Bob Clark famous for his Porky’s films, here follows his banned classic, ‘Children shouldn’t play with Dead Things’ with a classic 70’s slasher preceding the likes of Friday 13th and the Burning, even Halloween for christ’s sake, by a handful of years, (1974) but interestingly lifting from many of the European giallo classics of the time, Bava in particular. Is this where it all began?
Here we have a Sorority house with many of the residents leaving campus for the festive holiday. A few stay behind only to be disturbed by a growing number of obscene threatening phone calls in a disturbing cackling and laughing creepy kinda way, later influencing Fulci’s ‘New York Ripper’ with his quacking phone call killer. The opening scene of the film also shows a bloke sneaking into the house and hiding in the attic. Slowly, one by one he picks off the girls in a gruesome and grisly manner, each followed up with a quick call to the remaining girls. It’s a scary situation and a great plot to hang a stalk n slasher on. There is some other stuff going on too, the subject of abortion and women’s rights is a strong and relevant thread.
John Saxon offers a solid classic performance, under recognized in this role in my opinion, favored for his other horror outings in Cannibal Apocalypse and Tenebre. Margot Kidder is stunning in what is probably her best role, charismatic, gleaming and full of pure natural charm and talent, although, does she have a glass (or bottle even) of whiskey in her hand for every scene?
It’s a great film, recently remade along with many of the other greats from the 70s & 80’s. I don’t think this film ever gained the respect it deserves.