The bizarre 1980 psychological slasher film Don’t Go in the House is a strange yet memorable entry in the early slasher genre that serves as an offbeat cult curio for dedicated horror fans. This obscure exploitation film revolves around the character of Donald Kohler, a deeply disturbed young man who lives an isolated existence in a secluded house with his tyrannical and abusive mother. Due to his mother frequently locking him in a fireproof room as a cruel form of punishment during his childhood, Donald suffers from severe psychological trauma as well as a debilitating case of pyrophobia, which is a fear of fire.
After Donald’s abusive mother passes away, his long-simmering trauma and psychosis begin to manifest themselves in increasingly sinister ways. He starts luring young women to his empty house where he subjects them to a horrific fate, burning them alive in his fireproof room that was the source of so much anguish during his traumatic upbringing. The film is a surprisingly surreal and unsettling psychological examination of Donald’s warped Oedipal psyche and the dynamics of his abusive relationship with his now-deceased mother. This focus on psychology and surreal dreamlike atmosphere clashes with the standard slasher tropes of gory murder set pieces and scenes of graphic violence, as the protagonist is too complex and sympathetic to function effectively as a stereotypical slasher villain.
Unfortunately, the film’s ambitious premise is undermined by its low budget production values, subpar acting, stilted dialogue, and lack of directorial flair. However, the over-the-top and outrageous plot combined with its bizarre scenes of pyromania lend the film a kind of strange charm and cult appeal for fans of weird and outré horror. Director Joseph Ellison never helmed another film project, making this his sole cinematic contribution and adding to the obscurity and mystery surrounding the film.
While flawed, Don’t Go in the House deserves recognition for attempting to bring more psychological substance and complexity to the standard slasher formula. The film is a memorable detour into the strange and surreal for the slasher genre during its early development. It lingers in the memory like fragments from a disturbing nightmare, scarred into the psyche of all who dare watch its unsettling depravities unfold. The chilling electronic score accentuates the film’s unnerving atmosphere and oddball tone.
Overall, Don’t Go in the House holds a place as one of the strangest and most morbid slasher films of the era due its sheer weirdness and unapologetic bad taste. Though it struggles with balancing its psychological ambitions against slasher conventions, the film has built up a small yet devoted cult following who appreciate its off-kilter style and unforgettable surreal oddity. For dedicated slasher completists and fans of bizarre cult horror, Don’t Go in the House remains an obscure curio worth uncovering, shining a light onto the twisted detours and depths of bad taste that the slasher genre tread during its early years.
Where to Watch Don’t Go in the House
If you’re interested in checking out the cult classic horror film “Don’t Go in the House”, here are some ways you can stream it online:
•Roku TV – “Don’t Go in the House” is available to stream for free on The Roku Channel. The Roku Channel offers a selection of movies and TV shows to stream on your Roku device.
•Tubi – Tubi TV has “Don’t Go in the House” available to stream for free. Tubi is an ad-supported streaming service with a variety of horror, thriller and cult classic films.
•Pluto TV – You can catch “Don’t Go in the House” streaming on Pluto TV’s Horror 24/7 channel. Pluto TV is a free streaming service with on-demand movies and live TV channels.
•Freevee – Formerly IMDb TV, Freevee offers “Don’t Go in the House” to stream for free. Freevee is Amazon’s free streaming platform with a selection of movies and TV shows. You don’t need a Prime membership to use Freevee.
Additional options – “Don’t Go in the House” is also available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play and YouTube Movies. Check your on-demand streaming service of choice for availability and pricing.
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