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Unhinged (1982)

Unrated | | Horror | 15 October 1982 (USA)
Three college girls on their way to a jazz festival crash their car in the isolated woods during a rainstorm, and are taken in by a mysterious family in an old mansion. Little do the girls know, the family has a dark, murderous secret.



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Cast overview:
Laurel Munson ...
Janet Penner ...
Marion Penrose (as J.E. Penner)
Sara Ansley ...
Nancy Paulson
Virginia Settle ...
Mrs. Penrose
John Morrison ...
Norman Barnes
Barbara Lusch ...
Bill Simmonds ...
Carl Penrose
Francine Molter ...
Terry's Mother (voice)
Dave Hood ...
DJ (voice)


College students, Terry, Nancy and Gloria are on their way to a rock concert, driving through a torrential rainstorm... only to crash their car, badly injuring one of them. Seeking shelter and aid they come across a house occupied by a man-hating mother and her daughter... our trio soon wish they hadn't. Written by suspicous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Get your slice from the reaper. Violence beyond reason, Victims beyond help. See more »




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Demencial  »

Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


The film had already received notoriety in the UK after being featured on the BBC News as part of a report concerning the availability of uncertified video films. Even though the film had received a cinema certificate by the BBFC this led to it being banned and included on the DPP list of 72 video nasties. The film was eventually passed uncut in the UK in 2005. See more »


Mrs. Penrose: Marion? Marion! Answer me! Do you have another one of your men up there?
Marion Penrose: No, mother.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The fast-food restaurant chain, "Taco Time" is given a special thanks in the end credits, because of the radio ad that is heard in the beginning of the movie. See more »


Featured in The Cinema Snob: Fatal Games (2014) See more »


PIANO CONCERTO NO. 20 IN D MINOR, K. 466, mvt. 2
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

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User Reviews

One of my all time favorite less than perfect slashers
27 March 2015 | by (Argentina) – See all my reviews

In "Unhinged", three college friends named Terry, Nancy and Gloria go to a music festival in Pinewood, but during a dreadful storm, their car falls into a steep ravine and the girls are rescued by a man named Norman, who takes them to a nearby mansion. The owner of the place is a woman named Marion Penrose, who lives with her crippled mother. Marion advices the girls not to go out again during the storm, and offers them to stay for as long as they need.

For dinner, Marion introduces the girls to her mother, Mrs. Edith Penrose, who turns out to be a delusional, uptight harpy. Mrs. Penrose ruins dinner for everyone by making awkward comments, accusing Marion of being a tramp and going off on a rant on how awful men are, especially her ex-husband, who cheated on her. Later that night, Terry and Nancy talk about what a horrible time they're having and both agree that they want to leave as soon as possible. Also, Terry tells Nancy that she thinks there's someone lurking outside the house, watching them, but her friend doesn't believe her. Things keep getting more and more tense between Marion and her mother and Terri can't wait to get the hell out of there, not only because she knows that there is someone watching her, but also because she can't tolerate the weird mother-daughter relationship.

For some reason, "Unhinged" was banned in the UK, which is something that is proudly mentioned on the DVD cover. Honestly, I don't get it; the film isn't that violent. We see a few murders on screen and they are gory too, but it's nothing so vile that we need to look away from the screen. I am a horror fan, but I dislike extreme gore and I can honestly say that I wasn't freaked out by this at all. It is perfectly endurable and I can't understand why this film was banned at all. It can't be the nudity either, since it is something very innocent (we only see the girls showering). Could it be that the movie was banned due to the offensively bad acting instead? That I can believe!

"Unhinged" was filmed in Portland, Oregon and director Don Gronquist decided to cast Portland locals with little or no acting experience… and it becomes evident as we see the film. To my surprise, Virginia Settle, who plays Mrs. Edith Penrose, was actually a stage actress. Mrs. Settle is probably one of the highest points of this film due to her over-the-top acting that gives this film an undeniable campy nature. The way she yells and gesticulates, while she's accusing her daughter of being a whore is simply hilarious. The high-pitched voice, the eyes wide open and the whole refined and snobbish aristocrat stereotype makes Mrs. Penrose a very memorable character, but I would have never guessed that she was actually a trained actress. Perhaps the declamatory acting is part of her theatrical training. Janet Penner, who plays Marion Penrose was probably the more decent actress on this film and thank god for that, because even though Terry is the main character, she is pretty forgettable as a lead and the actress, Laurel Munson is very unskilled. Marion is a more interesting character; Penner gives a solid performance throughout the entire film and during the last minutes, she displays a lot more strength and histrionics, while managing to stay serious and avoiding the campiness. The ending is campy by itself, but Penner doesn't make it more bizarre. The two other girls were awful; Sara Ansley, who portrayed Nancy, was a model whom Gronquist had found through a talent agency and maybe she was an excellent model, but as an actress, she was terrible.

The filming locations are probably one of the best things about "Unhinged", since most of the action takes place at the Pittock Mansion, which is the perfect scenario for a horror film. The place is beautiful for sure, but it's also eerie and it gives a feeling of uneasiness, since the girls seem to be lost and trapped in that isolated location.

Throughout the entire film, we hear a weird synthesizer music that doesn't really fit for a horror movie that is supposed to be serious and creepy, but somehow, it works well in this film.

While this film doesn't really offer anything that special to the horror genre, I found the twist in the end to be rather interesting and fun. I have read other reviews stating that the twist was predictable and unoriginal, but I myself don't feel the same way and it's one of the reasons why I love this film so much. The thing about "Unhinged" is that, clearly, it is a less than perfect movie, but there's just something about it that makes a lot of people love it, without being able to explain why and I am one of those. I love this film and I regard it as one of my all time favorite slasher flicks, even though I also understand that it isn't all that great either.

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