Video Nasties - The "Don't" Movies

Doing what they say don't do.
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Don't do it!

During The Golden Age of the slasher, a common publicity ploy was to tell the audience not to do something then portray people doing that which they had been advised against in the film. The ploy worked and therefore numerous horror movies adopted the same technique with varying degrees of relevance, spanning pertinent through vague to completely insignificant. Some movies changed their title upon release to get with the program and some were even re-released at a later date with a new moniker. A number of these "don't" movies got caught up in the Video Nasties hysteria in the eighties which was further encouragement to pursue another release with a new and more commercially viable name. Here they are:

Don't Look in the Basement (1973)

Video Nasties: Don't Look in the Basement

Originally called The Forgotten and reissued as Don't Look in the Basement, this movie takes place in an isolated sanitarium (an institution similar to the Big Brother house but with more likeable and less deluded occupants) where Charlotte Beale starts her new role as a nurse. After various violent interactions with the resident crazies, nurse Beale starts to suspect there is something amiss and eventually solves the mystery through revelations revealed... IN THE BASEMENT!

The basement is a relevant factor for the plot but is not the main subject of the movie. In fact, Charlotte may not have survived her encounter and resolved the situation if it wasn't for her blatant disregard of the rules set out in the title. The marketing department can be forgiven for the reissue title but a more suitable advice could have been something along the lines of "Don't take jobs in mental institutions in the middle of nowhere if you aren't 100% sure of the details before you arrive for your first day of work".

Don't Open the Window (1974)

Video Nasties: Don't Open the Window

More commonly known as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, this movie boasts over 15 different titles from it's various international releases (a common tactic for Euro horror) including The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, Zombi 3 - Da dove vieni? and Breakfast with the Dead. This one takes place in the English countryside and follows the exploits of two visitors suspected of a murder. Little do they know that the real murderers are the living dead, brought back to life by ultrasonic radiation from an experimental pesticide alternative.

No windows bare any real significance on the plot and the conclusion is that the "don't" title is more a product of an evil lickle advertising scheme than an artistic exploit. Maybe "Don't use untested alternative pesticides in the vicinity of corpses without some inclination of what you would do in a zombie apocalypse" would have sufficed better.

Don't Ride on Late Night Trains (1975)

Video Nasties: Don't Ride on Late Night Trains

Another victim of numerous names and guilty of sequel title hijack. More generally referred to as Night Train Murders but also known as Last House - Part II, The New House on the Left, Second House on the Left, Torture Train and Xmas Massacre. Margaret and Lisa take the train to Verona for Christmas with Lisa's family. On the train they encounter two violent and pervy males and a sadistic female who gets a wide-on from witnessing assault. Flirting soon escalates to violence and things get a bit nasty.

While having nothing to do with The Last House on the Left except blatant plagiarism, the advice to avoid the late night trains is quite significant. The "don't" title can be forgiven but the lack of originality cannot. The best advice would be "Don't make films if you only have a plot device and no original story to back it up".

Don't Go in the House (1979)

Video Nasties: Don't Go in the House

Danny Kholer was tormented by his mother as a child, punishment by stove has given him an unhealthy obsession with fire and a hatred for females that bare any resemblance to his spiteful parent. For this reason he has a steel panelled room in his house where he passes his time torching any ladies with his flamethrower that made the mistake of accepting his invitation inside. The Burning was the working title for this movie but upon release it became Don't Go in the House. This is a bleak and nasty movie well deserved of making the Video Nasty list during the hysterical eighties.

We all get the urge to burn people occasionally but having a custom room in the house for performing such acts is taking the desire a few steps further. Not going in the house is a worthy warning to abide by and a suitable film title.

Don't Go Near The Park (1979)

Video Nasties: Don't Go Near The Park

Also known as Curse of the Living Dead, Nightstalker, Sanctuary for Evil. Don't Go Near the Park is an oddity about incestuous immortal cave people, eternal youth, ritualistic cannibalism and much, much more all combined into a beautifully crafted incoherent mess. This is also the horror film that introduced the world to Linnea Quigley's tits which go on to become an iconic part of horror during the next decade.

A park is involved and staying away from it seems like constructive advice although stumbling upon this park will probably provide equal parts fear and confusion. It is understandable that they went with the title chosen as "Don't go near the laser-eye toting cave siblings if you are a virgin as they may want to eat your intestines" is a bit of a mouthful.

Don't Go in the Woods (1981)

Video Nasties: Don't Go in the Woods

Not going into the woods is probably a good idea when they are inhabited by a hobo Grizzly Adams with a penchant for violence but not many seem to heed this warning based on the number of people in the woods during this movie. "Don't go in the woods if your wheelchair is not sufficient to travel off-road" is also a lesson that can be gleaned from this production but would probably result in an unexciting and politically incorrect movie experience. Admittedly, many of those exploring the wilderness here are not alone so it is possible that the addition of "...ALONE" to the title in the USA alternative version that caused the confusion and let this unwitting bunch of misfits meet their demise between the trees.

Don't Go in the Woods is another terrible movie not worthy of the cult status it has achieved by being present on the DPP Video Nasty list. Everything about this film is a lazy attempt to cash in on the popularity of slasher films from all the cliches right down to the "don't" in the title. It is worth watching just to exercise the rolling muscles of the eye.
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Video Nasties - The "Don't" Movies: Movie Information

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