Monday, 6 September 2010



Yup, another title gets ticked off the video nasties list, and by my shaky arithmetic, over the years that's 47 down, 28 to go. Not that it's all been easy: some of the movies have been genuinely repulsive, some incredibly dull, some stupid and some, like this cheap minimalist slasher from 1982, just plain rubbish. For every Tenebrae or Zombie Flesh Eaters or The Evil Dead, there's a Night Of The Bloody Apes or Madhouse. Or an Unhinged. Like most of the nasties, "nasty" is one of the least appropriate words for it and its prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act is frankly an absurdity. The Tedious Publications Act, perhaps, but there's really nothing here that could possibly deprave and corrupt.

Unhinged tells of three cute teenage girls who crash their car en route to a rock festival; they're taken in at the Penrose house ruled over by a misandrist old biddy and her strange daughter. Due to the superimposed lightning flashes signalling a storm, they have to spend a few days there; and even though there's obviously something very wrong with the set up (there's no phone, strange breathing sounds from the attic) the girls stay on. Could the house have any connection with the 23 girls who've recently disappeared from the area? Is there someone, or something, in the woodshed?

There's a belter of a plot twist at the end which I didn't see coming, and the brief kill scenes are reasonably done although stinting on any meaty gore, but ultimately Unhinged is no lost horror classic and a glossy Michael Bay-produced remake for the easily pleased isn't going to happen any time soon. Technically it's no more or less proficient or interesting than a hundred other obscurities of the period, and its only claim to fame is that they can put "Previously Banned!!!!" in big letters on the cover. Well, so was Battleship Potemkin. If they hadn't made such a fuss over it, it would have dropped into distributor limbo and been forgotten. It's hardly worth the effort.


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