80's Horror Central


Dial HELP!-1988

"Dial HELP" is a tedious and disappointing Italian supernatural thriller from legendary Italian director Ruggero Deodato ("Cannibal Holocaust").

PLOT: A model (Charlotte Lewis-"Excessive Force") is haunted and tormented by telephones, thanks to a malevolent ghost. People around her begin to die gruesomely...usually involving a telephone.


Wow, am I disappointed. With the solid talent behind (as well as in front of) the camera, I was expecting a solid Italian erotic thriller. Instead, I got a lame supernatural b-movie with little gore, no sleaze, and one of the lamest endings I've ever seen. The video's box art is misleading to say the least. Lewis is scantily clad (supplying an ample amount of cleavage), features a tagline that has nothing to do with the plot, and at the top of the box in bold red letters reads "AN EROTIC THRILLER". What a shit load of fuck! Ruggero should be ashamed of himself.


The film's premise is ridiculous to begin with, but having your main character continue to use and answer the phone, the very things that is attacking her, makes no sense at all. If you were being stalked by telephones...wouldn't you stop using telephones??? People are strangled by phone cords, dial tones cause people to have heart attacks and fish to die, and Lewis finds herself strangely aroused by telephones on several occasions. It's a mind numbingly bad premise and the film's deaths are stupid and poorly executed.


The scene in which Lewis dolls herself up in lingerie and takes a sexual bath is probably the highlight of the film (and the only time you get a glimpse of nudity). Another strong point is the film's score and soundtrack by Goblin frontman Claudio Simonetti. I couldn't believe the man behind "Cannibal Holocaust" and "House at the Edge of the Park" wrote and directed this turkey. His next film would be about a killer washing machine...he obviously didn't learn his lesson from "Dial HELP".


"Dial HELP" features a death by payphone coins, exploding mirrors, some nice shots of Rome, big 80's hair, and a badass theme song called "Baby, Don't Answer".








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