Unhinged
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2006
I just finished watching Unhinged and found it to be an entertaining 80 minutes of low budget horror. Though there's less blood than most '80s slasher films, it's well-made and features a good cast. There's a few genuinely creepy breathing-in-the-darkness moments, a somewhat shocking, find-the-bodies scene that utilizes some unique camera work, and an atmospheric quality that actually works. Of course, being a low budget film, there are some problems. Don't expect groundbreaking, high art, and, if you like the older slashers such as The Dorm That Dripped Blood and Sleepaway Camp, you probably won't be disappointed.

However, if you do appreciate low budget horror, you'll probably be annoyed and disgusted by the "comedy narration" special feature. This commentary by "The Detractors" was by the far the most obnoxious, hackneyed, insulting, and unnecessary feature I've ever experienced on any DVD. A group of writers and would-be gadflies who had nothing to do with the film strives to be MST3K, but ends up sounding like an inarticulate group of drunken frat kids with no understanding of the horror genre. It's the sort of reaction you'd get from a 5 year old who has just been exposed to surrealism for the first time. "That is SO stupid! Stupid! I don't get it!" They make fun of one actress's teeth. Nudity gets overreactions of "whoa, yeah!" They attempt to skewer overhead camera angles by making bird sounds. They see the name of the director and joke about how he hasn't achieved a high level of success. Great satire, really great. Way to stick it to Don Gronquist. How brave. Basically, it's really, really embarrassing. The fact that these people, with no knowledge or comprehension of low budget filmmaking, were hired by the distributor to childishly insult everyone involved in the making of the film is offensive to the viewer, as well as the cast and crew. Seriously, when you're the creator of "Too Much Coffee Man," you really shouldn't be throwing big, banal stones around your little glass Portland-area apartment. Why this desperate and mean-spirited attempt at comedy was included in the official release is inexplicable. If there's any poetic justice in this world, everyone involved in this Detractors debacle will have their artistic work showcased 25 years after its creation, only to learn that it is being done so for ironic purposes and that a group of children who know nothing about comics or journalism is waiting in the lobby to point out Brian Vandiver's bad teeth and Shannon Wheeler's receding hairline. Well, that's my rant. It's obviously sad and disproportionate, but if you've experienced this commentary and have any respect for the people who make cheap, independent horror movies, you probably understand.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2009
No point in lying in this review, I'm just going to tell the truth. Unhinged is a slow, boring, badly acted, badly written, cliche slasher film with only four death scenes. Yes of course these are all true, but there are so many things that are cool about this movie that people don't pay attention to.

The movie is about three cute college girls going to a concert (through a backwoods road of course!) and getting their car stuck in a ravine. They end up sheltered in a secluded mansion with a spinster in her 40s and her sexist mother. If things weren't strange enough for the girls they start to realize they are being watched by somebody and eventually they get killed off one by one.

I think there is a reason this movie is so slow with a very long build up, and this is because there are only four deaths. It's not like it's stab-slit-slash-hack the end, there wouldn't be a movie if it was just that. This movie is slow so you can look forward to the murders or at least the twist ending because both the murders and the ending come out of NOWHERE! The murders actually caught me off guard because each of them come up at random, which makes you wonder who is going to die next. Along with the unexpectedness of the murders, the murders are actually pretty disturbing especially the final murder which is gory and downbeat. The final murder reveals who the killer is and why they're killing which consists of the murderer hacking at one of the girls while rambling insanely as they soak in the girl's blood.

There are some cliche elements in this movie like the presence of peepholes in some of the walls, a character stumbling into a pile of dead bodies, the entire fact that people need to drive on a highway instead of a back road so they won't be killed, and many other aspects of this movie are originally from movies such as Psycho, Last House on the Left, Three on a Meathook, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and then there are some elements in this movie that were later used in other movies such as Sleepaway Camp and even The Dorm that Dripped Blood.

There are also some unsettling moments in the movie (not including the murders) such as a character finding a tooth under one of the beds in the mansion, a scene where the final girl finds a guy peeking at her through her bedroom window, the previously mentioned pile of dead bodies scene, a cool and suspenseful chase scene, and finally the twist ending which just blew my mind because right when you think the movie is over the twist comes out of nowhere. The music is nice too, it adds to the rather depressing and downbeat atmosphere. The acting is pretty damn bad but to be fair the spinster (played by Janet Penner) was actually pretty good and the main character (played by Laurel Munson) seemed truly terrified towards the end of the movie.

