Sunday, February 1, 2015

Don’t Look in the Basement (1973)

Gruesome but too amateurish to generate real scares, the bloody horror flick Don’t Look in the Basement—also known as The Forgotten—takes place in a mental institution where patients are encouraged to act out their delusions as a means of therapy. Whatever psychological and visual possibilities that concept promises, however, remain unrealized throughout the 90 minutes of coproducer/director S.F. Brownrigg’s tedious movie. Presenting a basically coherent but completely forgettable story, the movie tracks the deadly goings-on at the hospital following the murder of the head doctor by a crazed patient. The story is ostensibly shown through the eyes of an attractive new nurse, Charlotte (Rosie Holotik), whom the late doctor hired before his demise. Charlotte turns up at the institution just after the murder and offers her services to the new boss, Dr. Masters (Anne MacAdams). What follows is a dull intrigue during which Charlotte must determine whether Masters is who she claims to be, and whether the psycho who killed the head doctor—a patient named Judge (Gene Ross)—is a monster or a victim. There’s also some weird business about a patient named Harriet (Camilla Car), who carries around a plastic doll that she believes is a living baby. The storyline involves a nymphomiac, as well. Although it’s possible to follow the narrative of Don’t Look in the Basement while the thing is unspooling, massive logic problems are immediately apparent—such as the little matter of authorities failing to become involved after an axe murder occurs in broad daylight. Similarly, characterizations in the movie are pathetic, with most of the patients acting chipper despite the presence of a killer in their midst. By the time the picture grinds into the familiar Bedlam/Freaks finale of patients turning on their tormentor, it’s difficult to care what happens. Even for fans of low-budget gore, this picture contains very little of interest, so it’s befuddling that Tony Brownwrigg, son of the original film’s director, bothered to make Id: Don’t Look in the Basement 2, which is set for a 2015 release.

Don’t Look in the Basement: LAME

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