Saturday, August 6, 2011
Don't Answer the Phone! (1980)
As the 1980's opened up, so did the number of horror movies increase. One common theme was the idea of the "home invader"- someone entering your home and doing nasty things to you.
Dr. Lindsay Gale has been receiving phone calls to her radio show from a person calling himself "Ramone", claiming to suffer from headaches, and having found the cure. During one such call, "Ramone" treates Dr. Gayle to the sounds of his strangling a prostitute. Soon, Dr. Gale and the two detectives assigned to investigate a string of stranglings are tracking the killer down, as he gets closer to his final victim... Dr. Gale...
"Don't Answer the Phone!" is a little misleading in its title- along with the tagline, "He'll Know You're Alone!" since the killer never once calls his victims- other than contacting Dr. Gale a couple of times. I was a little disappointed and felt mislead myself. I think the American title, "The Hollywood Strangler" would've been more appropriate- though dull.
Nicholas Worth put in a great performance as the killer. Good enough to win the Medalla Sitges en Plata de Ley. His character was interesting, though a little over the top in some scenes. Sgt. Hatcher- played by Ben Frank was enjoyable as well, and delivered his sarcastic and humourous lines wonderfully. Even though I felt Lt. Chris McCabe (portrayed by James Westmoreland) was a bit of a dick, I still liked him. Frank and Westmoreland together were a good team. The weakest role, I felt went to Flo Lawrence, who played Dr. Lindsay Gale. She really didn't seem to serve a real purpose in the movie other to be the eventual target of the killer. I felt the character deserved more development.
There is some excellent camera work in this film- the still shot at the top of this article being from one of the best scenes in the movie. The use of reflections, and the light and shadows was very artistic and did a great job of creating a tense mood. There are a few scenes that are very well done like that one. They are, however balanced out with rather mundane exterior scenes that are pretty basic and straight forward shots.
Since the killer is killing women, you can expect to see some T&A in "Don't Answer the Phone!".. and not necessarily done in a subtle fashion, either.
Overall, because of the good camera work during some scenes, the performances given, and the titillation factor, "Don't Answer the Phone!", though misleading in its title, is still worth a viewing- and sits in "The Bad".