bachelor. (nice body, btw...I guess in the 70's there were far fewer "No nudity" clauses for movie starlets...) Donny splashes her with gas and sets her on fire. As Paris Hilton would say, "That's hot!"
His next victim is a woman stranded by the side of the road. We never even get to know her name. After he picks her up, her next scene is as a burnt-up corpse. Immediately following her murder, he kidnaps a woman at a convenience store and brings her home to "meet mother" and the other victims. At least this one has a name: Linda.
Before he can finish off Linda, Donny gets a call from Bobby, a co-worker. Bobby tells him that if he keeps missing work, his ass is grass. He must have killed Linda offscreen, because we see a LOT of scenes of Donny having nightmares of his victims coming after him, hallucinations of them appearing on stairwells and in doorways, and, of course, more scenes of Mother' s corpse being all corpse-y. Feeling lost and confused(join the party, Donald!), Donny goes to church. He shows the local priest what his mother did to his arms as a child, and the priest shows genuine concern for his health, both physical and mental. He even offers to hear Donny's confession.
Feeling better than he has in a looooong time, Donny goes home and asks his mother's corpse for forgiveness. Donny calls his ol' pal Bobby. Bobby is at home and surrounded by family, so of course he proposes that Donny meet up with him later to have a group-grope with some easy chicks. OF COURSE! Donny agrees to meet them...BAD idea!!
First, Donny goes out and buys himself a 3-piece suit and new shoes. Looking like Juan Epstein(any Welcome Back, Kotter fans?), Donny shows up at the Disco to meet Bobby and their "dates". While Bobby is dancing with his, Donny is having the MACE(Most Awkward Conversation Ever!)...or he was, until his date left to go dance with another guy. Having flashbacks of what his mother did to his arms, Donny accidentally burns a woman who wants to dance with him. He flees the nightclub and picks up 2 drunk women.
He tells the 2 drunks that he was mugged by, and he beat up, 3 tough guys. He suggests the girls come back to his house, and they idiotically agree. He then lures one of the girls into his "burn room"...
Meanwhile, Bobby tracks down the priest Donny talked to earlier. He tells him about the nightclub fire, and asks the Father to go with him to Donny's house to reason with him. Worried, they both agree that it would be best to find Donny before anything else happens. DUH.
The other girl that came home with Donny begins to worry when she can't find her friend, Suzanne. She wanders through the house, calling her name, unaware that Donny is right behind her. When she finds the room with all the bodies, Donny grabs her before she can scream. *gulp*
By this time, Bobby and the priest have arrived. They knock, but of course Donny is upstairs yelling at his corpse-harem. While Donny is changing his clothes, they break down the front door and hear a woman screaming. They follow the sound and find both Suzanne and the other girl in the fire-proof room, still very much alive. The manage to untie the frightened women, and start to lead them to safety, but the priest hears a noise upstairs and decides to stay behind. Sloooowly creeping up the stairs(another scene reminiscent of Psycho), he encounters Donny, dressed in his asbestos suit. Donny introduces the poor guy to his flamethrower, and makes Chicken Fried Father.
Bobby manages to throw a blanket over the priest to try to put him out, and now Donny is like a man on a mission: he moves from room to room, flamethrower in hand, until he reaches the Smoking Room(heh, sorry, I couldn't resist). All the while, his mother is shadowing him, but he barely seems to register her ghostly presence. He instead tells all of the voices, mother and others, that he's done listening to them. Of course, he coulda realized this epiphany BEFORE he decided to start setting fire to the house, but hey, he's the expert here.
Anyway, the grand finale is completely gonzo-crackers-bananas: Mom, his victims and the "friendly" voices all rebel against him. Seriously. The corpses all rise, Mom included, and kill Donny in the most mundane way possible. The movie then gives us an "epilogue", where we see another little boy being abused by his parent. Ooh, do I smell a sequel? Nope, that's just Donny becoming a Crispy Critter. 3 trees out of 5, for the ho-hum presentation of what SHOULD HAVE been the most crazy-ass movie ever seen by human eyes.
What have I learned from Don't Go In the House?
-Not to go in the house...see? I paid attention!
-The '70's had the worst music and fashions EVER.
-You can keep multiple charred and/or decomposed bodies in your house without EVER noticing the smell. I swear, scout's honor!
Next time: something called The Sorority. Don't tell Donny!