Overall it's not a movie for everyone. I loved it like crazy but I've read so reviews dumping on the movie that it makes me wonder if we're not watching the same movie. Anyways, if your want a gory fast paced splatter film with great acting then forget it. If you are VERY patient about movies and want to watch a movie with not a lot of gore but great nudity and creepy atmosphere then it's a must see.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2012
If you take a look at plenty of reviews for the film you'll notice it seems that a good portion seemed to rather dislike Unhinged. I disagree completly with the negative reviews of this one. I find Unhinged despite being flawed in various ways to be an interesting and often creepy slasher film. Now let's get the flaws out of the way. First off Unhinged is extremely poorly acted by pretty much everyone in the film aside from the actress who plays Marion. They spit out silly dialogue left and right and seem as if they are sleepwalking or just flat out bored by acting in this film. If only the film had better actors we'd have a possible perfect film but in some ways the bad actors do give a certain bad movie charm to the film. Another problem is the pacing of the film. Though I thought the film was highly enjoyable many others think it's talky and slow. Some scenes do linger on a bit too long but that's an amateur filmmaker for you. They never know where to edit and Unhinged does suffer a bit from this but like mentioned I didn't mind a bit. The conversations were interesting at least to me. Plus they were usually odd enough to keep you interested. Now those are pretty much the 2 major flaws the film has. Other then that Unhinged is a creepy unnerving film with a terrific atmosphere and oddly enough an original enough storyline. It's very easy to see where the director was going and he really for the most part accomplished his goal. He clearly wanted to make a slasher film that focused on the suspense rather then a bodycount. If only he fixed a few flaws.
Now Unhinged does have a shocking final twist and it's a real good one that truly does make the film 100 percent more effective. One film, a year later did the same twist in a slightly different way. That film went on to be far more known then Unhinged ever became but in it's own right Unhinged did this twist as well as that film did.
Unhinged overall is a creepy film with a knockout final twist. It suffers from poor acting and some pretty awful editing but it is quite an effective film.
Well worth a watch for slasher fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2008
3 girls are stranded at this old ladies house and get picked off one by one all the while every time this happens the remaining girls or girl think nothing of it asking the old lady why didn't whats her name get back yet from hours ago or whatever and they seem to be not so worried. The continuality is horrible as the girls have totally differnt clothes on from scene to scene(in one scene a girl has different clothes on after panning across the room and back!)There's a quick shower scene with a couple of girls from back in the day before shaving was in style).Being a guy i thought i'd mention the only redeming quality of this terrible boring mess of a movie,oh yeah 1 of the kill scenes was cool,but both of these points are a combined total of 20 seconds long and you have to deal with the other 99.5 percent of this stinker. Totally not worth your time unless you want to torture yourself waiting for some fun slasher action to take place,as i mentioned that's a couple seconds long,minus the boobs and bush.It's also very far in between the rest of this snoozer. I can,t see why this was banned in the U.K.,didn't they have Porkys' and Friday the 13th there. If your curious remember that old saying curiosity killed the cat. Don,t touch this if you see it in the dollar bin like i did, life's too short but not short enough to write this and help out my fellow humankind. Save your dollar for a candy bar or homeless person on the street corner. Revised update haha!but in the end I'm a sucker for atomospheric mood settings and loopy moog snyth soundtracks. On second viewing ....some 5 years later,this slasher flick has rubbed off on me. And I would say check it for a few bucks.....and a few beers ...the movie was still horrible but in an enjoyable way
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2006
It's almost always the case when you speak of an early 80's horror film, that you'll speak of bad acting, trite dialogue, cheesy effects and that grainy look. all of the above are represented in this below average early 80's horror flick.

This is one of those movies that was banned from video during the video nasties campaign in the U.K during the 1980's

I would say this movie is pretty tame to get that label but some films, I believe may have been banned due mostly to the title or artwork on the cover of the film ("Driller Killer" (1979) comes to mind)

Anyway, while the film does have it's moments, "Unhinged" drags along at an almost painfully slow pace, with very little action until the last 30 minutes or so. While the body count is low, the styles and gore of the killings would be pleasing to fans of the genre. The ending is well worth the wait, which has an unexpected, nice twist.

If you don't expect too much you'll find this film pleasing but there are better horror films out there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2009
I feel inlove with this low-budget horror when I first saw it,Unhinged is actually a very dark and chilling horror film.I won't say it's the best horror film ever made but it's in a class of it's own.Now I work in the music industry and I must say the film score is absolutely chilling and one of the best horror film scores using analog keyboards at that.I will admit that the whole BANNED FILM info about it doesn't help sell the film,watching it you'll say 'okay this movie isn't gory why was it banned?'I highly recommend seeing the film,if you like low budget horror films that were surprisingly good and your'e not a stickler on the storylines in movies...you'll enjoy this movie:)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2010
I loved unhinged. It started off slow and alot of the movie focuses more on the intense drama of the situation in which 3 friends Nancy, Gloria and Terry are caught when their car goes off the road on the way to a jazz fastival. Enter Marion Penrose- a slightly awkward, quiet and delicate woman who lives alone in a grand mansion-like home with her sexest, bitter, wheel-chair bound mother, Mrs. Penrose. Nancy and Terry are fine from the collision but Gloria will have to stay off her legs and rest for a while. In the attempt to contact their parents, Marion informs them that there is no phone. To get to a phone one of them will have to walk through the woods to town- where several young females have gone missing lately. In the following nights- Terry begins hearing heavy breathing; male heavy breathing and suggests this to Marion. Marion insists it is nothing. Until Nancy starts her trek to the woods and is violently slashed by a hooded apparition with a long scythe. Will Terry survive the horror that awaits? I won't spoil the rest as it has a 'killer' twist- and although slow at times dont let that stop you from buying it! Its a great film and I highly recommend!
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 5, 2005
In the wake of the legendary controversy over Tobe Hooper's THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974), John Carpenter and his then-partner Debra Hill created a modest but well-made little independent horror film called HALLOWEEN (1978). Wildly successful--much to the surprise and delight of its creators and distributors--HALLOWEEN was a trailblazer in the horror sub-genre known alternately as "splatter" or "slasher" cinema and thus became the inspiration for countless imitations of varying quality that were released throughout the 1980s (and even beyond).

