From low-budget cult-film director S.F. Brownrigg ("Don't Open the Door!," "Poor White Trash 2" and "Keep My Grave Open"), this gory little chiller takes place in an experimental hospital for the criminally insane where... more » the creative thinking director allows several inmates to act out their psychotic delusions (you know, like - necrophilia, paranoia and popsicles). Things really start to get nuts when a new staffer arrives... starting with the bloody axe-murder of the doctor himself, and leading to a total takeover of this hallowed institution by its most crazy and violent inhabitants. Bonus Features: Previews| Actor Bios| Scene Selection. Specs: DVD5; Dolby Digital Mono; 90 minutes; Color; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - R; Year - 1972; SRP - $9.99.« less
"At long last, Brownrigg's masterstroke 'Don't Look in the Basement' is available. This is the one set in the mental hospital, where all the inmates go (even more) nuts, and start killing everything that moves.This is a nice uncut transfer, with plenty of detail, and few weak spots (considering the old 1973 prints available previously). The whole package looks fantastic due to some arresting cover art, and the disc has a very nice interactive menu screen, through which you can access the usual stuff. No trailer is included, but we get to chance to savour some other trailers for horror films forthcoming from VCI. See their website for more info on these.So, at the end of the day, should you buy this? Well, if you're a fan of this film, or indeed any stupid B-movie, then this is definitely for you. It's good to see that VCI have released the uncut version. As I said, it's a crisp, clean print, nice sound and as much gore as you would expect."
Don't Look for the Widescreen!
One of many | 10/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gotta warn you of one thing - it says above that this movie is in the widescreen format... nah-ah, it's full screen, there's no letterbox. That was kind of a downer because I'm a big fan of the director and have seen this movie many times and was looking forward to seeing what I was missing on the sides. But, aside from that, this is great - the transfer's good, the gore is (apparently) intact (I read an interview with Brownrigg once where he said they used real animal intestines in one scene and when they tore them open they'd started rotting in the heat and all the actors were about to throw up, and you only see a _little_ hint of some innards toward the end, but those may have never made it into an official print, anyway). This movie is incredibly cheap, often really funny (ol' Mrs. Callingham, gotta love her! :) ), but still has this unrelenting aura of insanity. It's goofy... but it breathes down your neck. And it's amazing that a horror movie works so well when the colors are some of the brightest you're ever going to see in a movie. My friends and I can practically quote this one word for word... even if it's not letterboxed, I'm glad that someone had the good taste to release this excellent obscurity on DVD! Completely weird and unique cheapie... definitely worth checking out if you're into the strange stuff. :)"
A Rare Piece For The Drive-In B-Movie
One of many | somewhere in the blur | 07/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"(First of all, in case you're wondering, the transfer of this particular DVD addition is fine. There are no special features, but the cheap price does not mean cheap quality.)
Upon reading positive reviews, I expected Don't Look In The Basment to be a gory shocker that made it all worth while with a fantastic ending. Well, the gore was not over-the-top -- it was quite mild compared to the many horror films I've seen. And the ending -- although satisfying -- was not a huge surprise or twist. I enjoyed this film for a different reason. Here is my opinion of 1973's Don't Look In The Basement...
The film opens with a first look at the inmates of the small asylum (it appears to be more of a home for the mentally ill than an actual hopsital or "asylum", but you get the idea). Sgt. Jaffe -- a military verteran who still believes he is battling the enemy one day at a time -- is sharing his observations of the trees outside his bedroom window with Sam -- a man who has the mentality of an eight-year-old from the result of a lobotomy (lobotomies usually leave the patient much more "mindless" and withdrawn from their surroundings, but hell, let's humor the writers). These are just two of the patients you will meet throughout the movie. The others are Allyson, a woman who is desparate for love although she fails to understand how recurring sexual advances will not find her the man of her dreams; Danny, a red-headed man who is the epitome of an annoying, maniacally giggling child; Oliver, who still believes he holds his position in the courts as a judge; Jennifer, a withdrawn and quiet girl who doesn't seem to have a very strong sense of connection with the external world; Mrs. Callingham, an elderly woman who becomes quite creepy with her obsession with nonexistant places and people; and Harriet, a woman who insists her baby doll is her real child. Among other important characters are Dr. Stephens, Nurse Beale, and Dr. Masters. Whew. Okay, ready for the plot?
