Saturday, June 9, 2012

Don't Answer the Phone (1980)

When I was younger, there was no Netflix, and of course, no Netflix instant.  In fact, there were still many neighborhood video stores, which we frequented when we couldn't get a ride to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.  I loved the smaller video stores, but the drawback was that they had a smaller selection than the big box stores, and we would often burn through all the horror movies the store had, or at least the ones we were interested in watching.  Once we got through all the Freddy's, Jasons, and Chuckys, we moved onto more obscure films.  We often watched these in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 manner, constantly criticizing and laughing over the ridiculous parts.  If I'm remembering correctly, Don't Answer the Phone had a particularly strange scene of "coining" and I guess I'll figure out if I'm right by the end of the movie. 

Don't Answer the Phone is about a deranged photographer and Vietnam vet named Kirk Smith (Nicholas Worth).  He's not an attractive man, being stocky balding, and generally creepy.  He breathes very heavily and does this weird laugh while he's assaulting his victims.  Who are his victims?  Women who are home alone, just randomly lolling about in lingerie.  As a woman, I will squash men's fantasies right now and tell you this never happens.  If I'm home in the evening, you're more likely to spot me in an old race shirt (the one I'm wearing now says 2010) and Old Navy PJ pants.  I might upgrade to my Evil Dead shirt if I'm feeling frisky. 

Dr. Lindsay Gale (Flo Lawrence) is a psychologist who listens to people's problems on the radio, as well as in person at a free clinic.  Kirk becomes interested in her, and calls into her show using fake voices.  He escalates their "relationship" by staging a call while he's with a prostitute.  The cops on the case are the stereotypical bumbling officers that were common in 80s slashers.  They muse a lot over the cases, and even hire a random psychic, who actually tells them all the information they need, but they don't believe him. 

There are random scenes involving Kirk ranting in weird monologues, seemingly talking to his dead abusive father.  This is strangely reminiscent of Son of Sam.  Will this strangling of women appease his deceased parent?  He also sells his weird post-rape bondage photos to a sleazy porn shop.  Professional!

The music in this movie is just pure 80s cheese.  Nonstop synthesizers and reminiscent of porno music.  Bawm chicka bawm bawm.  The acting is chock full of the gonzo performances that personified 80s horror, and is why we all love it so much.  Everything comes back in style, as they say, and will deliberate and corny overacting be the new trend in horror?  We can only hope so ;)

As for the coining?  The coin was present in some of the scenes, but I remember it being more graphic, like rape with the actual coin.  The internet is telling me that this DVD could have been heavily edited from the original, so maybe I saw something back then that is no longer in this version. What was this guy's deal with candles though?  Weirdo. 

"Shut up or I'll cut your tit off!"