1982's UNHINGED is one of those HALLOWEEN wannabes. Like Tobe Hooper's film before it, UNHINGED was shot outside of Hollywood (in this case, Oregon) using mostly local (and unknown) actors. And as with both Hooper's and Carpenter's films, it was made on a shoestring budget. Unfortunately, the cast and crew of UNHINGED didn't have the one underlying thing that both of those other films had going for them--talent!

It would be impossible to enumerate all of the copious flaws in this film, so let's just tick off the obvious ones. First, the smoke-thin plot of UNHINGED is highly derivative: Three young girls on their way to a rock festival lose their way and wind up in the clutches of a family of loonies. Genre fans will recognize this basic outline from the plots of countless earlier films, not the least of which are genre greats like Hitchcock's PSYCHO (1960) and Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) and THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977). Secondly, the acting is atrocious. Especially lacking in thespian abilities are the girls portraying the three young concertgoers, who most of the time come off as simply stoic cardboard cutouts that talk. Thirdly, the cinematography is marginal, and the night scenes, especially the outdoor ones, are murky, often making it difficult to see what's taking place. And finally, the film's runtime is often padded out with unnecessarily long fades between scenes and lingering shots of trees and other exteriors. This quickly becomes an irritation to the viewer.

Though they are few and do not outweigh the bad, UNHINGED is not without its good points. These include a couple of delicious nude scenes, one of which has two of the pretty female leads showering together. Also, the atmosphere is perfect for a horror flick. The film is set primarily in an old, isolated Victorian mansion, and most of the time the weather at this locale is either rain or a dreary overcast sky. A delightfully eerie ambiance. The requisite kills offered--death by scythe, an axe through the head, and repeated stabbing with a machete--are also pretty good, although the actual dirty deeds take place just outside the frame and are therefore implied. Lots of realistic-looking blood in the aftermath, though, makes up for the off-screen action.

Much has been said by other critics about the film's "surprise" ending. Though there are a few hints to the ending elsewhere in the film, it is true that the revelation at the film's climax will surprise many viewers. However, the same sort of surprise ending was carried off to better effect in the following year's SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983), and the later film also had much more talent both behind and in front of the camera.

There's also a lot of talk about the fact that UNHINGED is a "banned" film. Yes, it was on the notorious "video nasties" list in the UK. But after screening UNHINGED, modern viewers will scratch their heads and wonder what all the hubbub was about. By today's standards, the gore and violence are minimal, and residents of Great Britain see just as much nudity, if not more, on the telly each day.

The DVD release of UNHINGED from Brentwood is inexpensive enough, but even so, serious film buffs will balk at the quality of the disc. The digital transfer is at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and while this appears to be the original aspect ratio of the film, the fuzzy image quality and occasional appearances of translucent rainbow swirls makes one wonder if the disc was mastered from a VHS tape. And the extras are sparse. The only bonus feature worth viewing is a segment from an Oregon-based TV talk show in which the film's director, Don Gronquist, and actress J.E. Penner are interviewed. If there are any doubts about the filmmakers' lack of talent and showmanship, this interview will clear things up. The only other extra, a comedic commentary, is a waste of precious time.

In short, UNHINGED is truly a minor footnote in the history of horror films. Ardent fans of the slasher sub-genre might want to view it once for "academic" purposes, but the average viewer will want to avoid this flick like they would the Plague.
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I will have to buy this DVD after Netflix-ing it just to check it out. Any fan of bad bad movies and MST3K will LOVE this bit of early 80's Halloween rip-off treasure. The soundtrack synth freak-out John Carpenter moog-splotation is worth the price alone.

And with all apologies to the other reviewers of this DVD, but the "comedy commentary" had me laughing SO HARD my stomach hurt. It made me realize how much I miss the magic of MST3K.
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on March 4, 2013
I heard a lot about this movie thinking it was going to be very good. I read a lot online and it seemed interesting but the movie sucked. When I watched the ending I was angry with myself for buying the dvd. It was not scary. It was boring and not much action. The ending sucks. I recommend you don't see this film but everyone is different. If you want to give it a try I would reccomend renting it first then buying it. Cheers!
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