VHS Thursday: Infamous “Don’t” Titles


The killing of children on screen is consistently a bitter pill to swallow. Viewers are often disgusted and exasperated. Not to mention the Catholic sanctimoniousness and misogyny. Because of these dark and litigious themes, Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling was blacklisted and suffered a limited release across Europe and it wouldn’t become available in the United States until 1999.

This flirtatious giallo thriller may disenchant a few who acknowledge Fulci as the ‘Godfather of Gore.’ Some consider this ugly duckling to be some of his finest work along with the equally seductive Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. I personally enjoy all of his work and do not think of him as a ‘talentless hack’ but a visionary and creative filmmaker who only ameliorated as the years went by. Fulci even calls this film his personal favorite. However, the special effects in this piece were seriously lacking. The bodies looked like dummies, especially the body used towards the end where the head horrifically hits the cliff and why were there sparks coming out during the impact?

What separates this giallo from the rest of the bunch is the use of voodoo dolls, a witch, and a sadistic priest. Not to mention, a nymphomaniac woman who is always nude and seems to have a preference for young boys. Sicko.

The story centers around a small Italian town where a series of child murders are taking place. A reporter and pedophiliac-like young woman come together to find their killer(s).

Florinda Bolkan reunites with Fulci after working with him in Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. She plays a grieving mother who is one of Ducklings lead suspects. As beautiful as Bolkan is, it’s not enough to hide the fact that some serious overacting was taking place on her part. For me, it was like nails on a chalk board. German actress Barbara Bouchet did a fine job as a pervert. She’s absolutely stunning and can be seen in films like Casino Royale, Black Belly of the Tarantula, and Gangs of New York. As for the priest, Marc Porel, I enjoyed his performance. When he appeared on screen, a feeling of dread washed over me.

Overall, it’s not the best of the giallo bunch but it certainly isn’t the worst and it stands on its own with its subject matter. If you’re a fan of giallo and Lucio Fulci, you might find yourself surprised.

There are only five things in this world that scare me; clowns, dolls, spiders, snakes, and DWARFS! Don’t Look Now had me scarred for years and it isn’t even that scary. I do not want to spoil the ending like I do with most of my reviews because this is an ending you will NEVER see coming. It’s an ending that will stick in your head forever and I will leave it at that.

John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) lose their daughter after a drowning. We do not know how much time has passed when John and Laura take on Venice where John is called to rebuild a Cathedral. During their time in Venice  they encounter two freaky deaky sisters that have a foreboding connected to their loss. Laura is happy to hear that their daughter is happy in the afterlife whereas John is none to happy to hear about how his life is in danger unless they leave Venice. A serial killer is running around and John seems to be chasing after a figure in the same red cloak his daughter wore. So there you have it. A serial killer, a psychic, and a possible ghost.

It’s a little slow in places. You may find yourself skipping through if you have already seen it. The acting performances are phenomenal. The score provided by the talented Pino Donaggio helps to set the chilling atmosphere. If you enjoyed Pino’s immaculate score in De Palma’s Carrie then you will certainly enjoy his work in Don’t Look Now. Director Nicholas Roeg is a brilliant cinematographer. Unfortunately, I have not seen the majority of his work. I did enjoy The Witches starring Angelica Huston. Absolutely brilliant film and one of my favorites.

As slow-paced as the film can be, it’s notably the best of the Don’t films on this list.

By the way, I do not own this copy of the film as pictured above. I own the basic US version. I just thought this looked cooler and wanted to share.


Don’t Go in the House is known as one of the cruelest and most misogynistic films on the Video Nasty list. Not only were the victims killed in the most brutal fashion, child abuse is an essential theme for the film.

Donny’s sadistic mother who severely abused him as a child is finally dead. Donny seems to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. The voices in his head tell him to chain innocent young women in a steel room and torch them with a flamethrower. In the end, his mother and victims begin to close in on Donny for his horrific crimes. Sounds a little like Psycho and Maniac doesn’t it? I let it slide because his weapon of choice is a flamethrower. Maniac was also released after so technically, it isn’t plagiarism. With all the flashbacks, the film attempts to make you sympathize with Donny’s character but inevitably fails.

As horrific as the kills in this film sound, the majority of them occur off screen and there’s not much gore altogether. The crispy bodies and ghost of Donny’s mother are effective in the end though. You will not be entirely disappointed.

What separates Donny (Dan Grimaldi) from Anthony Perkins and Joe Spinell is that he is easily forgettable. Who actually talks about the horrific Grimaldi? It’s rare that I hear his name whereas Perkins and Spinell are mentioned almost every instance the issue of notorious serial killers in film is brought up.


Easily one of the worst films of all time. The only redeeming quality about this film is its cover and the fact that it can be used as a hysterical drinking game for adult get-togethers.

Four young douche bags (it’s always four) venture out into the mountains where a madman is on the loose. It’s pretty basic. *yawn*

The entire film is badly dubbed. The cinematography and film quality is abysmal. The acting is atrocious. The special effects are amateur and the dialogue is embarrassing. Don’t even get me started on the music.

Don’t see this movie!


What an amazing title. Not only should you stay out of the park, don’t even go near it.

Characters hilariously named Gar and Tar are cursed to eternal life as cannibals by their tribe leader. 12, 000 years later, that’s a really long time to be eating people, they discover they can lift the curse by sacrificing a virgin. So Gar marries Linnea Quigley and fathers a child with her with the intentions of sacrificing said child.

Why not just find a virgin instead of taking the time to make one? That’s silly nonsense. This plot is all over the place. Gar and Tar are estranged after jealousy ensues and Gar’s daughter has run away with a group of rebels. The kids take shelter in a cabin in the park that’s being watched over Tar. I’m sure you can guess how this ends. Did I mention that Gar and Tar can shoot frickin’ laser beams out of their eyes?

It’s poorly edited. The musical score is just lousy. The effects are tacky at best. The film is just bad but at least this celluloid cheese manages to keep you entertained. Linnea Quigley fans will not be disappointed as she takes her clothes off yet again.


Also known as The Forgotten, Don’t Look in the Basement found itself on the Video Nasty list and was ultimately cut by the BBFC due to a close up shot of an axe to a victim’s body. It’s one of the more boring Grindhouse films. It took me a few tries to get through because I kept falling asleep.

Don’t Look in the Basement takes place at a mental institution where the head doctor tries experiments on the patients where they are able to roam free. In return, he’s axed and replaced. A new nurse comes on board as the bodies begin to pile up. Charlotte, the new nurse, soon discovers there’s something going on with the basement. The patients seem to be terrified by it. There are a few surprising twists that save the film from being a complete waste of time.

Gore fans will be disappointed as there is hardly any and the quality of this film is quite poor. It’s a bizarre little flick but doesn’t quite do the job for me. The script writing is horribly crafted together by Tim Pope who is also responsible for that pile of shite The Crow: City of Angels.


When I was warned about Don’t Answer the Phone, I was told that this film was mean-spirited and it would shock me to the core. I don’t think the subject matter was near as shocking as the amateur acting and poor script writing.

A former Vet is now a photographer and madman who picks up women on the streets of Los Angeles and strangles them with panty hose. His victims turns out to be the patients of a doctor on a popular radio show. As he is strangling these young ladies, he does it over the phone for her show to listen to.. The killer spends a lot of time pumping iron. At least he has genuine normal hobbies when he’s not strangling women with stockings.

Generally I like this idea. It’s original. It’s just too bad the performances weren’t enough to hold it all together. The two cops out to catch the killer deserve a Razzie for their performances. They’re without a doubt the worst thing about this film.