The Nightmare Begins When You Wake Up

Directed by Don Gronquist.

Written by Don Gronquist and Reagan Ramsey.

‘Video nasty’ Unhinged is about three girls: Terry (Laurel Munson), Nancy (Sara Ansley) and Gloria (Barbara Lusch): who crash their car in a rainstorm on their way to a music festival. They wake up in a strange house. The house is owned by the Penrose family: Mrs. Penrose (Virginia Settle) and her daughter Marion (Janet Penner). There’s also a man called Norman Barnes (John Morrison). Gloria is injured so the girls spend the night. They join Mrs. Penrose and her daughter for dinner and then Terry and Nancy play dominoes while Marion plays the piano.

A man is creeping around outside and he watches them through the window.

Terry finds a tooth under her bed and later on she wakes up to the sound of someone breathing heavily as if masturbating. She wakes Nancy and tells her. They decide one of them should go through the forest to the village to get help and flip a coin to see who goes; Nancy loses the coin toss.

One very naked shower later, with someone spying on them (more heavy breathing), they tell Marion their plan for Nancy to go to the village.

Nancy sets off through the forest alone.

Back at the house, Terry hears a little of the family’s history from Marion and sees Gloria who’s still confined to bed. She has dinner with Marion and her mother. Again, following dinner, someone spies on them through the window. Later, Terry is once again woken up by the sound of heavy breathing. She follows the sound to a room that looks like it belonged to a child but there’s a gun and a machete…

I really like this film. It’s got a great atmosphere, the music by Jon Newton adds nicely to the atmosphere and it has a decent little story. It was a video nasty back in the 80s but it’s not that nasty, not really. There are kills, some gore, but it’s mostly story and atmosphere. There are no great acting performances but who would be expecting there to be? It reaches a very satisfying conclusion. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, check it out.

In my next review I’m going to look at Zombie Lake (1981). Till then…

If you like Unhinged you might also like:

Exposé (1976)

Lisa, Lisa (1977)

There Was a Little Girl (1981)

The Murder Secret (1988)