Donny is a very damaged person. After an incident at work sees one of his colleagues set himself on fire, we see Danny freeze with terror at the incident. This is explained through flashbacks. We see that as a boy his mother used to punish him by burning his forearms.
When he returns home from work he finds that his domineering mother has actually passed away. We then see her throughout the film in different stages of decomposition.
Donny then constructs a flame-proof room in his house and lures women back there to strip them naked and set fire to them using a flamethrower whilst they are hung up.
As a study of mental decay this is closer to Maniac than Repulsion. Lurid, sleazy and generally unsettling, this shocker deserves it’s notorious reputation.
The original title of the film was actually The Burning (the print I saw actually had this title card) but when the filmmakers found out that another film was being made using this name they quickly changed it.
The BBFC cut three whole minutes from this film for it’s cinema release and then banned it outright for video. Most of the cut material was from the first murder involving the florist Donny tricks into coming back to his house. And this sequence is VERY full-on! Theres shades of Ed Gein to Donny’s MO. But without Gein’s flair for interior decoration.
The first three victims he torches to death he then dresses in his dead mother’s clothes and places in armchairs. He rants to them as if they’re still alive which gives us a very darkly entertaining glimpse into his twisted psyche. He sometimes hears their voices.
As you can tell from the plot elements I’ve described above this certainly isn’t a film to put on in the middle of a family get together (unless you want them to leave of course). But if you love deranged, unhinged and off kilter horror then you’ll love this Check out the new Blu Ray release. The print is gorgeous.
4 out of 5 stars