Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: S.F. Brownrigg
Cast: Bill McGhee, Jessie Lee Fulton, Robert Dracup
A little bit of exploitation, and a lot of insanity make Don’t Look in the Basement an interesting view. It’s not your typical picture, in the least bit, but it does have an awful lot of charm and a couple memorable characters (here’s looking at you, Sam).
The story drops viewers in the middle of a small asylum of sorts (it could be called a therapy house, I suppose), where the doctor on duty is immediately killed by one of the patients. Moments later a new hire has arrived, and she finds herself trapped in a terrifying existence where a number of erratic, insane patients are free to roam about… even after they’ve killed a man. How can this be? That’s what our new nurse certainly wonders, and it doesn’t take long to answer that question.
About as grindhouse as it gets, I got the chance to see this one after recently purchasing a limited edition release of Don’t Look in the Basement 2 that came with a kick ass autographed poster. Turns out, I’d actually seen the film already, but it’d been quite some time, and I ended up enjoying the flick quite a bit. It’s got heart, and it’s dated visual (this one hasn’t undergone any form of extensive remastering, to say the least) is a thing of beauty. I’d love to see a modern flick look like this. It suits my tastes perfectly.
There are some over the top performances, and there are a couple really solid performances. The picture is loaded with tension, and although it proves rather predictable, it still manages to feel rewarding.
Don’t seek this one out with hopes of a flawless classic. That’s not what you’ll find. But if you get a big kick out of throwback films that would’ve been perfectly at home in a drive in theater, you’re more than likely to really get a kick out of S.F. Brownrigg’s strange creep-out session. You’ve never seen so many personality types in one film, and that’s just the core of an intriguing film that any fan of independent 70s fare.
Want to have a good time with a few beers and a grand throwback? Hit the convenience store and stock up on enough to fill the fridge before tuning into Don’t Look in the Basement, true exploitative indie fun.