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Don’t Look In The Basement

Don’t Look In The Basement (1973)
aka The Forgotten
To avoid fainting, repeat: “It’s only a movie…”
S.F. Brownrigg

Thomas Pope uncredited
Tim Pope

S.F. Brownrigg producer
Walter L. Krusz executive producer

Bill McGhee – Sam (as William Bill McGhee)
Jessie Lee Fulton – Jane St. Claire
Robert Dracup – Ray Daniels
Harryette Warren – Jennifer D.
Michael Harvey – Dr. Stephens
Jessie Kirby – Danny
Hugh Feagin – Sergeant Jaffee
Betty Chandler – Allyson King
Camilla Carr – Harriet
Gene Ross – Judge Oliver W. Cameron
Annabelle Weenick – Dr. Geraldine S. Masters (as Anne MacAdams)
Rosie Holotik – Nurse Charlotte Beale
Rhea MacAdams – Mrs. Callingham
Review by Sven Soetemans

The jolliest bunch of lunatics this side of the nuthouse!,
I personally have a soft spot for horror films that are set in hospitals and asylums so I had a good feeling about watching this “Don’t Look in the Basement”, even though its reputation is doubtful. Well, turned out I was right! This is great, trashy entertainment with a couple of efficient shocks and delightfully absurd characters.

You have to, of course, look beyond the poor productions values and the completely illogical plot but, if you manage to do that (and if you’re a fan of this type of horror, that’s an essential quality), you’ll be rewarded with an outrageous “video-nasty” in which blood and insanity form the main elements. The young and cute nurse Charlotte arrives at a remote sanitarium where she’s supposed to start her new job. She finds out that the Doctor who hired her was killed by a patient and the replacement doctor-in-charge Masters seems reluctant to accept the new arrival.

The life inside the sanitarium is rather peculiar, with the patients running around free and every door is kept unlocked. After a whole series of bizarre events, Charlotte discovers the horrific secrets that the institution hides…. The opening 10 minutes (pre-credits) are great and so is the completely deranged climax. Everything in between is pretty much without surprise or tension but you patiently wait because you just feel that the finale will be wild fun.

The asylum’s patients are textbook lunatics, but I love them nevertheless. Some of my favorites include the former judge (who still talks exclusively in legal terms), the suspicious army-Sargeant and the mad-raving old lady.

“Don’t Look in the Basement” is great low-brained fun, especially recommended to fans of 70’s trash-cinema, sick puppies and other types of scum. The lunatics have taken over the asylum, yeah!!

Review by Wayne Malin

Don’t Look in the Basement – 1973

To avoid fainting keep repeating….it’s only a movie…it’s only a movie….it’s only a movie…

That was the tag line used to sell this movie back in 1973. It played at mostly drive-ins along with “Last House on the Left” and “The House That Vanished”. This triple feature was so incredibly popular it kept playing at drive-ins into the mid 80s! Never saw “House That Vanished” but “Last House…” was sadistic trash. This is boring trash!

A “horror” film about inmates at a sanitarium who are getting a little out of control. Young, beautiful nurse Charlotte Beale (Rosie Holotik) comes to work there. She finds a new administrator under control–Dr. Masters (Annabelle Weenick). The former one had been killed by one of his patients. But things are fine now…or are they?

There is a plot twist in this which you’ll probably see coming from a mile away–but I still won’t reveal it.

This has a nice murder at the beginning and turns into an all out bloodbath at the end—but everything in the middle is dull! It just has a bunch of horrible bad actors portraying mental patients–and very badly too. Padded endlessly with repititous scenes, pointless dialogues, horribly unfunny “humor,” and some really gratuitous nudity. Basically a 30 minute feature dragged out to 90 minutes.

There is some good acting by Holotik and Weenick and also Betty Chandler as Allyson–but that’s about it. ALMOST worth seeing for the incredible gore at the end…ALMOST.

For drive-in cultists only. Otherwise avoid.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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