Saturday, December 22, 2012

Don't Answer The Phone!

 Don't Answer The Phone. Directed By Robert Hammer. (1980)
  I really like a production company like Crown International that isn't afraid to have a logo that looks like a hood ornament! this my favorite of the all the trash they've put out over the years (many of their catalog is available on instant and some on IFC). They churned out drive in garbage like The Hearse, The Van, lots of late night Flix channel fare that's now on instant c/o of Netflix.
      This is actually where I first saw Don't Answer The Phone! Nicholas Worth has never been as creepy, he plays Kirk Smith a psychotic turtleneck sporting Nam Vet who strangles women on Hollywood Blvd. He breaks into their houses and chokes them then he calls up his radio therapist. Sometimes he uses a ridiculous racist mexican voice and gets a straight response from the doctor (so then what's wrong with her)? She slowly figures out something is up with Ramon (Smith's alter ego for radio purposes)! The film starts off with Kirk sweatily working out with his Jesus statue in the background and sometimes he laughs and cries at the same time, sounding exactly like Mutley from the Wacky Racers! He blames his father and warns a girl he's about to kill that she shouldn't hitch hike!
    He has one of the best roles in this and as the guinea pig in Swamp Thing that first tries the serum. The score in Don't Answer is incredible and sounds like a crappy Nintendo game on acid. 

     James Westmoreland from The Undertaker & His Pals plays a cardboard cut-out cop and almost all the other characters  here are one dimensional. There's some extra weirdness going on in the police station too (I think this movie is trying to say these people are inept and won't possibly catch the strangler).
     Kurt Smith blissfully strangles women with pantyhose over his face, breaks into their houses and pours hot wax on some of them. The rapes are very uncomfortable and extra sleazy, its the kind of movie you want to watch alone so people don't judge you.
     It's all very misogynistic considering every female character is portrayed as psychologically weak or stupid easy prey for a killer. What else would you expect from an exploitation slasher, this movie delivers! Nicholas Worth gives this role so much depth and in the interview link mentions that he improvised most of his lines. If he were missing there would be nothing to watch, other then dull half naked chuckleheads. This and Don't Go In The House are the best "Don't" films in my opinion.  
There's a hilarious scene with Chuck Mitchell (Porkys and Better Off Dead) as a porn collector eager to buy the violent smut that Smith is peddling. The film manages to get under your skin without actually showing anything on the level of any Italian Gore flick. It's definitely not for everyone, Worth sadly died in 2007, he played a lot of bit parts as various henchmen and seems really likeable. The director Robert Hammer only has a few credits and seems to me just another director trying to cash in on the 80's slasher craze.

No Film Link, but you cant rent it on disc from Netflix. 

Interview With Nicholas Worth

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