Vinegar Syndrome: Blu Reviewed: Don't Answer the Phone (1979) - Reviewed

When a disturbed veteran returns home, he begins a rampage that includes stalkings, rape, sodomy, break-ins and murder. 

As a photo snapshot that captures the fading moments of the '70s, this little horror gem is painfully cheesy but gives us an over the top killer that's totally out of his mind. 

Don't Answer The Phone may not ever be too graphic in its presentation of horror, but sometimes what we don't see is even more terrifying. Blending the murderous themes of the best slasher films of the decade with standard police procedural corniness, this is genre hybrid is a precursor to Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer and various other slasher films that take place in reality. 

Vinegar Syndrome recently acquired and released the 1979 post-Vietnam horror feature in a two disc set that includes a blu-ray and a dvd. This new disc is a brand new 4k transfer taken directly from the original 35mm print and includes tons of new special features including an interview with the star, Nicholas Worth. The video maintains rich colors while also keeping that old school grain look and feel that sets this apart from newer digital horror. Cult film elitists will definitely want to add this to their collection as Don't Answer The Phone is a part of horror history that still lives up to its cutting edge legacy. Hammer walks a fine line.

Cut from the same cloth as many other exploitive films of the era, this Robert Hammer movie is diabolical in its scenes of violence towards women. And it definitely plays into themes of male dominance and perversion. While its message of PTSD causing this type of mental break is simply unfounded, the inherent evil of killer Kirk Smith is the best part of the movie. Nicholas Worth owns this role, giving us one a believable cold hearted destroyer of beautiful women. 

A sample of how great this transfer looks. 

Using terrorizing scenes of forced sexual contact and the murders of numerous women, Don't Answer The Phone is a signature piece of vintage exploitation at its finest and boldest. Hammer's film touches on numerous tropes of the era by using nudity and death in an uncomfortable pairing that shows just enough when it's needed and is held back when necessary. While this might be considered low rung horror during present times, it was a major influence for many of the on screen killers that we've seen over the past thirty to forty years. 

With steady cinematography by James L. Carter and a great synth based score by Byron Allred, I'd suggest this strictly for its historical value as a cinematic work.

Special Features:
• Scanned and restored in 4k from recently discovered 35mm original negative
• All extras included on both Blu-ray and DVD

• Commentary track with writer / producer / director Robert Hammer
• Director introduction
• “Answering the Phone” video interview with star Nicholas Worth
• “For What It’s Worth” career retrospective with Nicholas Worth
• Isolated soundtrack by composer Byron Allred
• Original theatrical trailer
• Multiple TV spots
• Promotional still gallery
• 16 page booklet with essay by Michael Gingold
• Reversible cover artwork
• English SDH Subtitles