DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE (1979) Reviews and of former video nasty

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Don’t Go in the House was released in the US by Severin Films on Blu-ray and DVD on January 25th, 2022.

The release features a new 2K scan from the original negative – plus the alternate TV Version and The Extended Cut combining scenes from both – with over two hours of exclusive special features.

Disc 1 (Theatrical Cut):
The Burning: Alternate TV Cut
Audio Commentary With Director Joe Ellison And Producer Ellen Hammill
Archival Commentary With Actor Dan Grimaldi
“House” Keeping: Interviews With Co-Producer Matthew Mallinson and Co-Writer Joseph R. Masefield
We Went In The House!: The Locations of Don’t Go in the House
Playing With Fire: Archival Interview With Actor Dan Grimaldi
Trailer Gallery
Image Gallery
Additional Special Feature: Reversible Artwork

Disc 2 (Integral Cut):
Audio Commentary With Stephen Thrower, Author of Nightmare USA
Minds On Fire: video essay by MOVIES and MANIA contributor David Flint (The Reprobate)
Burn Baby Burn: Interview With Director Joseph Ellison
Grindhouse All-Stars: Interviews With Filmmakers Matt Cimber, Joseph Ellison, Roy Frumkes and Jeff Lieberman

Disc Specs:
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English Mono/English Descriptive Audio
Closed Captions
Region A
Run time: Theatrical Cut: 83 mins/TV Cut: 90 mins/Integral Cut: 92 mins

Trailer [1080p 4K]:

Don’t Go in the House is being released by Arrow Video as a two-disc Limited Edition on February 7th 2022.

Limited edition O-card featuring newly commissioned artwork by Christopher Shy
Reversible sleeve and foldout double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Christopher Shy
Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Lindsay Hallam and James Flower


Disc One:
Brand new 2K restoration from the original negative by Severin Films
High Definition (1080p) Bluray™ presentation of two different versions of the film: the 83minute uncut Theatrical Version, and the 89minute Television Version with additional scenes and alternate footage
Original lossless mono audio on both cuts
Optional English audio description for the blind by Matt Jarman from Bad Princess Productions on both cuts
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both cuts
Brand new commentary on the Theatrical Version by director Joseph Ellison and producer Ellen Hammill
Archive commentary on the Theatrical Version by star Dan Grimaldi
“House” Keeping, a brand new featurette by Severin Films interviewing associate producer Matthew Mallinson and cowriter/producer Joe Masefield
We Went in the House, a brand new featurette by Severin Films with Michael Gingold revisiting the locations from the film, including the iconic house
Playing with Fire, an archive interview with star Dan Grimaldi from 2005
Original theatrical trailers and TV spots
Image gallery

Disc Two:
High Definition (1080p) Bluray presentation of the Extended Version (92 mins) of the film, with the additional scenes from the Television Version, reinserted into the uncensored Theatrical Version
Original lossless mono audio
Optional English audio description for the blind
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary on the Extended Version by Stephen Thrower, author of Nightmare USA
Minds on Fire, a brand new video essay by David Flint putting the film into context
Burn Baby Burn and The Burning Man, two archive interviews with director Joseph Ellison
Grindhouse AllStars: Notes From the Sleaze Cinema Underground, a documentary by High Rising Productions from 2017 interviewing exploitation filmmakers Matt Cimber, Joseph Ellison, Roy Frumkes and Jeff Lieberman

Meanwhile, here’s our previous coverage of Don’t Go in the House:


‘You have been warned.’
Don’t Go in the House is a 1979 American horror film that emulates Psycho (1960) in a more forthright graphic manner. The film focuses on the main character Donny’s abuse-driven psychoticism and schizophrenic hallucinations, mostly unnoticed by those around him. It gained notoriety as a British video nasty and remains banned in some countries.

Directed by Joseph Ellison from a screenplay co-written with Ellen Hammill and Joe Masefield.

The movie features Dan Grimaldi, Charlie Bonet, Bill Ricci, Robert Osth,Ruth Dardick, Johanna Brushay, Jim Donnegan, Colin McInnes
Ralph D. Bowman, Joey Peschl, Connie Oaks,David McComb, Tom Brumberger, Nikki Kollins, Kim Roberts, Louise Grimaldi, Gloria Szymkovicz, David Brody, O’Mara Leary, Gail Turner, Christian Isidore and Eileen Dunn.

The soundtrack score was composed by Richard Einhorn (Sister, Sister; Dead of Winter; Blood Rage; The Prowler; Eyes of a Stranger; Shock Waves).

Donald “Donny” Kohler is a deeply disturbed individual who was emotionally and physically scarred by burns inflicted on him by his mother. As a child, whenever he did something she saw as “wicked”, she would hold his bare arms over a gas stove in an effort to “burn the evil out of him”. Due to this, he developed a secret obsession with fire and human combustion.


During his job as an incinerator, Donny observes a co-worker, Billy, catch on fire. Instead of going for help, he stares, mesmerized. When he returns home he finds his mother has died. While he is free from her possessiveness, the only life he has ever known is gone, and with it his chance for revenge against her.

Donny sets out to avenge himself on every woman who bears a resemblance to his hateful parent with the aid of makeshift steel chains, a homemade flamethrower and a steel-panelled bedroom crematorium.


Starring Dan Grimaldi, who went on to have mainstream success as Philly and Patsy Parisi in TV’s Sopranos, Don’t Go in the House is unremittingly grim fare. Despite some respectable critical notices, the film attracted controversy almost immediately because of its graphic depiction of the death of Kohler’s first naked victim, and the touchy central theme of childhood abuse.

The film was cut by almost three minutes when it was released in Britain in the winter of 1980, but an uncut version was released on video by the Arcade label in 1982 – knowingly or not, they advertised the release as “a true ‘nasty’ from Arcade”, and it quickly wound up on the authorities’ list of banned titles. The pre-cut British cinema version was released on video by the Apex VHS label in April 1987.


Ian Jane of DVD Talk said, “Don’t Go in the House isn’t for everyone – it’s a bitter, ugly, and nasty little horror movie that doesn’t pull any punches and is just as seedy today as it was when it was made. It’s effective in that it gets under your skin despite its low budget origins and obvious flaws.”


David Johnson from DVD Verdict wrote, “Don’t Go in the House is a well-acted, disturbing film, featuring one of the few horror scenes to really get to me.”

Considering the subject matter and the gloomy tone throughout, it’s somewhat surprising that the film has since become available in the UK in uncut form, on Arrow’s Arrowdrome imprint. Director, Joseph Ellison, discusses the film at length in Stephen Thrower’s excellent Nightmare USA book.
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:

“Although campy in spots, especially during the discotheque scenes, the film remains harrowing in a more real sense than many of its exploitation brethren. This one really scorches the earth.” Mike “McBeardo” McFadden, Heavy Metal Movies

Buy: |

“At first glance, you’d think Don’t Go In the House was very much like its video nasty brethren, in that time had lessened its impact, however coming at the film with fresh eyes, and with this fantastic new HD transfer, I can appreciate the film much more. The plot has an emotional resonance and the graphic nature of the murders only heightens the sleazy atmosphere which in turn feeds the story…” Nerdly [review of 2022 Arrow Video Blu-ray]

nightmare USA Stephen Thrower

Buy: |


The shooting title was The Burning and in some territories, this was the release title. It was also the title used for the TV version.

The US theatrical release was on 28th March 1980.

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