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Don’t Go in the House

Directed by: Joseph Ellison

Produced by: Matthew Mallinson, Dennis Stephenson, Edward L. Montoro

Written by: Ellen Hammill, Joseph R. Masefield

Starring: Dan Grimaldi, Robert Osth, Charles Bonet, Bill Ricci

Music by: Richard Einhorn

Cinematography: Oliver Wood

Editing by: Jane Kurson

Studio: Turbine Films

Distributed by: Film Ventures International

Release date(s): March 28, 1980

Running time: 82 minutes

Country: United States

Language: English

Donald „Donny“ Kohler is deeply disturbed individual who was emotionally and physically scarred by burns inflicted on him by his mother. As a child, whenever he did something she saw as „wicked,“ she would hold his bare arms over a gas stove in an effort to „burn the evil out of him.“ Due to this he has developed a secret obsession with fire and human combustion. During his job at an incinerator, he observes a co-worker, Billy, catch on fire. Instead of going for help, he stares, mesmerized. When he returns home he finds his mother has died. While he is free from her possessiveness, the only life he has ever known is gone, and with it his chance for revenge against her. He sets out to avenge himself on every woman who bears a resemblance to his hateful parent with the aid of makeshift steel chains, a home-made flamethrower and a steel-paneled bedroom crematorium.

One of his first victims is local florist Kathy Jordan (Johanna Brushay). Befriending the harmless-looking man, Kathy escorts Donny back to his mother’s house, where he knocks her unconscious, ties her up and burns her to death with his flamethrower.

Despite some respectable critical notices, Don’t Go In the House attracted controversy almost immediately because of its graphic depiction of the death of Kohler’s first victim, and the touchy central theme of childhood abuse. The film was cut by almost three minutes when it was released in Britain in the winter of 1980, but an uncut version was released on video by the Arcade label in 1982 – knowingly or not, they advertised the release as „a true ’nasty‘ from Arcade“, and it quickly wound up on the DPP’s list of banned titles. The pre-cut British cinema version was released on video by the Apex label in April 1987.

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