EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally posted on October 26, 2019. Don’t Go Near the Park was not produced by Cannon but was theatrically distributed by Cannon Releasing Corporation.
Cannibalism. Incest. Pedophilia. Yes, folks, Don’t Go Near the Park has it all. That’s why it made it to the category 2 video nasty list, a feat for a director who was just 19.
I also have no idea what Aldo Ray’s deal is in this movie. As Taft, he’s an older man who just so happens to make friends with the young Nick and takes him, Bondi and Cowboy home to live with him — and sleep half-naked while he smiles on — as special friends.
That’s the good guy! What is this movie!?!
Let’s see if we can make sense of it.
Thousands of years ago, Petranella cursed her children Tra and Gar (Barbara Bain played both female roles here under the fake name Barbara Monker while the male is Robert Gribbin under the nom de plume Crackers Phinn) to live for 12,000 years eating the flesh of humans. If one of them has a baby after that long stretch, they can live forever.
Fast forward to 1965 and the siblings are killing kids in California. Gar decides to work on the babymaking, reinventing himself as the human Mark and knocks up Linnea Quigley and has a kid named Bondi, who he cares about way more than his marriage. We see years pass in the span of minutes, which is how I’d think immortals perceive time and also really shoddy filmmaking all at the same time.
On Bondi’s sixteenth birthday, Mark gives her an ancient amulet, which finally causes his wife to leave him. Bondi runs away and is nearly raped in a van before she calls on her father to kill them with that amulet.
Bondi wanders into an abandoned house near the park, where her aunt Tra, who now goes by the name Patty, is starting to die. That’s when she makes friends with Nick and Cowboy, who sell flowers in the street and make friends — like I said before — with Aldo Ray.
There’s a whole lot of weirdness that happens — swallowed amulets, corpses rising from the dead to kill out former cave people and a twist ending that throws everything else in the trash. Little Nick is played by Meeno Paluce, who was all over the 80’s with stuff like Voyagers and appearing in the original The Amityville Horror.
I have a soft spot for this film. It’s not perfect, but I want to hug it and protect it from the mean reviewers who say things like it makes no sense and it has shoddy camerawork. What do you want? A classic every time?