Dr. Stephens has let the patients of his asylum do as they please. Their main therapy is acting our their delusions. This, as obviously dangerous as it is, leads to the accidental death of Stephens. Then, shortly after the tragedy, comes the young (and equally sexy) Nurse Beale. Dr. Masters -- the female doctor who now in charge -- doesn't want her to become involved with her institution. Still, she allows Beale to join the staff of the sanatarium after a short debate. The new nurse soon learns the oddities of the inhabitants known as "the family" (the patients). In the long wait for action, the viewer is submitted to scene after scene of seemingly insignificant purposes. While most would say this majority of the movie would be boring and pointless, I rather enjoyed it (not all of the scenes assist the impact of the ending, but they are certainly interesting to see). Throughout the film a secret unfolds surrounding the sanatarium. Finally, as with most films like this, a few people mysteriously die. Shortly after, Mrs. Beale gets caught up in the horrors. And once the action begins, it doesn't slow down. Before long, Beale discovers the missing piece to the puzzle of Dr. Stephens and his asylum. The danger rises and rises until we are treated to the goriest part of the film: it's climax.
Other reviews made this sound like a film with a clever and surprising ending. Nope. I found the ending quite predictable before the film was even half through. Don't Look In The Basement did not impress me with a shocking conclusion. It impressed me with an element that few B-movies have: true impact on the viewer. By the end, I was drawn into the world of the asylum and felt a sense of isolation and tragedy. It's like the end of the original Night Of The Living Dead: it wasn't that it was so shocking, it was that it gave the viewer a truly nihilistic feeling. You are not left with images of the film in your head, but rather the idea of it's entirety. It has the kind of empty feeling you got from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. For a drive-in B-movie, Don't Look In The Basement delivers quite a surprise. Just not in the plot, but in the atmosphere it oozes with. This is quite a treat for such a low-end production. I recommend you at least rent it."
An Interesting B-Movie!
M. Waters | Maryland | 04/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Don't Look In the Basement!" is one of the funny horror movies that you don't mind watching every once in a while. I remember watching this film for the first time when I was in college and my friends and I decided to go to the video store because we were bored. We happened across this film, rented it, and had a very good time watching it.The film takes place in a mental institution where each patient has his or her own special story. When the director of the institution is killed, his "assistant" must take over. A new nurse is hired and you watch as she has to (quickly) become acclimated to the disturbing and often scary patients.There is a twist at the end, even though the movie hints at this throughout most of the film, it will leave you thinking twice about trusting people at an instituation such as the one in the film.I would suggest this film to someone who is the mood for a good laugh and fun scare!"
Why isn't this a camp classic?
Scott Davies | Ohio | 05/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has what it takes to be a camp classic. Silly over-acting, low budget, made in the 70's, and the most important... a really wonderfully nasty leading lady, Dr. Masters! You already know the story, house for the loonies gets loonier as the movie goes on. Yes, but some of the characters are just fantasically crazy. The lady whose very protective of her baby(doll), the crazy old lady that thinks flowers are her children (not too mention all her wonderfully humerous warnings to nurse Charlotte to "get out".), and of course Allyson, the sex starved weirdo that screams whenever given a chance. The highlight is the amazing Dr. Geraldine Masters. This woman is so great! She is a cross between Joan Crawford in "Trog" and Mrs. Voorhees in the 1st "Friday the 13th" film. She's a very direct woman indeed. Mean, nasty, will NOT be crossed. She goes on these little verbal tirades that leaves the viewer gasping for air, since she seems to ramble endlessly without taking a breath. I grew up watching this film on late night television in the late 70's/early 80's. As a child I was terribly affected by the scene in which Charlotte walks in on Allyson laying in bed with the dead telephone man, whom she refers to as her husband in this scene. It's still a bit disturbing. The worst of the actors is Charlotte, the nurse that arrives early in the film. She cannot deliver even the simplist line without it sounding hokey. The movie has a wonderful charm that keeps me coming back to it a few times a year, The DVD was a disappointment. Poor picture quality. Lots of scratches and spots, also has a blueish tone in the dark scenes. Still, better than VHS. Don't watch this for horror value, though it does have a little. Watch it if you like a campy, low budget period piece. It's SO 70's, and wonderfully so."