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Film Review: Don’t Go Near the Park (1979)


A pair of ancient siblings spend their days staving off the effects of a curse that has been placed on them (which causes them to rapidly age) by killing others and devouring their entrails.


I have seen my share of stinkers in my lifetime, and believe me when I say that Don’t Go Near the Park definitely falls into that category. As a matter of fact, it is pretty damn close to the top of the list. From the silly plot to the terrible characters to the horrible acting pretty much nothing works for this film and I had a very hard time making it all the way through to the end without giving up and just ejecting it from my DVD player several times. Still, against my better judgment I toughed it out and hoped that it would improve as it progressed but it just wasn’t to be. In fact, I think that it may have even gotten worse as it plodded along to a very predictable and unoriginal ending that was supposed to be shocking and unexpected to viewers (at least I think that was what the filmmakers were going for anyway).

With a name like Don’t Go Near the Park I was expecting it to be a fun little horror film in the same vein as Don’t Go in the House, Don’t Go in the Basement, or any of the other countless horror flicks that have the word “Don’t” in its title but I was wrong (when I think about it, Don’t Watch This Movie would have been a more appropriate title for this film). Utterly and completely wrong. Instead of being about some psycho slaughtering people in the park (which is what I thought it was going to be about) it is a weird flick about a brother and sister who must kill and feed on their victims in order to stay young due to a curse that was placed on them thousands of years ago. I’ll admit that on paper it sounds promising and even a little interesting, but unfortunately the movie doesn’t turn out that way. Instead ends up being a goofy, boring, ridiculous mess of a film that is just pretty much pointless in every possible way.

One of the reasons it is so bad is due to the fact that I didn’t give a shit about any of the characters. I don’t think that there is a single likeable one to be found anywhere and just as a general rule (for me anyway) it is very hard to enjoy a movie if the characters are so bad you don’t care if they live or die. I think that of all of them that Gar (who later goes by Mark) was the worst as I cringed each time he appeared on camera. Not because he was scary or remotely intimidating or anything like that, but because he was just so damn cheesy and just a horrible character in general (not that any of them were much better but he just really stood out as he annoyed the piss out of me in every possible way imaginable).

I also didn’t like that the plot was all over the place. It starts out with Tre and Gar being cursed (which is a laughably bad scene that lets you know off the bat you are in for a rough time) and then shows them running around killing random people. Gar then hooks up with this chick (played by Linnea Quigley) in order to have a kid (the curse can be broken if Gar can produce a child and then sacrifice it when it turns 16 and is a virgin). The film then jumps ahead 16 years and focuses on Bondi, who is Gar’s daughter as she tries to avoid being sacrificed by her dad and aunt (who is now going by a different name and is in disguise). Are you confused yet? Try watching this thing and you will be even more confused.

So yeah, I really didn’t enjoy Don’t Go Near the Park for a number of reasons if you couldn’t tell. It was pretty bad and other than seeing a young Linnea Quigley briefly (who must have been desperate for work at the time to accept the role) there is really nothing positive I can say about it. Check it out if it sounds like something that you would be into, but just don’t expect it to become your new favorite movie or anything.

Don’t Go Near the Park (1979)

About Todd Martin

Todd Martin grew up in Irvington, a small town in Kentucky. Thanks to his mother, father, and favorite uncle he started watching horror films at a very young age and has been a horror geek ever since. He is basically a walking encyclopedia of horror flicks (especially the 80’s slashers), comic books, and pro wrestling, and has been writing for the biggest majority of his life.

His first book, Nightmare Tales was published in 2006 and he has had several short stories published in several collections. He and his wife Trish published their book “The Gardener,” a horror novel that is a throwback to the slasher films of the 80’s in 2011 and he is working on a collection of short horror stories When he isn’t reviewing movies and books or doing interviews for Horrornews.net he has been known to act from time to time as he has appeared in a handful of low budget horror films. He also enjoys writing screenplays and enjoys making movies as well. He wrote the segment “Angel” which appeared in the 2004 film “Tales from the Grave 2: Happy Holidays!” which was produced and directed by Stephanie Beaton, and recently appeared in Tim Ritter’s film “Deadly Dares: Truth or Dare 4.”. He resides in Kentucky with his wife Trish, their cat Buffy, and their wiener dog, Cujo

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