Don't Go in the Woods (1981)

R  |   |  Horror  |  September 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 3.5/10 from 1,802 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.




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Don't Go in the Woods... Alone!  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tom Drury, the actor who plays the Maniac, also worked as a singer. One of his songs can be heard playing in the deputies car early in the film. 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 »


Referenced in The Big Box: Christmas Evil (2011) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Come out of there, you pencil necked geek!"
22 March 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

There's "so bad it's good" cinema and then there's director James Bryans' "Don't Go in the Woods". This thing truly reaches a pinnacle of laughable absurdity. While it's not going to appeal to everybody, it's got a highly respectable go for broke attitude, an amazing body count, lots and lots of gore (once it gets going), terrible acting & writing, and a generous amount of belly laughs. These all make it extremely engaging entertainment.

Despite the title, there's plenty of people stupid enough to go into the woods and help our merry maniac (Tom Drury) reach record numbers. Grunting like a constipated pirate, and sporting a hilarious wardrobe, the killer goes about his business. Four outdoorsy types make up our main characters: Peter (Jack McClelland), Ingrid (Mary Gail Artz), Craig (James P. Hayden), and Joanie (Angie Brown).

Bryan swears that he intended this to be a comedy, and it's not that hard to believe him, given how utterly ridiculous his movie is. It hits the ground running - the first person to die bites it within the first three minutes - and delivers sadistic dark humour and bucket loads of blood. Bryans' explanation for the motive behind this murder spree is one of the worst / best that you're likely to hear. Our victims are a colourful bunch - an older couple making out, an artist, an ornithologist, etc. The randomness of the whole thing is delicious.

The dialogue and performances are just uproarious at times. Watch when one character sights the dead body of a friend, and marvel at the faces that they make. The cherry on this sundae is one of the most idiotic music scores that this viewer has ever heard, supplemented by a giggle inducing end credits song that borrows from the Teddy Bears' Picnic.

Objectively speaking, "Don't Go in the Woods" is flat out garbage. But for certain tastes, it's mighty fine garbage.

Co-star Artz actually went on to become a prolific casting director; her first credit in that capacity was "Halloween II", from the same year as this.

Five out of 10.

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