91 user 96 critic

Don't Go in the House (1979)

R | | Horror | 28 March 1980 (USA)
A disturbed young man who was burned as a child by his sadistic mother stalks women with a flamethrower.


Joseph Ellison


Joe Masefield (story) (as Joseph R. Masefield), Joseph Ellison (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Dan Grimaldi ... Donny Kohler
Charles Bonet ... Ben (as Charlie Bonet)
Bill Ricci Bill Ricci ... Vito
Robert Carnegie ... Bobby Tuttle (as Robert Osth)
Dennis M. Hunter Dennis M. Hunter ... Worker
John Hedberg John Hedberg ... Worker
Ruth Dardick Ruth Dardick ... Mrs. Kohler
Johanna Brushay ... Kathy Jordan
Darcy Shean ... Girl in Car
Mary Ann Chinn Mary Ann Chinn ... Woman in Street (as Mary Ann Chin)
Lois Verkruepse Lois Verkruepse ... Woman with Kids
Susan Smith Susan Smith ... Girl in Market
Jim Donnegan Jim Donnegan ... Clerk
Claudia Folts Claudia Folts ... Body #1
Denise Woods Denise Woods ... Body #2


A slasher film about a victim of child abuse (Dan Grimaldi) who grows up to become a maniacal construction worker. He stalks women at discos, takes them home, then chains them up in a special steel-walled room and sets them on fire. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


it was too late to tell them... See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The house used in this film is now the museum headquarters of the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society in New Jersey. It was falling into disrepair at the time of filming, and shortly after in 1980, the town condemned it and slated it for demolition. That's when the local historical society took action and purchased the property. It is now called the Strauss Mansion Museum, named for Adolph Strauss who had the house built in 1893. There are exhibits in every room, ranging from local history to Victorian displays. The restoration work is still ongoing after all these years due to the massive amounts of money (through donations) needed. However, the house is still there and not too much has changed. Some rooms are recognizable from the movie, while others maybe not because of display cases. The society usually shows the film in the house in October as part of their month of Halloween events. The location is open every Saturday and Sunday from 1-4pm (April through December). Admission is free. It is located at 27 Prospect Circle, Atlantic Highlands, NJ. See more »


When Donny is in the steel room, he obviously is able to exit the room after the death of his first victim. But when Suzanne and Patty are in the steel room, neither of them can escape despite the one woman not being chained to the floor and ceiling. See more »


Mrs. Kohler: Donald, come here.
Little Donny: No mother.
Mrs. Kohler: You're a bad boy.
Mrs. Kohler: You're evil, and you must be punished.
Little Donny: No mother, please don't.
Little Donny: I promise to be good.
Mrs. Kohler: Come here i said.
Little Donny: No mother, please no.
Mrs. Kohler: Your father let you do things like that, but he's gone now.
Mrs. Kohler: [while burning the childs arms above the stove] I burn the evil out of you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC and the film later found itself on the DPP 72 list of video nasties. The 1987 UK video release was heavily cut by 3 minutes 7 secs and extensively reduced shots of nudity and graphic closeups from the scene of the chained woman being burned alive. See more »


Referenced in The House on Cuckoo Lane (2014) See more »


Late Night Surrender
Composed by Bill Heller
Available on Reflection Records & Tapes
See more »

User Reviews

It achieves what it sets out to do
26 June 2003 | by Maciste_BrotherSee all my reviews

I'll never understand people who complain that a horror movie is too gruesome or horrifying. It's like a person saying he/she didn't like a comedy because it was too funny.

The negativity towards DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE is odd. Yes, there is ONE moment where it's particularly gruesome and lurid but I've seen mainstream movies (LETHAL WEAPON 2 or TOTAL RECALL) where the super violent action was more nauseating to me than an entire film like DGITH. I suspect that a lot it has to do with the fact that DGITH is a low budget movie, with unknowns and made by unknowns, and those suffering from an elitist complex will renege anything if it doesn't look a certain way or stand-up to their (prefab) expectations. The great thing about DGITH is that it doesn't gloss over the violence. The film is grim, dour and depressing, as it SHOULD be.

Another notch against DGITH is that the story follows the depressing actions of the killer, who's the only main character of the film. And like so many horror films with the main character being the killer himself, few people identify with (or what to identify with) the killer, and because of this knee-jerk reaction towards the way the film portrays the killer, many dismissed it without even trying to see it for what it is. Ironically, the film is dismissed for what it is (and isn't) as much as the character it portrays is dismissed in reality for who he is. Oddly enough, I thought his friend was more annoying than the killer himself.

DGITH is not the greatest movie ever made. But it does what it intended to do: it unsettles and it's grim and unpleasant, with its post-Vietnam war tone. There's NO black humour in the film, and a lot of films these days like to include touches of black comedy here and there in serial killer stories. But I'm glad there aren't any touches of black comedy in DGITH. Its straightforwardness is actually what sets it apart from most films of its kind.

The only big mistake in the film is the tacky "surprise" ending that has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. Otherwise, the film is solid and packs a mean punch. And I dig that disco music!

So, if you don't like your horror movies with a depressive tone. If you don't like movies that don't look splashy or stylized, then DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE is not a movie for you. Personally, I think it's light years better than the overrated MANIAC (1980).

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Release Date:

28 March 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Burning See more »


Box Office


$250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Turbine Films Inc. See more »
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Technical Specs


| (extended) | (iTunes)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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