Don’t Go in the House (Joseph Ellison, 1980)

The film’s first set-piece, so giallo in its excess, dares you to watch and look away at the same time; it plays havoc with your role as spectator. Unlike the rest of the film, which plays havoc with psychology, dumping homosociality, homosexuality, sexual predation, the bad mother, the absent father, religion (and disco) into a grey stufato. There are complex intentions here—you’re supposed to sympathize with the lead character and recoil at the manifestations of his psychoses—but the overall effect is akin to spectating through an impermeable asbestos suit.

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