Don't Go in the Woods (1981)

R  |   |  Horror  |  September 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 3.5/10 from 1,801 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 76 critic

Four young campers, Craig, Peter, Ingrid and Joanie, back-pack through the mountains for a relaxing weekend in the wilderness. They are out camping in broad daylight, while someone else is ... See full summary »



(original story and screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack McClelland ...
Mary Gail Artz ...
James P. Hayden ...
Angie Brown ...
David Barth ...
Deputy Benson
Larry Roupe ...
Store Owner
Amy Martell ...
Artist's Child
Tom Drury ...
Laura Trefts ...
Dr. Maggie
Alma Ramos ...
Running Girl - Victim #1
Carolyn Braza ...
Cherry - Victim #2
Dick - Victim #3 (as Frank Clitus Muller)
McCormick Dalten ...
Bird Watcher - Victim #4
Cecilia Fannon ...
Lady Artist - Victim #5 (as Cecelia Fannon)


Four young campers, Craig, Peter, Ingrid and Joanie, back-pack through the mountains for a relaxing weekend in the wilderness. They are out camping in broad daylight, while someone else is killing tourists in the woods. Craig warns the others not to go into the woods alone. The hillsides are crawling with fat women huffing up hillsides, nerdy bird-watchers, and young couples. Most of whom meet gruesome ends at the hands of a deranged and growling back-woodsman with a sharp spike - who announces his presence by shaking the nearest branch and whooping. The 'happy' campers don't see a man and his wife being chucked off a cliff whilst they splash about in the river below. They enter a forest which becomes denser and darker as they progress. Peter and Ingrid fear that they are lost. Something large suddenly comes lunging forward with a gleaming machete. Craig slips dead to the ground as the machete cuts him up. Peter and the others flee screaming into the forest. The rest of the day and ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Everyone has nightmares about the ugliest way to die.




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Release Date:

September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Don't Go in the Woods... Alone!  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The fake blood used in the film is a mixture of red food coloring and barbecue sauce. See more »


Craig: [tying Joanne in a sleeping bag] Now I've got you, bitch! Let's hear you say uncle! Say uncle! Say it, bag of bitch! Say it! Say it, bag of bitch! Say it! Say uncle!
See more »


References The Hills Have Eyes (1977) See more »


(Theme Song)
Written by H. Kingsley Thurber
Sung by H. Kingsley Thurber
See more »

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User Reviews

Proof That Anyone Can Make a Movie
30 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There isn't that much to say about "Don't Go in the Woods". It is basically the most uninspired slasher film I've seen, and that's saying something from a guy who has seen every sequel, prequel, remake, and knock-off, and who in particular loves early 80's slasher gold. This is fool's gold. So what makes this movie worse than flicks like "Madman", "The Burning", "Prom Night", "The Prowler", and "Graduation Day"?

For starters, "Don't Go in the Woods" has absolutely no originality to it. The movie is basically a complete knock-off of the previous year's "Just Before Dawn", only "Woods" has more characters and deaths but lacks the atmosphere, suspense, and twist of "Dawn". This film is absolutely amateur in its making. It has a great atmosphere to use and doesn't use it. It doesn't allow any room for character development. Rather than creating suspense it jumps right to the kill. There is simply no use of artistic film-making or creativity in this entire flick.

Earlier in the week I finally was able to see another infamous B-movie slasher, "Graduation Day", which I thought was missing something. Compared to "Woods", "Graduation Day" looks like a masterpiece. "Graduation Day", along with "Friday the 13th", "The Burning", "Madman", "The Prowler", "Happy Birthday to Me", "Prom Night", "Halloween", "A Nightmare on Elm Street", "House on Sorority Row", "Just Before Dawn", "My Bloody Valentine", and others may follow a simple formula but it knows how to make that formula entertaining. Those movies have a rhythm. "Don't Go in the Woods" has no rhythm, but seems more like a bunch of footage of random, annoying people we don't care about or like getting killed in uneventful ways.

Watching this movie felt like it was taking hours, even though it was only 85 minutes. So why would I continue watching "Don't Go in the Woods"? It is a movie from a time period that will never return. Movies like "Woods" will never be released again. This is a grindhouse picture

  • a low-budget, cheesy movie that played in limited cinemas and never

went mainstream. It has earned a large cult fanbase over the past thirty years, and the title has become infamously famous for being a bad movie. For a horror fan, "Woods" is a sort of time capsule, a look back in time to when anyone could make a slasher movie as long as you had a camera. This time has come and gone, and has been forgotten about. For over twenty years, no one thought about "Woods", but the internet and DVD sales have helped bring it back.

The cult horror film "Don't Go in the Woods" is only a popular movie because it is so bad and at one point so unpopular. As a slasher film fan, I am glad to have seen it. The acting is atrocious, the writing is wretched, the effects and laughable, and the plot is absent. But with a few cool shots of the scenery, "Don't Go in the Woods" somehow can keep the audience's minds off its lack of substance. And does this movie really need any substance? That's a debatable question.

Definitely only a movie for hardcore slasher fans. Regular genre fans will most probably get bored and turn it off, and if you don't like horror movies or bad b-movies than steer clear and don't enter "the Woods".

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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