Don’t Open The Door Blu-ray Review

More Seventies Grindhouse Fodder From S.F. Brownrigg

The name S.F. Brownrigg may not ring an immediate bell for most people, even horror fans. Brownrigg was a regional filmmaker in Texas that directed grindhouse movies at their cinematic height in the 1970s. His genre movie career only consists of a few films. VCI Entertainment has paired two of his better known films together for an old-fashioned grindhouse double feature. Don’t Look In The Basement and Don’t Open the Door were produced and directed by Brownrigg, employing largely unknown actors outside of Texas.

Vaguely starting out as a slasher of sorts, Don’t Open The Door swerves into a deepening mystery with an obscene caller serving as the primary antagonist. When contacted about her ailing grandmother on the verge of death, Amanda (Susan Bracken) rushes home for the first time in thirteen years. Having survived the horrible murder of her mother as a teenager, the young woman is caught between the men fighting over her grandmother’s estate.

Don’t Open The Door has its moments with a hair-raising final act

It seems like everyone has a vested interest in the grandmother’s estate, from the town doctor to a creepy local that manages the town’s historical museum. What they all agree about is getting Amanda out of the picture. Amanda calls her friend Nick for help, a doctor. He immediately suspects trouble is afoot after checking in on Amanda’s grandmother.

The plot is driven by an obscene caller that starts harassing Amanda, taunting her. Before the era of caller ID and cellphones, prank calls and threatening messages weren’t unusual over the phone, especially for female victims. Don’t Open The Door follows a much more conventional plot than most of its grindhouse siblings.

This is an effective thriller, if predictable. Don’t Open The Door has its moments with a hair-raising final act. It’s perfectly acceptable as part of a grindhouse double-bill. Amanda is a spunky lead protagonist for this kind of low-budget thriller. Like Brownrigg’s other movies, it’s a quick and dirty grindhouse movie with decent plotting and solid performances.

Don't Open the Door

Video

VCI Entertainment has been known as an erratic label when it comes to videophile concerns, issuing problematic transfers on Blu-ray before that some labels wouldn’t touch. Don’t Open The Door receives an actual 2K film transfer as part of this S.F. Brownrigg Grindhouse double feature. Crediting a “new” digital restoration by Blair & Associates, it’s a serviceable 1.78:1 presentation. The film print is in decent shape, if washed-out with soft features.

Given VCI’s history on Blu-ray, Don’t Open The Door is given a new film scan from acceptable-looking film elements. It doesn’t have the detail or refinement of the best catalog transfers. But the 1080P video at least resembles the original film stock with solid clarity. There isn’t a lot of damage on the print. The color palette probably needs a minor tweak, as the unrestored film transfer has slightly faded primary colors and evidence of vinegar syndrome.

The two included main features share a single BD-50. Don’t Open The Door runs its presumably uncut 85-minute length, encoded in AVC at steady bitrates. That doesn’t prevent widespread chroma noise and other compression anomalies in certain scenes.

Audio

Both included films on this Grindhouse double feature come with adequate 2.0 PCM in mono. All things considered, the soundtracks have held up fairly well with intelligible dialogue that is decently recorded and presented. The scores are low-budget affairs, revealing limitations in fidelity and clarity. Let’s call this serviceable audio that fits right into their grindhouse ethos.

Optional English SDH subtitles appear in white fonts for both movies.

Extras

VCI Entertainment actually provides new special features for these cult S.F. Brownrigg grindhouse films. You get both Don’t Look In The Basement and Don’t Open The Door. The films have nothing to do with one another besides being directed by Brownrigg with many of the same production members.

It should be noted that Don’t Look In The Basement is in the public domain and has seen several other releases on DVD and Blu-ray from other distributors. It also should be mentioned that this double-feature set doesn’t include Tony Brownrigg’s commentary found on the Brinkvision Blu-ray. VCI happens to be the only label that has put out Don’t Open The Door on home video.

Both grindhouse movies come on a single Blu-ray in a clear case. Reversible cover art is included. This happens to be a Blu-ray and DVD combo set.

Don’t Look In The Basement 2018 Audio Commentary – Film historian David Del Valle and genre director David DeCoteau (Puppet Master III) discuss drive-in movie theaters and Texas genre filmmaking in this commentary. It’s a friendly, engaging chat. Their focus does drift away from the movie itself once their knowledge of the film is depleted.

Don’t Open The Door Production Notes (02:46 in HD) – A silent featurette that allows the audience to read the script and production notes on screen.

Don’t Open The Door Deleted Scenes (05:58 in HD)

Don’t Look In The Basement Theatrical Trailer (02:10 in upscaled HD)

Don’t Open The Door Theatrical Trailer (02:03 in HD)

Grindhouse Trailers And Promos (12:39 in HD) – Some gloriously cheesy trailers in classic grindhouse tradition. A couple of them are apparently upcoming VCI releases. Includes Night of the Bloody Apes, Beast of the Yellow Night, Terror, Bad Georgia Road, Dynamite Dixie, Hillbillys in the Haunted House.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray release was provided to us for review by the label. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit our about us page to learn more about DoBlu’s editorial policies.

Don't Open the Door
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  • Extras
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Don’t Open the Door is an interesting take on creepy phone calls by cult director S.F. Brownrigg

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