Search - Unhinged on DVD

Actors: Laurel Munson, Janet Penner, Sara Ansley, Virginia Settle, John Morrison
Director: Don Gronquist
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
UR     2002     1hr 19min


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Actors: Laurel Munson, Janet Penner, Sara Ansley, Virginia Settle, John Morrison
Director: Don Gronquist
Creators: Richard Blakeslee, Don Gronquist, Foster Castleman, Phillips Blair, Dale Farr, Dan Biggs, Reagan Ramsey
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Indie DVD
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/15/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 19min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
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Member Movie Reviews

K. K. (GAMER2012)
Reviewed on 5/9/2016...
The 3/5 ratings are bogus. This movie sucked.

Movie Reviews

Entertaining Movie/Insulting Commentary
Bill | 08/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I just finished watching Unhinged and found it to be an entertaining 80 minutes of low budget horror. Though there's less blood than most '80s slasher films, it's well-made and features a good cast. There's a few genuinely creepy breathing-in-the-darkness moments, a somewhat shocking, find-the-bodies scene that utilizes some unique camera work, and an atmospheric quality that actually works. Of course, being a low budget film, there are some problems. Don't expect groundbreaking, high art, and, if you like the older slashers such as The Dorm That Dripped Blood and Sleepaway Camp, you probably won't be disappointed.

However, if you do appreciate low budget horror, you'll probably be annoyed and disgusted by the "comedy narration" special feature. This commentary by "The Detractors" was by the far the most obnoxious, hackneyed, insulting, and unnecessary feature I've ever experienced on any DVD. A group of writers and would-be gadflies who had nothing to do with the film strives to be MST3K, but ends up sounding like an inarticulate group of drunken frat kids with no understanding of the horror genre. It's the sort of reaction you'd get from a 5 year old who has just been exposed to surrealism for the first time. "That is SO stupid! Stupid! I don't get it!" They make fun of one actress's teeth. Nudity gets overreactions of "whoa, yeah!" They attempt to skewer overhead camera angles by making bird sounds. They see the name of the director and joke about how he hasn't achieved a high level of success. Great satire, really great. Way to stick it to Don Gronquist. How brave. Basically, it's really, really embarrassing. The fact that these people, with no knowledge or comprehension of low budget filmmaking, were hired by the distributor to childishly insult everyone involved in the making of the film is offensive to the viewer, as well as the cast and crew. Seriously, when you're the creator of "Too Much Coffee Man," you really shouldn't be throwing big, banal stones around your little glass Portland-area apartment. Why this desperate and mean-spirited attempt at comedy was included in the official release is inexplicable. If there's any poetic justice in this world, everyone involved in this Detractors debacle will have their artistic work showcased 25 years after its creation, only to learn that it is being done so for ironic purposes and that a group of children who know nothing about comics or journalism is waiting in the lobby to point out Brian Vandiver's bad teeth and Shannon Wheeler's receding hairline. Well, that's my rant. It's obviously sad and disproportionate, but if you've experienced this commentary and have any respect for the people who make cheap, independent horror movies, you probably understand."
UNHINGED? No, Mostly Unpalatable.
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 11/05/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"In the wake of the legendary controversy over Tobe Hooper's THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974), John Carpenter and his then-partner Debra Hill created a modest but well-made little independent horror film called HALLOWEEN (1978). Wildly successful--much to the surprise and delight of its creators and distributors--HALLOWEEN was a trailblazer in the horror sub-genre known alternately as "splatter" or "slasher" cinema and thus became the inspiration for countless imitations of varying quality that were released throughout the 1980s (and even beyond).

1982's UNHINGED is one of those HALLOWEEN wannabes. Like Tobe Hooper's film before it, UNHINGED was shot outside of Hollywood (in this case, Oregon) using mostly local (and unknown) actors. And as with both Hooper's and Carpenter's films, it was made on a shoestring budget. Unfortunately, the cast and crew of UNHINGED didn't have the one underlying thing that both of those other films had going for them--talent!

It would be impossible to enumerate all of the copious flaws in this film, so let's just tick off the obvious ones. First, the smoke-thin plot of UNHINGED is highly derivative: Three young girls on their way to a rock festival lose their way and wind up in the clutches of a family of loonies. Genre fans will recognize this basic outline from the plots of countless earlier films, not the least of which are genre greats like Hitchcock's PSYCHO (1960) and Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) and THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977). Secondly, the acting is atrocious. Especially lacking in thespian abilities are the girls portraying the three young concertgoers, who most of the time come off as simply stoic cardboard cutouts that talk. Thirdly, the cinematography is marginal, and the night scenes, especially the outdoor ones, are murky, often making it difficult to see what's taking place. And finally, the film's runtime is often padded out with unnecessarily long fades between scenes and lingering shots of trees and other exteriors. This quickly becomes an irritation to the viewer.

Though they are few and do not outweigh the bad, UNHINGED is not without its good points. These include a couple of delicious nude scenes, one of which has two of the pretty female leads showering together. Also, the atmosphere is perfect for a horror flick. The film is set primarily in an old, isolated Victorian mansion, and most of the time the weather at this locale is either rain or a dreary overcast sky. A delightfully eerie ambiance. The requisite kills offered--death by scythe, an axe through the head, and repeated stabbing with a machete--are also pretty good, although the actual dirty deeds take place just outside the frame and are therefore implied. Lots of realistic-looking blood in the aftermath, though, makes up for the off-screen action.

Much has been said by other critics about the film's "surprise" ending. Though there are a few hints to the ending elsewhere in the film, it is true that the revelation at the film's climax will surprise many viewers. However, the same sort of surprise ending was carried off to better effect in the following year's SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983), and the later film also had much more talent both behind and in front of the camera.

There's also a lot of talk about the fact that UNHINGED is a "banned" film. Yes, it was on the notorious "video nasties" list in the UK. But after screening UNHINGED, modern viewers will scratch their heads and wonder what all the hubbub was about. By today's standards, the gore and violence are minimal, and residents of Great Britain see just as much nudity, if not more, on the telly each day.

The DVD release of UNHINGED from Brentwood is inexpensive enough, but even so, serious film buffs will balk at the quality of the disc. The digital transfer is at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and while this appears to be the original aspect ratio of the film, the fuzzy image quality and occasional appearances of translucent rainbow swirls makes one wonder if the disc was mastered from a VHS tape. And the extras are sparse. The only bonus feature worth viewing is a segment from an Oregon-based TV talk show in which the film's director, Don Gronquist, and actress J.E. Penner are interviewed. If there are any doubts about the filmmakers' lack of talent and showmanship, this interview will clear things up. The only other extra, a comedic commentary, is a waste of precious time.

In short, UNHINGED is truly a minor footnote in the history of horror films. Ardent fans of the slasher sub-genre might want to view it once for "academic" purposes, but the average viewer will want to avoid this flick like they would the Plague."
I want those 80 minutes of my life back!
R. Marshall | Sacramento, CA USA | 02/24/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I have seen hundreds of horror films in my time, and I would put this one in the top five worst I've ever seen. It's not even that charming so-bad-it's-good kind of flick. It's just plain bad. I found myself checking my watch throughout the movie and hoping that something--anything--would happen on screen. There are three bloody murders, but the rest of the movie is terribly slow and dull. The lighting is too dark, the editing looks like it was done by high school students, and the acting could have been better performed by robots. If you are forced by gunpoint to watch this movie, check out the special features. They contain an interview with the director and co-writer. Try to make some sense out of what he's talking about--or even if he's capable of speech--and you'll see why this movie is such a disaster.