“Don’t Answer the Phone” (1979)
Starring: Nicholas Worth, James Westmoreland, Ben Frank, Flo Lawrence
Directed by: Robert Hammer
Running Time: 85 min.
Synopsis: A killer out in Hollywood calls a talk radio show and stalks the woman who is hosting it.
One of the many films with “Don’t” in the title to come out of the 70’s. (I love the mock trailer Don’t by Edgar Wright in Grindhouse.) Don’t Answer the Phone has all the elements of a classic 70’s slasher film, but in the end it’s pretty much just a decent little flick.
The movie is about a killer who either stalks the women he kills or lures them back to his apartment, telling them his a photographer and that he’ll get them in a mainstream magazine. His way of killing is strangulation using a woman’s stocking. He also seems to be doing this by God’s will, so it seems. He has an alter and cross at his place that he prays to, but no more is explained. He often calls a radio talk show hosted by a psychiatrist. He disguises his voice and talks about headaches he’s been having. The killer than starts to stalk patients of the doctor and then the doctor herself.
The police are searching for the killer on the streets of L.A. Bodies are popping up all over the place. Each murder they get closer and closer to finding the killer and when he murders a woman while calling in on the radio show, the cops are on top of it and soon close in on the killer.
Some cool things about this movie are the creepy scenes when the killer stalks his victims. You all ready know who the killer is and are thrust into his dark world. The killer often drives down Hollywood Blvd. where you can see the down dirty streets of the city. The music is another highlight and adds to the eeriness of the scene. The actor, who plays the killer, Nicholas Worth, is very good and plays up the creepy guy character very well. One thing in the film, there’s no gore in it, not really any blood either, which shows that you don’t need a lot of blood and guts to make a scary movie.
Although the suspense scenes are done very well, the rest of the movie lacks. There seems to be a lot of dead time during the scenes with the police and the doctor. The cops in this film are terrible. It just might be the fault of the script and not their acting, because a lot of the scenes with the police they’re making a lot of wise cracks and trying to throw in some comic relief, but it just doesn’t work. There’s also a ridiculous scene when the police bust a massage parlor and all the customers and hookers are running out of the building. There’s also a pimp who’s trying to get rid of his cocaine, that’s pretty funny actually. It’s a scene that could have been done well, but they might as well just taken out.
Don’t Answer the Phone, may not be the best or even a good slasher film of that era, but the film is still worth checking out at least once.