Don't Look in the Basement (1973)
Nomination Year: 2003
SYNOPSIS: Should be "Don't Look," period. In all fairness, from a certain standpoint, the premise and one or two of the plot twists are actually good. But the acting, budget, and most of the rest of the plot all suck. A controversial psychiatrist who runs a small asylum is killed by one of his patients on the very day that a) one of his nurses quits and b) her young and beautiful replacement arrives. The girl is met by the only remaining staff member -- a stern, no-nonsense harridan -- and shown the ropes of the late doctor's experimental treatments. Sure, there are no doors on the patients' bedrooms, but the house itself is a fortress from which nobody can enter or leave without Dr. Bitchy's say-so. We get to meet the patients and learn their psychoses. One thinks he's a soldier, another a judge/jury/executioner; there's a nymphomaniac (of course), and a woman who protects a baby doll as if it were her own real baby. Eventually, we learn that Dr. Bitchy is really one of the patients, too, and that the lovely nurse is actually there alone, locked up with all the crazies!
- Acting Appropriately Stupid
He's Just Axing for It!
If there was ever a scene embodying the "This Can Only Lead to Tragedy" principle, it's the good doctor's revolutionary new contribution to psychology: Axe Therapy. Give the lunatic an axe, let him loose outside to take out his frustrations with it, and then turn your back on him while you encourage him all the way: "Use the Axe, Judge!"
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