Don’t Open the Door (1974)

Don’t Open the Door! was originally released regionally in Texas under the title Don’t Hang Up in May 1974. It was then acquired by Capital Films Corporation, who re-released it in 1979.

Director S.F. Brownrigg made this movie with producer Martin Jurow (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), using a cast mainly made up of actors from Dallas-based actors.

The story is simple: young girl returns home to care for her sick grandmother and encounters weirdness at every turn. It’s Brownrigg’s skill that makes this movie unique.

Despite the lurid feel of this movie, it still has a PG rating. Life was cheaper in 1974.

Susan Bracken plays Amanda Post, who begins the film assured and cocky before returning to Allerton, the Texas town where she watched her mother get killed as a child. This would be the only theatrical film Bracken would do and it’s a shame because she’s great in this.

We live in a world of caller ID that renders so much of this movie a moot point, such as the reveal that the calls are coming from within the house. While that trope replays itself in so many 70’s horror films, I always find it so delightful.

Larry O’Dwyer, who plays the sinister Claude, was done with acting after this movie too. Again, a shame.

If you were born later than me, you may find this movie slow moving and not as filled with terror as you hope, particularly with the sinister VHS cover image that I attached to this review. Not all movies need to have a killing every two minutes and have geysers of gore. This movie does so much more with less.

If you want to know more about this movie and where it was filmed, watch my friend J.H. Rood’s film Don’t on the Internet Archive.

BONUS: You can listen to Bill Van Ryn, J.H. and me discuss this movie on the second week of our streaming web show, Drive-In Asylum Double Feature.

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