"Why?", I can hear you ask, "What's so bad about this one?" Actually, I imagine most of you would see the title and not bother asking. Most movies with "Don't" as the first word in their title are movies that "Don't" get very high praise. When the second word is "Go", most sane viewers will "Go" rent another movie.
But not me! I suffer for you, baby! I am your filmic scapegoat suffering through this DOG (and a Video Nasty, no less) so you won't have to. But those of you still wondering "Why?", let me tell you a bit about Don't Go Near The Park.
Co-writer Linwood Chase along with Pen Pal Lawrence D. Foldes (who also directed) take us back 12,000 years where two cave people (who not only have well coiffed 1970s-ish hair, but also speak fluent English with American Accents) are condemned by a Tribal Elder to walk the Earth forever aging ten years for every one they live through (sounds like high school) but never dying. Their crime? Eating children. Their defense? "But we're your children!" How do they break the curse? If at the end of the 12,000 years they can sacrifice an innocent child (who must be descended from them) and damn that child's soul for eternity, the Dumb Duo can gain eternal life.
So, to recap, as punishment for killing the tribe's children, two of the tribe's children are cursed unless they... kill one of the tribe's children. Isn't that kind of like forcing a kid who got caught stealing Candy Bars to steal a Porsche?
To make sure this film doesn't start making any sense, we're rocketed forward to the late 1960s where we learn that the two Neolithic Douche Bags are still doing okay and looking pretty decent considering the fact that they're 120,000 years old (do the math). What's their secret? Pearl Cream? Oil of Olay? A membership to 104,832,000 Hour Fitness? No. Their secret is... EATING CHILDREN! Wow, this movie is full of surprises. I wonder what's going to happen next. Surely a child isn't going to get eaten, because that would be... WOW!
But, seeing as how it's the late Sixties the Evil Cannibal Lady named Tra (who also goes by the name of "Petranella", Mrs. Griffith and, no I'm not joking, "PATTY", as played by Barbara Bain, who also goes by the name of Barbara Monker) insists that her brother stop sucking on teenaged guts and go knock some chick up so that they can break the curse. Because said brother Gar (AKA: Mark as played by an actor named Crackers Phinn who apparently doesn't go by ANY other names) looks vaguely in better shape than his commonly wrinkled up big sis, he's more than up for the task and decides quickly to disco down and check out the show.
Yep, Linnea Quigley is back and actually gets the "Introducing" credit in the main titles, although this was her sixth screen credit. It takes every bit of eleven minutes and five seconds of screen time for her to get naked. Thank you, Linnea! Pretty soon they're raising a bouncing baby girl named Bondi. The first half of the film essentially deals with GarMark babying Bondi until she's Sixteen years of age (and played by Tamara Taylor) and non-acting his way through a series of familiar scenes of stock footage and tired ideas, all at the expense of his hot wife Linnea and all while scary ass Patty is watching.
The second half essentially follows Bondi after she bolts from Mom and Dad (because they argued at her Sweet Sixteen party) and ends up in "THE PARK" where she moves into a broken down old Rancho, serving as a Halfway House of sorts for wayward kids... and run by Tra/ Petranella/ Patty Griffith! That's nice of her, really, but also incredibly inconsistent, seeing as how most of the wayward teens that she comes across... she eats. Surprised? Man, for some reason she loves the three dorky kids she's adopted though. Sure there's Bondi, but there's also little 8 year old Pervert Nick (played by Meeno Peluce who went on to star in all 20 episodes of that goofy '80s Time Travel show Voyagers!) and "Cowboy" (played by Chris Riley who went on to star in... nothin'!). In spite of the fact that home-bitch is munching on the gizzards of every other teen that staggers through the park, she seems to have genuine concern for these goof balls.
That's only one of the many incongruities that lace up and beat down the swatted fly that is Don't Go Near The Park. This is a pretty damned nasty gym sock we're talking about here. Interestingly, it hardly ever feels like a horror movie. In most places it feels like an ABC Afterschool Special, especially after Aldo Ray's Taft takes a nearly-NAMBLA interest in Nick. With the grainy production and the horrid and outdated Synth Score I actually would have thought they never got out of the '60s. If not for the buckets of gore, topless teens getting their livers ripped out and eaten and, of course, the Nudity, I'd have expected a commercial break preceded by an announcer droning some crap about returning to Disney's The Wonderful World of Color in just a moment. You think I'm kidding? Watch this lettuce wedge and tell me you don't start thinking about My Three Sons. If Uncle Charlie was a Cannibal, we'd be in business.
And it goes on like that until the lame ass and incredulous final battle that includes such ridiculous moments as Neanderthals shooting Lasers from their Eyes and, lest this film border on the remotely realistic, a Zombie Rampage. Yes, Yes. And this was an American flick.
Those of you who watch this flick for the gratuities, prepare for more than a little frustration. From the silly gore effects (taking a page from their Italian Superiors, we find real butcher shop rejects wrapped in flesh-toned rubber) to optical effects that look like film scratches to the depressingly bad editing (thanks for nothing, Dan Perry), you'll wish you stayed in and watched Flash Gordon instead. Case in point: Mark uses his unexplained McGuffin-Vision to mind-control Linnea Quigley into slowly and tantalizingly removing her silky, white nightgown, which dances across her tight skin on a layer of heavenly energy... and just when it gets to crotch level... the film cuts to a scene in church. Sigh. The Deleted and Extended scenes on the 2006 DVD Release do show a lot more (of Linnea, Tamara and more), and they make the film a lot more sensible and coherent (but not significantly better), which makes me wonder what the hell Perry and Foldes were thinking.
To be fair, they did have to edit this flick to keep it from getting an X Rating in the USA and it was banned in the UK as one of the infamous Video Nasties. On the other hand, you can't polish a turd! I'm skeptical that this cinematic cavity would even be remembered without the dubious distinction of the Video Nasty List.
But, hey, if you love bad movies, you'll have a hell of a time with Don't Go Near The Park, especially if you're a Linnea Quigley fan. This one is a laugh a minute and deserving of that dusty spot between Manos the Hands of Fate and I, Zombie on your DVD Rack. But, be warned, when you're not laughing, you may be snoring. Don't go near the Park... not even to walk your DOG! That's right... Don't Go Near The Park is a Dog! This Video Nasty is a Nasty Video. Neanderthals with Heat Vision and Rampaging Zombies rising again with the power of a 12,000 year old granny lady with a grudge. And those are the good parts. Fuck. FUCK!!!
Okay, enough. This is J.C. Mašek III, signing off and headin' for the tub. See you in the next 12,000 year old Reel. Naked.
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