Don’t Open the Door! (1975)

Article 3762 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-20-2011
Posting Date: 12-2-2011
Directed by S.F. Brownrigg
Featuring Susan Bracken, Larry O’Dwyer, Gene Ross
Country: USA
What it is: Psycho killer

A woman gets an anonymous phone call telling her that her grandmother is on her deathbed. She returns to her grandmother’s home town (where her own mother was killed years ago) to take charge and make sure her grandmother gets the care she needs. Unfortunately, she finds herself the target of a psycho killer who makes obscene phone calls to her.

I will give S.F. Brownrigg some credit; he does know instill a truly creepy air in the proceedings, sometimes merely by casting people who really look right for their parts. And though you’ll figure out who the killer is fairly quickly (the movie really isn’t trying very hard to hide it), you’ll find all of the people hanging around the grandmother’s house have a pretty sleazy and unsettling feel to them. Still, if he’s good at that creepy low-budget feel, he’s less impressive in the story department, and not only does this movie leave too many unanswered questions in its wake, but after I while I find myself losing my patience with characters who consistently make the stupidest choices imaginable in their positions. Brownrigg is most famous for having helmed DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT; this one ends up not being near as bloody or near as interesting, though it does have its moments. It even has a choice bit of dialogue where the attorney quotes a line from Lewis Carroll. Nevertheless, despite the movie’s flaws, Brownrigg is a much stronger director than fellow Texan Larry Buchanan, with whom he worked before he moved into directing. Incidentally, the title is meaningless.

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