THE CELLAR (1989) Reviews and Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray details


‘Whatever you do, don’t go into the…’

The Cellar is a 1989 American horror film about a young boy who discovers an ancient Comanche monster spirit in the basement of his home. His parents don’t believe him, so he must kill the monster alone…

Directed by Kevin S. Tenney (Brain Dead; Night of the Demons; Witchboard and sequels) from a screenplay written by John Woodward, based on a story co-written with Darryl Wimberley and a short story by David Henry Keller M.D. Tenney took over as director from John Woodward eight days into the film’s shooting schedule.

Blu-ray release:

In May 2021, Vinegar Syndrome released The Cellar on Blu-ray with the following special features:

Newly scanned and restored in 2K from its 35mm original camera negative & the director’s personal 35mm lab print
Includes two versions of the film: the theatrical cut and the unseen director’s cut
Group commentary on both versions with: Kevin Tenney (director), Suzanne Savoy (actress), and Patrick Kilpatrick (actor)
Introduction by the director
“From Chicken Shit to Chicken Salad, Unearthing the Lost Cellar” – a brand new extended making-of documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew
Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles
Region Free Blu-ray

Order via Vinegar Syndrome’s website


The Cashen family has just relocated from the city to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere in Texas. Upon arrival at their new home, Willy, their young son, explores the area, befriending a Native American shaman who warns him of the powerful forces and apparent curse on their land.

Meanwhile, at home, Willy senses that there’s something unusual about the cellar of their home; specifically that something strange might be living down there… and unfortunately for the Cashen family, it’s very hungry…


…The Cellar is serviceable and towards the end, even a gripping monster-in-the-basement film. The combination between the flaky, volatile dad and his son, who is a budding Thomas Edison, plays extremely well, provides 80% of the plot drive, and the performances are good. More subtle aspects, such as the interesting earth tone color scheme that matches the Southwestern landscape, also work very well.” Classic Horror

” …fails to deliver enough scary or suspenseful scenes to make this a believable top-rate horror thriller. Even the monster, which is supposed to be created from the most deadly parts of the most deadly creatures disappoints, turning out to be a cross between an alligator and a large rat.” Chucks Connection

“The elements that make it a mediocre movie are primarily script issues. The way characters handle situations, Willy knowing too much too soon, and a sprinkling of ridiculousness […] If you’re into ’80s horror, The Cellar is a creature feature worth checking out, just don’t expect very much from it.” Life Between Frames

“The beast is pretty cool, but the characters are fairly lame. There is really meandering narration at the beginning and end that is laughable. But overall, it’s a passable 80’s horror outing.” Warren @ Letterboxd

“Tenney fails to generate any excitement throughout […] And then there is the demon (?) in the titular cellar. It looks as though most of the film’s budget was blown on this but it crucially never gets to do much except snarl and flex its claws. It is an incredible letdown on the build-up.” Moria

The Cellar is a fun creature feature with an interesting story, a cool looking monster (I love the way it drags itself around) and great chemistry between the cast members. The restoration is gorgeous and gives you a great look at that ill-conceived devil.” Pop Horror

“The worst thing about The Cellar is its sluggish narrative. Not much happens, here. Also, the father’s descent into madness is abrupt and implausible. It happens at the turn of the third act, and it hits like a ton of bricks.” Tales of Terror

Choice dialogue:

Mance Cashen: “Looks like Dracula’s bedroom down here!”

Mance Cashen: “No! No monsters! They don’t exist. It’s silly to be afraid.”

Cast and characters:

Patrick Kilpatrick … Mance Cashen
Chris Miller … Willy Cashen
Suzanne Savoy … Emily Cashen
Ford Rainey … T.C. van Houten
Michael Wren … Chief Sam John
Lou Perryman … Kyle Boatwright (as Lou Perry)
Danny Mora … Chilo
Alex Pederson … Tommy Boatwright
Don Collier … Sheriff
Anthony Childs … April
Ryan Childs … April
Mindy Spence … Girl in Schoolyard
Nick Gomez … Boy with Plane
Sandra G. Katzel … Cashier
Steven Suggs … Young T.C.

Filming locations:

Tucson, Arizona

Filming dates:

21st January 1988 – 26th February 1988

Original home viewing release:

The film was released in the United States on VHS by Southgate Video in 1989 and in Canada that same year by Cineplex Odeon.


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