Unhinged (pre-cert UK video cover).jpg
This is one of the group of horror movies banned in the UK in the early 80's; which came to be known as the 'Video-Nasties'...   1 star   Cheese rating: 25% Dairylea Lite


directed by: Don Gronquist
starring: Laurel Munson, J.E. Penner, Sara Ansley, Virginia Settle, John Morrison, Barbera Lusch

(back of video blurb):
       "When Terry, Nancy and Gloria, three pretty young college students crash their car in a driving rainstorm on the way to a rock concert, little do they realize that their troubles are just beginning.

       Waking up in a mysterious old Victorian mansion in the middle of nowhere, they find them-selves cut off from the outside world.

       They are taken in by Marion Penrose, a middle-aged spinster and her mother, Mrs. Penrose, a demented old women with a pathological hatred for men.

       From here unfolds a violent tale of sexual repression turning again and again to savage brutality as it hurls towards its paralyzing climax!"

choice dialogue:

"A lot of really weird things are going on round here!...
Breathing, strange sounds, your Mother, now faces at the window-
I can't stand it!"

slash with panache?

       NO!... UNHINGED is an inept and boring 'psycho-drama' with all the oomph of a wet fart.

       The film opens with a radio droning away, the screen stays black for what seems like an eternity- (made me wonder if we were in for some kind of exploitation version of Derek Jarman's BLUE!).Meryl Streep and Jessica Lange they are not! But eventually a picture does fade in and the 'action' starts- cue a gratuitous ,but ridiculously short, shower scene as we are introduced to one of three thespianally challanged young women- who's dramatic abilities range from 'bored' to 'nasal'. These pretty ,but dreary, ladies set off for a rock festival, driving through a seemingly endless scenic atumnal countryside which goes on and on and on...(Already at this point I was having to pinch myself to stay awake. The director padding out the film with so many arial forest shots that I felt a coma encroaching)... Eventually something does occur (!)- the girls hit an object on a rain slicked road and career into a ditch. Unfortunately this wasn't a merciful release for the girls (or myself) as they are 'rescued' and awake in huge gothic mansion- deep in the woods. Soon it emerges that the house is run by a nutty Matriach and her belittled daughter. Two of the girls are invited to dine with the oddball pair- the third girl, too badly injured in the crash, and supposedly confined to bed- (in fact she hardly figures in the rest of the film, briefly turning up later as a bit of axe-fodder). The old the old 'axe in the head' gag in UNHINGEDwoman soon shows signs of mental imbalance- muttering about the evil of men and, much to the embarrassment of those around the table, she goes into some kind of trance seemingly transfixed on the mustard pot (!).... "I've see people with aversions before- but Jesus!", quips one of the girls . Once the interminable dinner grinds to a halt (without much else happening), we are confronted with yet another 'assault on the senses'- the first of two paralysingly dull piano concertos courtesy of the shrewish daughter. The only thing that stops a bout of communal narcolepsy for all involved (myself included) is the sight of a heavy breathing , shadowy figure stalking the house and watching those inside. The figure is briefly glimpsed by one of the girls who later hears the man, whilst she lies in bed, who sounds- "as if he was doing himself". Naturally an unseen man wanking in her bedroom somewhat worries the girl and she says to her friend "I have a hard enough time taking Cinderella and her wicked step mother, but this new twist has really given me the willies" (indeed!). But it doesn't worry her too much as she still finds time to take part in another gratuitous beaver flaunting shower scene, this time with her equally uninhibited friend. Needless to say the mystery figure is spying them through a peep-hole and indulging in a bit of the old five finger shuffle.....

       UNHINGED limps on in this fashion, punctuated by a gory murder here and a bit of nudity there- but without enough of either to really interest the viewer. (It may have gained the accolade of being prosecuted Briefly seen charnel house sceneas a 'video-nasty' in Britain, but most of the gore-fx are strictly of the 'throw a bucket of stage blood and see what sticks' variety). The twist ending (which actually caught me off guard- I was expecting something involving either a piano or a shower), is preceeded by a 'TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE-lite' romp and an attempt at a 'boffo' chase scene which is ridiculously short and seems even more so considering the incessant drudgery of the previous 70 odd (but not very 'odd') minutes.

       UNHINGED is not even saved by some truly awful dialogue, muttered by a lobotomised cast on horse tranquilizers. No, it is just a plodding, directionless mess and is something that an exploitation movie should never be...incredibly boring.


BODYCOUNT 4  bodycount!   female:3 / male:1

       1) Female slashed to death with scythe
       2) Female gets a axe in the fore-head
       3) Male shot in head
       4) Female hacked to death with machete