Sunday, March 22, 2015

Don't Go in the House - Subkultur Entertainment Blu-ray review

Don't Go in the House, a.k.a. The Burning, a.k.a. Das Haus der lebenden Leichen
USA, 1979
Directed by Joseph Ellison
Written by Joseph Ellison, Joe Masefield
Cast: Dan Grimaldi, Charles Bonet, Bill Ricci, Robert Osth, Ruth Dardick

Label - Subkultur Entertainment
Release Date - March 6, 2015
Running Time - 1.22.48
Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1
Video - 1080p, AVC
Audio - English, German DTS-HD MA 1.0 Mono
Subtitles - English, German
Region Code - B

The Movie

When Donny was a child his dominating mother would often abuse and torture him by burning his arms by the fire of the stove. Years passed and Donny is a young man now and works at the local waste incineration plant. One day coming home after work, Donny finds his mother had died on her chair. Donny realizes he's free to do whatever he wants now without worrying his mother wouldn't allow it. He doesn't bury her but leaves her to rot sitting on the chair instead. But soon he starts hearing his mother’s voice, telling him he is bad. He starts recollecting his childhood, especially how his mother would torture him and having nightmares. Donny builds a room with steel walls in the house, buys a fireproof suit and a flamethrower and invites young women to his place to roast them alive.

This underrated horror movie was made in 1979 by Joseph Ellison who has made only 2 movies, Don't Go in the House (1979) and Joey (1986). From the very beginning it's clear that Joseph Ellison was heavily influenced by Psycho (1960) and Deranged (1974). It's not as graphic as the similarly themed Maniac (1980) but it's so grim and bleak and sometimes even surreal, once you watch Don't Go in the House you won't forget it for a long time.  

Don't Go in the House was the debut role of Dan Grimaldi who plays Donny Kohler. The name Kohler means charcoal burner translated from German. Dan Grimaldi does a fine job portraying the wacko although he overacts sometimes. Later Dan Grimaldi would appear in episodes of The Sopranos. Don't Go in the House was banned in the UK and was one of the titles included in the infamous Video Nasty list. As I mentioned it's not as graphic and gory as the dozens of slasher flicks being produced at the time e.g. Maniac (1980), My Bloody Valentine (1981), The Burning (1981), The Prowler (1981) etc. Instead it's nightmarish, misogynist and a very grim study of deadly obsession. The dark and moody soundtrack adds more bleakness to the movie. And William Lustig "borrowed" the ending of Don't Go in the House for his gory shocker Maniac.


Don't Go in the House arrives on a 50GB dual layer Blu-ray disc from Subkultur Entertainment. Previously available on DVD from such labels as Media Blasters and Arrow Video, Don't Go in the House never looked so good until now. Encoded in 1080p AVC, the 1.85:1 framed picture looks wonderful. The grain looks very organic and filmic, no excessive DNR and edge enhancement, no problems with compression. Colors look natural and we don't have contrast boost. No problems with black levels. There are white specs and vertical scratches but it's never distracting and keeps the grindhouse feel of the movie. 


Subkultur Entertainment offers us two audio options. English and German, both in very robust sounding DTS-HD MA 1.0 Mono. I didn't notice any problems with the audio options. Optional English and German subtitles are included too. No problems with the subtitles either.


Subkultur Entertainment provided the following extras for this release:

Audio commentary with Dan Grimaldi. A very informative and funny audio commentary from the star of the film. We get a lot of stories about the making Don't Go in the House and anecdotes. This audio commentary can be found on the Media Blasters DVD release too.

Interview with Dan Grimaldi - This interview is again ported over from the Media Blasters DVD. It runs for 11:30 min. Grimaldi talks about how he got his first role, how he was frightened when he watched horror movies when he was a child etc.

Interview with Joseph Ellison - In this 13 minutes long interview made by Subkultur Entertainment, the director of the movie Joseph Ellison talks about his career, how he decided to become a filmmaker, he talks about his debut film Don't Go in the House, about Donny Kohler etc.

Open Matte version of the movie. Subkultur provided the open matte version of the movie as an extra in 1080p.

Alternative title sequences

Picture gallery

German trailer

US trailer

UK teaser

Grindhouse trailers of different movies

Final Thoughts

Don't Go in the House is not your typical slasher from the early 80's. It's a bleak and gruesome psychological horror movie. Don't Go in the House gets a first rate treatment from Subkultur Entertainment. This is easily the definitive home video release of the movie. Highly recommended!

Please support Subkultur by purchasing Don't Go in the House.

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