Friday, September 11, 2015

Don't Answer the Phone - 1980

This is another movie where I saw the trailer online and it stuck out.  The trailer played like one of those classic horror one's from the 70's, extremely stylized, it said the name of the movie like 3 times, it had the over the top narration and nudity in the trailer (always a plus).  I was pretty excited for this movie, although didn't want to get my hopes up too high since Savage Weekend ended up being a big disappointment.

This is a ripoff / rethinking of the classic film When a Stranger Calls.  I thought it was interesting as I was watching that this is the first time where I saw a movie, with a plot that revolved around a certain technology (the phones) yet that technology wasn't new.  It's like, the internet and computers were coming out in the 80's and 90's so they made internet / computer movies.  The atom bomb was around in the 50's so they made atom bomb movies.  The phone....had been around since the early 1900's and yet it didn't get a horror movie until 1979?!  What the hell?  Well, actually, Black Christmas in 1974 had the main villain make phone calls as well, but you'd think it would've been featured before then.

The idea behind this movie is basically, take When a Stranger Calls, and give it a higher body count and more horror in place of the slow build up suspense of Stranger.  Also, fill the movie with rampant nudity.  In the first scene we see creepy dude Kirk Smith in a girls house as she comes home from work.  The phone calls, and it's...not him.  She talks and hangs up, then he kills her by choking her.  This is like the third one of these victims to happen recently, the police tell us, and the third to then be raped and dumped somewhere.  Could it all be one man?  Yes, it is.

Whatever you do....don't answer the phone.  Although, since only like 2 people who are killed in the movie did answer the phone, doesn't really matter if you do or not.  More like Don't Be a Girl.  Don't Be a Girl and Be Around This Guy.  Something like that.  Cause the phone....well, like I said he didn't even call that first girl. We do see him with a phone at one point.  And he calls a radio station.  But all the other victims are just random chicks that he runs into, or happens upon and decides to kill.

The killer, Kirk, is calling into a radio show complaining of headaches.  We understand, eventually, that he might have brain damage that's causing him to erupt into violence, but at first no one knows that it's him calling the station.  We follow police detective McCable as he scrambles to uncover what's going on, he checks in on prostitutes, tries to find missing girls, tries to connect the cases.  Also, there's Sargent Hatcher who is kinda running his own other investigation.  There's also suicidal Lisa, there's like 4 kills in the movie, and a whole lotta nudity.  All these different stories are kept in check though, and don't get confusing.  It does provide a nice pace, which was great.  About 50 minutes of this movie just flew right by while I was watching it.

The kills in this movie and the acting in some minor roles are not very good, which was annoying.  There is a particular girl who the killer picks up for a photo shoot, he strangles her and she dies in like five seconds.  Then as he backs away from her you can see her obviously breathing still.  The madman himself is actually portrayed decently, he walks a thin line between cool and overacting, and sometimes it definitely is overacting.  But usually he fits the rest of the tone of the movie, he's good enough to be entertaining.  He has a lot of screen time, so they're pretty lucky they got a good actor.

This movie was not that bad!  I'd consider it for a midnight movie, a bad movie night, a slasher marathon, etc.  It felt 70's enough to still have that "funky" feel to it, which is nice too.  In the end, I'm happy to have a middle road 3 star movie pop up again.

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