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Don’t Answer the Phone! (Katarina’s Nightmare Theater) 
Written by: on October 27th, 2012

Theatrical Release Date:
USA, 1980
Director: Robert Hammer
Writers: Robert Hammer, Michael D. Castle, Michael Curtis
Cast: James Westmoreland, Ben Frank, Flo Lawrence, Nicholas Worth, Denise Galik, Stan Haze, Gary Allen

DVD released: October 16th, 2012
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: R
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.95

Synopsis: A disturbed Vietnam vet moonlighting as a photographer goes on a killing spree.

Though the genesis for Don’t Answer the Phone! Began many years before its eventual release. Due to its content, it is often lumped in with the Slasher films phenomena of the early 1980’s.

Content wise, the film has many of the elements that would become synonymous with the aforementioned Slasher film subgenre. Like the all too familiar POV stalking shot, an ample amount of T & A and inventive death scenes. And yet despite these features, this film is anything but your typical Slasher film. Since there are no rear scares in this film and its narrative is more typical of what one would associate with a police procedural drama.

From a production stand point this film is well put together production that accomplishes all of its goals. The narrative is well constructed and there are no issues with pacing as things move along at good momentum. The film features a solid score from Byron Allred (Steve Miller Band) and visually cinematographer James L. Carter (Sweet 16) gives the film a polished look.

When discussing the performances in this film. All discussion begins and ends with its leading man Nicholas Worth (Swamp Thing) in the role of disturbed Vietnam vet named Kirk Smith, who masquerades as a photographer to lure and kill his victims. His gives a sublime performance that is head and shoulders above the rest of the cast.

The DVD:

Scorpion Releasing presents Don’t Answer the Phone! in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the films intended aspect ratio. This film was lasted released on DVD back in 2006 and this transfer is a marked improvement that transfer. Black levels are at best average, details generally look crisp and there are no problems with compression.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. Background noise is minimal, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 36 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a audio interview with actor James Westmoreland (21 minutes 53 seconds), two on-camera interviews with Nicholas Worth, the first one titled ‘Answering the Phone’ (13 minutes 43 seconds – letterboxed widescreen) and the second one titled ‘For What it’s Worth’ (8 minutes 54 seconds – letterboxed widescreen) and a audio commentary with writer / producer / director Robert Hammer and moderator Shane M. Dallmannn.

The extras do a superb job cover the various aspects of this production and the second interview ‘For What it’s Worth’ gives a well rounded overview of other films that Nicholas Worth has appeared in.

Also there are two ways to watch the main feature, ‘Play Movie’ or ‘Play Katarina’s Nightmare Theater’. This second option include comments before and after the main feature from Katarina Leigh Waters, who’s comments are done in a more analytical way as she gives a overall of who all the main players in this production are and she closes with her thoughts on the main feature.

Overall Don’t Answer the Phone! gets a solid release from Scorpion Releasing.

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