Title: Don't Go Into The House

Budget: $250,000

Don't Go In The House (1980) Horror Review

Don't Go In The House (1980) Horror Review

Tagline: "...Threshold into terror."


Donald "Donny" Kohler is deeply disturbed individual who was emotionally and physically scarred by burns inflicted on him by his mother. As a child, whenever Donny 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, Donny developed an obsession with fire, and human combustion.

While doing his job at an incinerator, Donny observes a co-worker catch on fire when an unnoticed aerosol can inside a burner explodes. Instead of going for help, Donny stares, mesmerized. When Donny returns home that evening, he finds his mother dead. While Donny is free from her possessiveness, the only life he has ever known is gone, and with it his chance for revenge against her. He sets out to avenge himself on every woman who bears a resemblance to his hateful mother with the aid of steel chains, a flamethrower, and a steel-paneled bedroom crematorium that he builds.

Donny's first victim is florist Kathy Jordan (Johanna Brushay). Befriending the harmless-looking man, Kathy escorts Donny back to his mother's house, where he knocks her unconscious, strips her naked, ties her up in the steel room, and burns her to death with his flamethrower. Over the next few days, Donny murders two other women by immolating them. Donny also burns his mother's corpse, and dresses it up in her bedroom along with the other three dead women.

As this occurs, Donny hears voices in his mind, which call him "the master of the flame" and urge him to punish "evil". Donny's only friend is Bobby Tuttle (Robert Osth) a co-worker who phones the house one day asking why Donny has been absent from work for nearly a week. Donny lies and claims that his mother is sick and needs attention. When Donny attempts to pick up another woman, he cannot go through with it, and begins to feel remorse for his actions. Donny goes to a church, where he tells Father Gerritty (Ralph D. Bowman) about the abuse his mother inflicted upon him, and about his urges to kill. Father Gerritty persuades Donny to try to move on with his life, and put the past to rest.

Feeling lonely and attempting to break away from the urge to kill, Donny decides to accept an invitation by Bobby to accompany him on a double-date to a disco club, despite Donny's lack of social skills. After traveling to a men's clothing store and purchasing a new outfit, Donny shows up at the disco as expected, but is shy and awkward with his date. When the woman attempts to take Donny to the dance floor and inadvertently holds his arm over a table's lighted candle, the memories of the childhood abuse come back, and Donny snaps.

Fleeing from the disco after setting the woman's hair ablaze, Donny runs into two drunken girls on the street, and he invites them back to his house. Bobby attempts to find Donny, and runs into Father Gerritty on his way to Donny's house. When no one answers the front door, Bobby and Father Gerrity break it down and rescue the two women. Donny dons his incinerator outfit and sets Father Gerrity ablaze with his flamethrower, but Bobby manages to smother the flames and rescue the priest.

Donny takes refuge inside his mother's bedroom with the burned corpses. The voices in his head express their disappointment with him. Donny watches in horror as the charred corpses come to life. He tries to fight them with the flamethrower, but sets the house on fire, killing himself.

In the final scene, a young boy is being terrorized and beaten by his abusive mother. The boy hears the same whispering voices that Donny did, and they tell him that they are here to "help" him.


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  • Dan Grimaldi as Donald 'Donny' Kohler
  • Charlie Bonet as Ben
  • Bill Ricci as Vito
  • Robert Osth as Bobby Tuttle
  • Dennis M. Hunter as Worker
  • John Hedberg as Worker
  • Ruth Dardick as Mrs. Kohler
  • Johanna Brushay as Kathy Jordan
  • Darcy Shean as Girl in Car
  • Mary Ann Chinn as Woman in Street
  • Lois Verkruepse as Woman with Kids
  • Susan Smith as Linda
  • Jim Donnegan as Clerk
  • Claudia Folts as Body #1
  • Denise Woods as Body #2
  • Pat Williams as Body #3
  • Colin Mclnness as Young Donald Kohler
  • Ralph D. Bowman as Father Gerritty
  • Joey Petzel as Bobby Tuttle's Son
  • Connie Oaks as Bobby Tuttle's Daughter
  • David McComb as Salesman
  • Jean Manning as Girl in Store
  • Ken Kelsch as Man in Store
  • Tom Brumberger as Alfred
  • Nikki Collins as Farrah
  • Kim Roberts as Karen
  • Louise Grimaldi as Barbara
  • Commander Johnny G. as Himself
  • Gloria Szymkovicz as Sylvia
  • David Brody as Anthony
  • O'Mara Leary as Suzanne
  • Gail Turner as Patty
  • Christian Isidore as Michael
  • Eileen Dunn as Michael's Mother
Directed by Joseph Ellison
Produced by Ellen Hammill
Screenplay by Ellen Hammill
Joe Masefield
Joseph Ellison
Story by Joe Masefield
Starring Dan Grimaldi
Music by Richard Einhorn
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Edited by Jane Kurson
Turbine Films Inc.
Distributed by Film Ventures International
Release date(s) *March 28, 1980


Running time 82 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $250,000