View Full Version : Don't Look in the Basement

Tom Servo
12-15-2003, 03:47 PM
Set in an insane asylum, Donít Look in the Basement offers up a story about the patients inside and what happens when left relatively free to do what they want. The movie was shot on a small budget and the whole movie takes place in and around the mental hospital. The movie starts off by introducing us to some of its characters like Sam (William Bill McGhee) who had a lobotomy and now has the mental capacity of an eight year old child. Dr. Stephens (Michael Harvey) is killed outside by Oliver W. Cameron (Gene Ross) who is using a hatchet to release some of his anguish. He had been hacking on a piece of wood, but then turns on the Doctor and ends up killing him. The doctors assistant takes over the home and decides to continue running it with a few changes of her own. A new nurse, Charlotte Beale (Rosie Holotik), arrives (sent for by Dr. Stephens) and after talking to the new head of the house she is allowed to stay on and help. Charlotte is soon confronted by many of the patients in startling and unsettling ways. She keeps wanting to leave, but is talked into staying. After a few days things start to go wrong. The phone line is cut and one of the patientsí cuts off their own tongue. People begin to disappear and soon Charlotte is left to make a startling discovery about what exactly is going on in the house.

It takes a lot of skill to make a good film on a small budget. You need a solid script, good actors, and sufficient special effects. This film lacked parts of this equation and turned out boring and predictable. Iím not lying when I say that I predicted the outcome of this movie within the first 20 minutes. The fact that it was so easily predictable left watching the rest of the build-up (about an hour) boring and unentertaining. The ending of the film was ok; it offered up some decent gore and was somewhat entertaining to watch. Still, it was nothing new and didnít make up for the previous hour of boredom I had been subjected to. The acting wasnít that good either (considering that playing a mentally ill person in this movie involves 70% screaming and 30% talking). The exception to this is Sam, for some reason I really connected to his character. I would say that the strongest points are at the end of the movie. The movie does a good job at wrapping up most of the loose ends and offering up an explanation for everything (if you still need one by then). Overall the story adds nothing too original in a genre where originality will often make up for lack of money. The film was decent enough to take a look at if you find a cheap copy and have some time to kill. It is not going to go onto many peopleís top ten lists, but does offer some minor enjoyment if you are really struggling to find a movie to watch. This is a film that could also be easily overlooked in favor of a more entertaining entry for that Friday night at your friendís house.

I found this DVD cheap on a set in the Horror Classics set. It has no extras and by the time I finished watching the film I wasnít looking for any. The audio on this movie was surprisingly good. It was very even throughout the whole film which makes films like this easier to watch. The video quality was quite poor. The picture was faded and the video was grainy at times. The film seemed to switch between grainy and smooth which made it even more difficult to watch. I would have preferred an all grainy picture instead of this switching action that at times became distracting. Overall the problems with the movie and the disc made for a very unpleasant viewing experience.

Story: 4 / 10
Audio: 4 / 5
Video: 2 / 5
DVD: 1 / 5
Total: 4.4 / 10

12-15-2003, 04:23 PM
I Remember watching this about a year ago an expecting it to be allot worse then it turn out to be. Even though it won't win any awards, i enjoyed it and though it was definitely underrated.

12-15-2003, 05:27 PM
I'm no fan of this movie myself, but it's not so bad and it actually has some nice atmosphere for such a small budget. If I had to rate it myself I'd go 6/10.

12-15-2003, 06:33 PM
I recall liking this movie a lot. It was on one of those early Brentwood 10 pack DVD sets. The picture and sound quality were horrible, but still decent enough to watch it.

12-16-2003, 02:38 AM
I would like to know which set you got (assuming that you go Don't Go into the Basement and House on the Edge of the Park in the same set) because I have not seen either of these movies all the way through and $5 is about how much I can spend right now.

12-16-2003, 08:26 AM
I would like to know which set you got (assuming that you go Don't Go into the Basement and House on the Edge of the Park in the same set) because I have not seen either of these movies all the way through and $5 is about how much I can spend right now.

Don't Go... was on the 10 pack called "Vault of Horror". House On The Edge... was on the 10 pack called "Tales of Terror".

Tom Servo
12-16-2003, 01:50 PM
The set I got was called horror classics and gave me about 4 or 5 movies for $5. These two were on the same volume and I know they have several volumes (at least 8). I got mine at Best Buy in the special values section. I know that it is a Wisconsin based company putting out, so it might only be available in Wisconsin. I would check your local BB because if it is not in an area near you now it should be soon.

12-16-2003, 06:03 PM
Thanks for the review, Tom. I thought DLITB was a pretty good movie, it has that great low-budget 70's atmosphere. The black guy (is that Sam?) was also pretty good, and kind of creepy in a restrained sort of way. When I watched this movie I did not know what to expect, and I was relatively impressed. I don't think this story has been done much, so it was a nice change of pace from the traditional slasher film.

12-16-2003, 06:12 PM
I agree with Rhett, I thought the movie was pretty good. It Entertained me throughout.

Tom Servo
12-16-2003, 08:10 PM
I like many low budget 70's horror films. This one just didn't do anything for me. The movie was just a bit too predictable for me. I still recommend people see it (I'm never one to completly ignore a film) I'm just trying to give people a well adjusted starting point to base their expectations.

Tom Servo
12-16-2003, 08:11 PM
Yeah, the black guy was Sam.

12-21-2003, 03:50 AM
I love this movie. Wonderful atmosphere and the performances are really good (they make you think they are really crazy ;)). I hope a reputable company like Anchor Bay will somehow release this underrated gem.

12-23-2003, 05:05 PM
The nurse (Charlotte?) was hot.

The judge was hilarious for some reason, how he kept on trying to talk in legalese and getting tripped up.

That "fear of little men" speech by the old lady was also quoted in Willie Wonka by a night porter!