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DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE! (director/writer: Robert Hammer; screenwriter: Michael Castle; cinematographer: James Carter; editor: Joseph Fineman; music: Byron Allred; cast: James Westmoreland (Lt. McCabe), Flo Gerrish (Dr. Lindsay Gale, Psychiatrist on Radio), Ben Frank (McCabe’s Partner, Sgt Hatcher), Nicholas Worth (Kirk Smith, Killer), Chuck Mitchell (Sam), Pamela Bryant (Sue Ellen), Tom Lasswell (Police Psychiatrist), Paula Warner (Carol); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Robert Hammer/Michael Castle; Crown International Pictures; 1980)
If you want my advice, skip this poorly made and acted mindless sickie pic.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This exploitative horror thriller is loosely based on the Hillside Strangler murders of the 1970s. If you want my advice, skip this poorly made and acted mindless sickie pic–it’s an awful pic, with no redeeming social values but offering instead plenty of sleaze. The misanthropic pic shows its hatred for women by making them the vics of a psychopathic, balding, overweight, photographer, bodybuilder, Vietnam vet (Nicholas Worth), who roams Hollywood strangling women with stockings and then raping them and mutilating their bodies. Afterwards the killer sells the photos taken to a porn dealer (Chuck Mitchell).

It’s directed by Robert Hammer, who fortunately made only this film in his movie career and spared us from seeing any more of his creations. Hammer and Michael Castle are responsible for the unappealing screenplay, that has dedicated macho cops Lt. McCabe (James Westmoreland) and Sgt. Hatcher (Ben Frank) hunting down the serial killer/rapist. Dr. Lindsay Gale (Flo Gerrish) is the strident daytime radio therapist, whose patients are the women being brutalized. The killer, with daddy issues, often calls Gale’s radio show posing as a Puerto Rican named Ramon and asking for advice about his headaches. One of the shrink’s problems is that her practice is shrinking after the demented killer begins offing her patients; the other problem is that she’s in great danger from the madman.

The plot leads nowhere except to the predictable outcome of the sicko vet’s demise, and the hero cop sending him on his way to hell and saying “Adios creep!”.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”