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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on March 15, 2002
...This is a movie that is 95 minutes of unrelenting boredom! Mind you that out of the 95 minutes of dreadful film making, only 5 minutes (the most) contain any violence or "horror." Perhaps if there were some good suspense found during the film I would have been sufficed with the minimal action on the screen. But this movie, which can induce the strongest of minds into a state of catatonic, is so pointless and dull that the only suspense found is seeing if you will be able to resist yourself from jumping out of a window. Scene after scene we are greeted to horrible "music"--lets face it, this has to be one of the worst soundtracks in the history of film--and horrible acting. But the hell with bad acting and low production value. The point is that there is nothing good to be found here. In fact, if there was only one good thing about this movie was the little hottie who spent most of her time trying to seduce men into falling in love with her. I think on two occasions she exposed her wonderful breast (no one in the movie fell in love with her, but I know I did). If you take Lover Girl out of the movie, you will find yourself with a suitable tool for suicide. Please, if you are thinking about watching this movie, remember this: Don't look in the Basement, should be titled "Don't look at this Movie!"
I am not allowed to give this movie less than a star, that's why I gave it a star. It should be 1 Black Whole, cause that is where your sanity will go after you watch this thing
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on May 29, 2003
Those who remember back to the good old drive-in days where a number of horror films played might recall this film being a big hit, along with "Last House on the Left", which it constantly played with as a double-bill. Now that we've grown up we can see what amateurish, zero-budgeted tripe this was. Few characters are of any interest (I liked Sam, the black popsicle-sucking half-a-mind and the cynical telephone repairman who is wary of the goings-on) but this is certainly not worth your time other than curiosity value.. worst of all, the titular basement doesn't come into play until the very end!! Although that's around when the best scene happens, when the mastermind of all the murderous mayhem gets a most bloody comeuppance, followed by most of the psycho cast getting theirs. Not much else to recommend, but the DVD transfer is good. Gore fans won't be overly pleased overall, but this was 1973, after all.
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on September 1, 2000
This film was actually on the original video nasties list in the UK, but after watching it you'll wonder why. It is a very low budget film about an asylum where the inmates take contol. There are many diverse crazies inside, and the ending is the only real gory bit of the film. It ends up being silly, and can't escape its cheapness. The DVD is poor. The picture is below average. The sound in mono is a little muffled, but that's because of the age and budget of the film. The extras consist of interactive menus, some film facts and info on the director and screenwriter, and some previews of other films from the distribution company. Overall a poor film, it just looks so cheap and amateur, with a below average DVD transfer.
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on February 11, 2004
Nurse Charlotte Beale has just come to the Stephens home for the criminally insane. She has no idea that Dr. Stephens has just been butchered by one of the patients, nor does she know about the nurse who was killed. Charlotte meets Dr. Masters, who explains about the doctor's sad demise. Masters is reluctant to take her on board. That is until nurse Beale says she'll have to let the folks at her old hospital know about the tragic event. Charlotte is hired and introduced to the "family" of patients. There's "The Judge", the same homicidal maniac who attacked Dr. Stephens. Then we have "The Sarge", a vietnam vet with more than a little Post Traumatic Stress! Next up is Allison, the nymphomaniac of the group. Also, there's Harriet, who clings to a doll and protects it with fury and venom. Sam is the popsicle-addicted gentle giant with the heart and mind of a child. Danny is the obnoxious brat, always stirring up trouble with the others. A delusional old woman and a bipolar gal round out the folks on nurse Charlotte's new roster. Unfortunately for her, the patients know far more than she does about what's really going on in the house. What terrible secret is hidden in the basement? What is it that Sam keeps trying to tell Charlotte? S.F. Brownrigg has put together a pretty good tale of murder, madness, and mystery. Much of the same crew of actors would go on to be in "Don't Open The Door" six years later. DLITB belongs in any horror collection...
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on October 22, 1999
Gotta warn you of one thing - it says above that this movie is in the widescreen format... nah-ah, it's full screen, there's no letterbox. That was kind of a downer because I'm a big fan of the director and have seen this movie many times and was looking forward to seeing what I was missing on the sides. But, aside from that, this is great - the transfer's good, the gore is (apparently) intact (I read an interview with Brownrigg once where he said they used real animal intestines in one scene and when they tore them open they'd started rotting in the heat and all the actors were about to throw up, and you only see a _little_ hint of some innards toward the end, but those may have never made it into an official print, anyway). This movie is incredibly cheap, often really funny (ol' Mrs. Callingham, gotta love her! :) ), but still has this unrelenting aura of insanity. It's goofy... but it breathes down your neck. And it's amazing that a horror movie works so well when the colors are some of the brightest you're ever going to see in a movie. My friends and I can practically quote this one word for word... even if it's not letterboxed, I'm glad that someone had the good taste to release this excellent obscurity on DVD! Completely weird and unique cheapie... definitely worth checking out if you're into the strange stuff. :)
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on September 9, 1999
At long last, Brownrigg's masterstroke 'Don't Look in the Basement' is available. This is the one set in the mental hospital, where all the inmates go (even more) nuts, and start killing everything that moves.
This is a nice uncut transfer, with plenty of detail, and few weak spots (considering the old 1973 prints available previously). The whole package looks fantastic due to some arresting cover art, and the disc has a very nice interactive menu screen, through which you can access the usual stuff. No trailer is included, but we get to chance to savour some other trailers for horror films forthcoming from VCI. See their website for more info on these.
So, at the end of the day, should you buy this? Well, if you're a fan of this film, or indeed any stupid B-movie, then this is definitely for you. It's good to see that VCI have released the uncut version. As I said, it's a crisp, clean print, nice sound and as much gore as you would expect.
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This movie is a (I am repeating myself) clear cut example that you can do thrilling movies with no money, but plenty of imagination.

The producer managed to create a suffocating atmosphere. This is what the movie is all about. The plot slowly unfold and grabs in a way that you cannot escape. Ressources are limited , but are used to the max. The head nurse story took me (a veteran horror movie watcher) by total surprise.

For less than $10.00, it is must for B-Movie and Horror movie fans
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on February 17, 2015
Inspired by a Poe short story, Charlotte (Rosie Holotik) has come to work at an asylum after the doctor had recently been killed. She encounters quite the cast of characters which made the film enjoyable. The film is a camp horror classic. Do all redheads act like Carrot Top? MST funny.

Nudity (Betty Chandler- lone film credit)
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on March 26, 2004
Let's face it: this film is not for everyone. The average spectator will find it gruesome and senseless, but if you love 70's horror films you must REGARD "Don't look in the basement" as a masterpiece: the atmosphere is insane, the characters depicted are sickening. The Brownrigg's work is like a meeting between Tobe Hooper and Alfred Hitchcok. A real classic in the making.
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on May 17, 2000
An incredibly cheap single set movie with a pretty good story. The acting is atrocious and the direction is worse, but so what? If you can just follow the story and not worry about the extreme and obvious low budget it was made on, you will enjoy this movie.
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