Don't Answer the Phone! (1980)
(Release Date: February 29, 1980)


I'd prefer 94 minutes of a Busy Signal.

J.C. Mašek III... 

Former Telemarketer!
J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!!!

Don't Answer the Phone! is yet another lame slasher film (well, strangler film) in which some douche takes out his frustrations on unsuspecting beautiful naked women. Yeah... sounds like little Johnny didn't get a Prom Date. Oh BOO HOO! I'm no Doctor (obviously, I mean... hell...) but I'm never getting this one. All these jackasses have to use some kind of charm to get these hot naked women into their lame-ass haciendas, so Mission Accomplished! Why kill 'em?
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Yeah, I don't like this turkey.

It's almost funny how writer/ producer/ director Robert Hammer stabs at the old Psychological Thriller angle here. His script (with co-writer Michael D. Castle) feels a lot like a cross between the relatively better parts of Maniac and The New York Ripper with just a smidgen of Dirty Harry thrown in to make us laugh at James Westmoreland's bad Clint impression.

Nicholas Worth (you'd recognize him) stars as a doughy, pudgy Vietnam Vet named Kirk Smith who has the approximate stability and class of Norman Bates in the Pilsbury Dough Boy's body. His hobbies include power lifting, photography, and Travis Bickle impressions. He's also into tormenting a Radio Call-In Shrink named Dr. Lindsay Gale (played by Flo Garrish) and strangling hot women he's lucky enough to be alone with.

I wonder if these douche bags ever stop and think "I'm Killing Women because I'm frustrated that I can't get one to come up to my apartment with me, so now that I have one alone with me in my apartment I'm going to... Hey... wait a minute."

Naturally, the cops get more than a little peeved that he's pulling a Boston Strangler in Los Angeles. Luckily for him the two cops are Westmoreland's Lt. Chris McCabe and Ben Frank's Sgt. Hatcher, so they're just going to bumble their way through the investigation until mere chance may or may not catch them the fish. These guys are real idiots, man. Not only is Westmoreland's sanctimonious impression of better cops hard to believe, but his overly stiff and uptight delivery constantly sounds like he's reading from Cue Cards. That makes the foul ups these cops blunder into all the more irritating. A ham-handed Brothel Raid, the Probable Cause breaking and entering into THE WRONG HOUSE! Was this supposed to be an episode of Police Squad without Drebin? Fuck.

This was Robert Hammer's only Directing and Producing credit, though he wrote for both Mannix and Quincy M.E.. While this isn't a good film, with practice he might not have been so bad. It's just too bad that this is what he came up with this time. Hell. Also, it's not as if this kind of movie can't work. Hitchcock's Frenzy is, at core, this kind of film, and it's a great one. This one doesn't even follow Hitch's lead. It's poorly acted and has the feel of a '70s Cop Show Rerun, but with nudity, violence and profanity. How this one didn't end up banned with the Video Nasties, I'll never know!

A DOG for Don't Answer the Phone, the serial killer flick that has almost nothing to do with answering phones. Yeah, this isn't When A Stranger Calls, kids. The first victim gets killed after receiving a phone call... from her mother and the killer taunts the Naked Doctor through her Radio Call In Show. So... "don't answer the phone, it might be your mother!" or "don't answer the phone on this radio call in show because we all want to get canceled!"? I don't know. I know the movie sucked. I know I'll see you in the next reel, and I know I'm expecting a call right now. But it isn't from Nicholas Worth, I'll tell you that for free!

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Don't Answer the Phone! (1980) reviewed by J.C. Mašek III.
With God as his Witness he will Never Telemarket AGAIN!
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