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Forums Index -> The Terror Tube -> Dying Room Only (1973)-- My Movie Review
ngs091
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:00 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 31

Dying Room Only

True Terror Done Real

By

Nick Schwab





Sometimes terror comes from the everyday. Sometimes it comes from the unknown. In the 1973 Tele-Horror film, Dying Room Only, it comes from both.

Dying Room Only is about a couple, Jean and Bob (Cloris Leachman and Dabney Coleman,) who after a small argument while driving across the desolate desert stop at a run-down café. After they seemingly make up, the woman, Jean, goes to the restroom, and when she comes back her husband has seemingly disappeared.

All alone and afraid, Jean asks both the one worker ( Ross Martin) and the only customer (Ned Beatty, a year after his famous Deliverance role) at the café, who allegedly know nothing, saying he must have split out on her, yet they are not eager to help. Jean suspects something terrible happened and the two men seem greatly suspicious to her, as well. How will she unsolve the mystery?

With a teleplay by one of the finer horror-suspense-thriller writers of any generation, Richard Matheson--based on his short story-- Dying Room Only is a film of claustrophobic fear and dread. Director Philip Leacock evokes a sense of unease and tension (mostly) all in this one location, doing what many modern directors only dream--- making a damn good movie out of it. As at a scant 74 minutes, not a scene and probably not even one dialogue exchange is wasted.

This friends is what this era had in spades-- artistry; as in not the Hostel and Saw, stereotypical dumb-fuck frat-boy fantasy blood and guts. Nor does the film take place in fantasy land, as this film has true terror in the ordinary and the unknown; because adults should not be as scared of fictional monsters, no matter how good n’ fun the films are. Real life can be much, much scarier than fiction.

The horror behind the mystery in Dying Room Only is not exactly unexpected. Yet, that is not the point, either. It is realistic, not cinematic. Really, the two complaints one has with the film probably have more to do with it being a Made for Television movie.

First, the small amount of actual violence is not realistic, in other words, it seems polite. The other fault Dying Room Only has is the film ends on “something” of a happier note. Again this viewer wanted it to go for the dark-side in both of these instances, much like the similar film, The Vanishing, a film that was done exactly fifteen years later, and may be better, but that is again mostly due to that bleak end note.

So, if you can still find this little gem, I would highly recommend it. Dying Room Only is a classic example of cinema as both a terror ride and a finely scripted work of art.

8.5 / 10 (In 0.5 increments)


Last edited by ngs091 on Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:00 am; edited 3 times in total
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ngs091
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:33 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 31

Has anyone seen/ or at least heard of this movie?
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Dr. Mirakle
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:37 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 745

I haven't seen this one, or heard of it before now - but it does sound like one worth checking out if possible. Is it hard to find?
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ngs091
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:32 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 31

It only survives on VHS.

The ones on amazon.com are extremely pricy. There might be other websites to get it though.
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