21 May 2024
Don't Answer the Phone (1980)
94 min.
Directed by Robert Hammer.
With James Westmoreland, Flo Gerrish, Nicholas Worth, Ben Frank, Pamela Bryant, Denise Galik.
Cheap, greasy and formulaic. (Is that how you like 'em?)

Disturbed maniac Kirk Smith (Worth) phones in to therapist Lindsey Gale's popular radio talk show on a regular basis: disguises his voice, complains of headaches...and all but begs for someone to catch him before he commits more atrocities.

You see, Kirk likes to kidnap young women, tie them up and abuse them physically, then strangle them as they beg for mercy.

This unhinged Kirk - he ain't a good guy.

So Dr. Gale (Gerrish) joins forces with police investigator McCabe (Westmoreland) in the hopes that they might stop Kirk before he kills again...and again.

For lovers of drive-in grindhouse grit, this minor sickie is not the absolute worst, thanks mostly to an over-the-top performance from Worth, who seems to revel in Kirk's loony obsessions.

But for most other viewers, Phone fails to be anything but a low budget psycho exercise by rote. The acting is par for the course, the plot mechanics predictable and the overall feel too routine.

Also known as The Hollywood Strangler.

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