6.6/10
1,377
26 user 16 critic

The Plumber (1979)

Not Rated | | Horror, Thriller | TV Movie November 1981
A young couple, living in a campus apartment complex, are repeatedly harassed by an eccentric plumber, who subjects them to a series of bizarre mind games while making unnecessary repairs to their bathroom.

Director:

Writers:

, (story editor)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

The small town of Paris, Australia deliberately causes car accidents, then sells/salvages all valuables from the wrecks as a means of economy.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Terry Camilleri, John Meillon, Kevin Miles
The Last Wave (1977)
Drama | Fantasy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Sydney lawyer defends five Aborigines in a ritualized taboo murder and in the process learns disturbing things about himself and premonitions.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Olivia Hamnett, David Gulpilil
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

During a rural summer picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls' school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Rachel Roberts, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Staff and students at a rural school react to a warning of an imminent nuclear attack, not knowing whether it is real or a mistake.

Director: Frank Perry
Stars: Jane Connell, William Daniels, James Frawley
Ha-Instalator (1986)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Michael Behagen
Stars: Avraham Asiyo, Rami Baruch, Shimon Finkel
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

American army deserter turned criminal-on-the-run Eddy Roback must evade the French authorities in a nation-wide manhunt as he attempts to cross the border into Belgium.

Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: Dane Clark, Simone Signoret, Fernand Gravey
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young boy follows Tashiro home to his tenement housing complex on the outskirts of Tokyo, the boy who was separated from his carpenter father somehow and somewhere in Kudan. All Tashiro ... See full summary »

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Chôko Iida, Hôhi Aoki, Eitarô Ozawa
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An episode in the life of Nikander, a garbage man, involving the death of a coworker, a love affair and much more.

Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Stars: Matti Pellonpää, Kati Outinen, Sakari Kuosmanen
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The emotional story of a young man in a mental institution for teens who begins to understand his psychosis in the environment of others with mental and emotional problems. He finds ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Perry
Stars: Keir Dullea, Janet Margolin, Howard Da Silva
Ariel (1988)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Finnish man goes to the city to find a job after the mine where he worked is closed and his father commits suicide.

Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Stars: Turo Pajala, Susanna Haavisto, Matti Pellonpää
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An anthology of four short horror stories revolving around a British antique shop and its mysterious owner.

Director: Kevin Connor
Stars: Peter Cushing, Ian Bannen, Ian Carmichael
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Green Valley was a housing commission estate in western Sydney, much maligned by the media of the day.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Peter Weir
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jill Cowper
...
Max
...
Brian Cowper
Candy Raymond ...
Meg
Henri Szeps ...
David Medavoy
Yomi Abioudan ...
Dr. Matu (as Yomi Abiodun)
Beverley Roberts ...
Dr. Japari
Bruce Rosen ...
Dr. Don Felder
Daphne Grey ...
Caretaker's Wife
Meme Thorne ...
Anna (as Mémé Thorne)
David Burchell ...
Professor Cato
Paul Sonkkila ...
Reg the Cleaner
Pam Sanders ...
Ananas
Rick Hart ...
Detective
Giovanni Giglio ...
Italian Singer
Edit

Storyline

In Adelaide, the wife of Dr. Brian Cowper, Jill Cowper, is writing her thesis at home for her Master's in Anthropology. When the plumber, Max, arrives unexpectedly to do a routine check and maintenance of the the bathroom pipes, Jill is stuck alone at home with the strange, talkative stranger. That day, he mentions spending some time in prison, frightening Jill. She talks about this to her friend Meg, her husband Brian and the superintendent's wife, but they all believe the plumber to be a simple, but nice man. Jill does not agree. There is a problem in the bathroom that brings Max back again, this time even longer. Over time, the tension between them increases. Finally, Jill finds a way to get rid of the plumber. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Evil takes on many disguises...for Jill it began with a knock at the door See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wenn der Klempner kommt  »

Box Office

Budget:

AUD 150,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film represents the first ever collaboration of married couple director Peter Weir and designer Wendy Stites. The two have worked on about a dozen of director Weir's films together, Stites (aka Wendy Weir) performing duties in the design areas of production, costume, coordination, consultation and special design. See more »

Goofs

In the last shot of the plumber playing his guitar, there is music but he isn't moving his hands. See more »

Quotes

Max: It's what you *can't* see that counts in plumbing. Always remember that.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Killing Floor (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Sea of Tranquility
Music by Edgar Vetter and W. Merrick Farran
KPM Music Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

You really oughta ALWAYS check your tradesman's ID!
10 November 2001 | by (Longmont, Colorado) – See all my reviews

What a straight-up quirky little gem from Peter Weir. Proof indeed that you do not need big budgets to make celluloid winners. Weir has such a great talent for drawing out the extraordinary from the most ordinary of scenarios. A bush-walk that defies explanation at HANGING ROCK, a country town with a lurid secret in THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS, oveflowing domestic storm-water in THE LAST WAVE and here, the humble PLUMBER, or maybe the stranger from Hell?

Filmed for the most part in Jill Cowper's (Judy Morris's) apartment, if not the bathroom itself, her nightmare starts when she has need to call a tradesman to fix faulty plumbing in her bathroom. Whether Max has multiple pre-emptive social issues to deal with or simply reacts later to her upper-class dismissive treatment of his blue-collar status is not made clear. In the bathroom however he rules unchallenged and Jill finds herself at the mercy of what appears to be a serially disturbed tradesman.

Less of a thriller and more a black comedy, Weir places his protaganists each in unfamilar locales. Jill, a highly educated anthropologist, married to a doctor and studying indigenous behavioural activity has absolutely no idea how to respond to this intrusive workman who stops for 10 minute tea-breaks every five minutes and composes a rock-song for which he asks her considered opinion. While the situations thrown up are critically funny at times (Kants gives his greatest performance here) an air of extreme unease pervades proceedings. By degrees, the bathroom is totally destroyed as Max works to compensate for that social-class chip on his shoulder, the size of a Redwood! The scene of the dinner party wherein an overseas guest is trapped under collapsed rubble in the bathroom is a hoot.

After Morris has hit rock-bottom and realises that fear is the key, she devises a way to get back at him. Some viewers regard the end as "soft" if not a total cop-out. What it actually shows is that just sometimes, fighting fire with fire works!

THE PLUMBER was filmed in Adelaide and originally received limited theatrical release. It was not until it was shown on television however that the "legend" of this great little movie was founded and its popularity mushroomed.

Not to be missed under any circumstances.


23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?