Don’t Look in the Basement (1973)

dont look in the basement poster 1973 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 4/10

Interesting story concept

Poor acting, horrible quality

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Don’t Look in the Basement

Studio:  American International Pictures, Inc.

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  September 1973

MPAA Rating:  R


Don’t worry, you’re safe…you aren’t in THE BASEMENT!!!!

A young nurse named Charlotte Beale (Rosie Holotik) transfers to an isolated asylum where Dr. Stephens (Michael Harvey) tries a revolutionary new treatment to get the patients to enact their problems while work through them.  When she arrives, Charlotte is told that Stephens has died, and Dr. Geraldine Masters (Annabelle Weenick) is now running the house.  As Charlotte begins to know the patients, she notices something is wrong, and all the answers might be hidden in the basement…if she dares to look!

Originally titled The Forgotten (Don’t Look in the Basement was the U.K. title and has since been used in rereleases…at one point it was also known as Death Ward #13), the movie was directed by S.F. Brownrigg and released in a double bill with Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left (they both used the tag line “to avoid fainting, keep repeating to yourself, ‘It’s only movie”’).  The movie was ultra-low budget and shot in twelve days but has gained some cult status.


You guys…you’re wacky!!!

I have to say if a title has “Don’t” in it, it automatically gets better…It’s like telling a kid not to watch it (I know, that is what they are going for).  The movies often are shockers and gore based, but like this one, aren’t even really shocking.  The gore isn’t very gory and the quality of the film is awful.  As the bodies pile up, the situations in which they die get crazier and crazier (but not particularly gorier).

The movie’s acting is awful but that just adds to the movie.  With the low budget and bad acting, it almost feels like it is going to turn into a porno.  The acting isn’t helped by the scripting which has insane people trying to act sane.  It is this poor acting that helps the movie actually kind of work at points, but the film shots are horrible.


So, he’s a little dead…I’ve had worse

The plot twists of the movie sometimes are quite clever.  The idea that Masters isn’t a doctor but a patient isn’t very shocking (she responds too weird to the attack on Dr. Stephens), but the question of Charlotte’s sanity does add new ripples.  I wish it had been true and that she was also crazy.

Don’t Look in the Basement (I much prefer that title to the generic The Forgotten) is a rather fun grindhouse style picture.   The movie is in public domain and often can be found online or part of massive movie packs.  It isn’t a masterpiece, it isn’t great, but it is fun and not long.  I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I wouldn’t mind seeing this remade at a better quality, with better actors, and a better look…It could work.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

2 Comments on "Don’t Look in the Basement (1973)"

  1. cliff January 17, 2018 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Ah, too bad you’re not a Brownrigg fan. I like to see him as a very cheap, B movie Polanski.

    • JPRoscoe January 19, 2018 at 10:21 am - Reply

      I liked the set-up of this movie, but didn’t love the execution (I also like how Friday the 13th Part V just used the opening of this film)

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