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Don't Go In the Woods (1982)

Dir: James Bryan

For reasons insane (nay…inane) this schlock fest was shoved onto the old UK 'Video Nasties' list.
What is the evil that lies within this beastly film? Let us see…..

Four fools are on a walking holiday in the Utah Mountains.
The head guide of the bunch is named Peter (Jack McCelland). Pete is a bit of an old Woman and moans all the time at the others for doing silly things like jumping off logs, as you never know…a snake could be lurking! Pete is not a bundle of laughs.
The others are Ingrid (Mary Jane Artz), Joanie (Angie Brown) and Craig (James Hayden who died of a drugs overdose in '83. Police refused to state if "Don't go in the Woods" was reason enough to add that little bit extra to the dose).

Little do our trekkers know a psychotic, fur wearing, beardy weirdy Wild Man, sporting a few love beads over his hairy visage, is roaming the wooded slopes bumping off the unwary.
The Sheriff (Ken Carter) is swamped with missing persons reports, but is too lazy to get his rather large arse in gear and instead blames the disappearances on bears.

But soon, as our four walkers meet the Wild Man, he has to face the facts…There's something nasty in them thar woods...!

 

From the start the viewer is warned that a far from classic film is about to unfurl before their eyes....The music!! The horrible, horrible…music!
A score that sounds like someone playing around on their 'Casio' keyboard, with the odd bit of Country guitar strumming, assails the ears in every scene. It's truly tiresome. And truly, truly...EVIL!
We even have a 'comedy cue' on certain scenes just to ram the nail harder into our skulls. A pox on one H.Kingsley Thurher for creating such a dirge.

More sound based unpleasantness is dished out in the dialogue. Not only do we have some of your typically crap lines, but most of them seem to have been dubbed on after, resulting in stilted speeches that sound like they were recorded in a small room. Which is made even worse when a character is standing atop a woody cliff!

But this said post dubbing does leave us with some wonderful entertainment (in fact, that is the end of the criticism of this film, as from now on the goodness this badness delivers is about to be celebrated) when in a sequence of a couple making out in a van we are given the gift of 'bad porn movie type dubbing'.
As the two unattractive types roll around we hear "Oh, oh, Cherry, Oh Cherry"…"Oh, oh Dick, oh Dick, Dick"! Said sounds of love end abruptly as Cherry hears a noise…"Oh Dick, it's just not perfect" she declares. Of course Dick flops out and proceeds to scour the nighted woods, all to the strains of Cherry's rasping, nasal tones "Dick! Dick! Dick!". It brings a tear to the eye...and makes blood leak from the ears.

These are some crowded woods as well. And here is where the film really delivers the goods.
Loads of people are roaming around just waiting to be snuffed. And it's a wonderful thing dear reader. A wonderful thing.
Victims, are just that...Victims! Nothing more.
Completely anonymous people, who we have never seen before, pop up, spend a minute walking/lying around, then get sliced 'n' diced in satisfyingly messy ways.
The highlight of these victims is 'Comedy Wheelchair Guy'! 'C.W.G' is first seen struggling up a rocky path...ON HIS OWN!
Yep, this wheelchair bound man (complete with funny Cowboy hat) is on a mountain trek on his own. He spends most of his brief screen time rolling backwards, getting stuck in holes and tipping over. He does eventually reach the top of the slope…but, in a 'laugh out loud moment', instantly regrets the effort.

And this Wild Man is my kind of nutbag. He's bumping off people left and right and with no anal psycho babble reasoning given. This Whiskery Weirdy just does it because he damn well feels like it! So there!

The kills are gory too. And very messy. One knifing has the red stuff splashed and sloshed around in such wild abandon you can't but help to warm to everyone involved in this trashy little flick.
Highlights include an arm lopping, a decapitation and tons of blood-drenched slashings and stabbings with knives and machetes and the Wild Man's trusty big spear (kept all warm and cosy by a huge fur muffler).

But (one machete murder later on aside, which is genuinely violent) the gory deaths are done in such a cheesy/black comic way (check out the sleeping bag deaths!) that the film becomes a classic example of not only a film where you sit and wait for the next gore scene (as your mind wanders during the dialogue sequences) but also a text book case of how a gory movie does not always mean a violent movie, just as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" shows how an amazingly violent movie does not have to be gory.
It's 'good time' slaughter, and it can't help but entertain. Shame about the lack of nudity though. Boo!
The end is satisfying as well. Blood spattered, crazy and given a final twist (which is a nod to an earlier murder) that is delightful in its cheesy charm.

This 'so bad it's good' 80's horror film making. A nostalgia trip, rounded off with a jaw-dropping bit of sonic insanity.
As the end credits roll the familiar strains of 'Teddy Bear's Picnic' drift towards us…But the lyrics are, well…slightly different…

"Don't go out in the woods tonight, you probably will be thrilled.
Don't go out in the woods tonight, you probably will be killed.
There's a friendly beast who lurks about,
And likes to feast, you won't get out
Without being killed and chopped up in little pieces".

I feel the need to steal from the legendary Joe Bob Briggs at this point in summing the content of "Don't Go In the Woods":
Arms Roll, Heads Roll, 2 Gallons Blood, 15 Dead Bodies, No Breasts, 1 Beast. 42nd Street Freak says 'Check this sucker out'.