Other Versions of this Movie

Don't Look in the Basement


Nurse Charlotte Beale arrives at the isolated Stephens Sanitarium to work, only to learn that Dr. Stephens was murdered by one of the patients and his successor, Dr. Geraldine Masters, is not very eager to take on new staff. Charlotte finds her job maddeningly hard as the patients torment and harass her at every turn, and she soon learns why Dr. Masters is so eager to keep outsiders out.

The Forgotten (more commonly known as Don't Look in the Basement) is a 1973 horror film.


The film is set in Stephens Sanitarium, a secluded rural mental health institute whose chief doctor believes that the best way to deal with insanity is to allow the patients to freely act out their realities in the hopes that they will snap out of it, so to speak. The film begins with an elderly nurse in Stephens Sanitorium making her rounds. After a troubling incident in which a patient threatens her life, she decides to retire, and goes out to visit the chief doctor, Dr. Stephens, to inform him of the decision. Unfortunately, in the process of therapy (which involves chopping wood with an axe), the crazed former magistrate known as Judge (Gene Ross) accidentally lands the axe in Dr. Stephens' back, apparently killing him. The shaken nurse returns inside to finish packing, where she is attacked by Harriet (Camilla Carr), a patient who accuses her of stealing her "baby" (actually a plastic doll). The patient kills her by crushing her head in the nurse's suitcase.
The only remaining doctor appears to be Dr. Geraldine Masters (Anne MacAdams), who is greeted by Charlotte Beale (Rosie Holotik), a pretty young nurse who informs Dr. Masters that Dr. Stephens had hired her a week ago. Dr. Masters begrudgingly allows her to settle in. The young nurse meets the patients, including a lobotomized and childish man named Sam (Bill McGhee) who enjoys popsicles and his plastic toy boat, a nymphomaniac and schizophrenic named Allyson (Betty Chandler), an emotionally dependent woman named Jennifer, an octogenarian woman named Mrs. Callingham who spouts bizarre poetry and mistakes flowers in the garden to be her own children, a prankster named Danny, a Shell shock Sergeant (Hugh Feagin) who lost his mind after accidentally killing his men in Vietnam, and the crazed judge who seems incapable of speaking in anything other than courtroom jargon and the repeated phrase "My name... is... Oliver... W... Cameron..."
Dr. Masters becomes disturbed when a telephone man comes to investigate the faulty phone system at the institution. Mrs. Callingham's tongue is ripped out of her mouth during her sleep, although Dr. Masters tells Charlotte that Mrs. Callingham did it to herself. The audience later discovers that Dr. Masters is actually a patient at the institute, and that Dr. Stephens had allowed her to pretend to be a doctor. Dr. Masters burns the Sergeant's hand after he disobeys her, and murders Jennifer for stealing medicine. After a frantic conversation with Allyson, Charlotte discovers Dr. Masters' secret. Mrs. Callingham indicates to Charlotte that it was Masters who cut out her tongue, apparently to prevent the elderly woman from disclosing the secret. Charlotte then discovers the body of the telephone man in the kitchen closet, presumably murdered by Masters to make sure he would not report the institution's location to anyone on the outside. Allyson is distraught, as she thought the man was going to marry her, but she convinces herself that the man is still alive and drags his body to her room so she can have sex with it.
Charlotte realizes that her life is in grave danger, and she tries to escape. Judge informs her that they all know Masters is a patient, but that they think Charlotte is a patient also. Charlotte finds that all the windows and doors have been boarded by Masters, preventing an escape. Sam then leads Charlotte to the basement, where she is startled by a man grabbing her ankle and beats him to death with a toy boat. She realizes that it is Dr. Stephens, but not before finishing him off. Sam, at the direction of Masters, leads Charlotte upstairs, apparently so Judge can axe her to death. Sam thinks Charlotte murdered Dr. Stephens on purpose, so he helps restrain her. However, he has a flashback from his lobotomy (which Masters had assisted with), and lets Charlotte go. He then leaves the room as Masters cowers in a corner. As Sam leaves, the other inmates enter with weapons, and the Judge brutally axes Masters to death. Sam is deeply disturbed, and grabs the axe and proceeds to kill all the other inmates except Ms. Callingham, who is not in the room. Charlotte is already outside, having been told of a secret exit in the basement by Sam. She wanders around outside as the camera goes back to Sam, who, while eating a popsicle and viewing the carnage, cries to himself.


  • Annabelle Weenick as Dr. Geraldine S. Masters
  • Rosie Holotik as Nurse Charlotte Beale
  • Bill McGhee as Sam
  • Camilla Carr as Harriet
  • Gene Ross as Judge Oliver W. Cameron
  • Rhea MacAdams as Mrs. Callingham
  • Jessie Lee Fulton as Jane St. Claire
  • Robert Dracup as Ray Daniels
  • Harryette Warren as Jennifer D.
  • Michael Harvey as Dr. Stephens
  • Jessie Kirby as Danny
  • Hugh Feagin as Sgt. Jaffee
  • Betty Chandler as Allyson King


Filming took place at the site of Westminster College in Tehuacana, Texas.
This was a very low-budget film widely released to drive-in theatres in the early 1970s on a double-bill with Wes Craven's film debut, The Last House on the Left (1972 film). The films shared the tagline, "To avoid fainting, keep repeating to yourself: 'It's only a movie.. it's only a movie.. it's only a movie..'" Rated R by the MPAA for scenes of gory violence.
This film was one of several satirised in the 2010 series of Elvira's Movie Macabre.


In May 2008, it was announced that a remake of the film was being planned by directors Alan Rowe Kelly and Anthony G. Sumner. Filming was scheduled for October 2008 in Indiana with a planned 2009 release.<></> However, this version never came into fruition.


In December 2013, a sequel titled Id: Don't Look in the Basement 2 was announced with Anthony Brownrigg, son of S.F. Brownrigg, directing. The film was shot in Texas in March/April 2014 and used several of the same locations from the original film.<></> A trailer debuted in early May 2014 with a promised release in the fall of 2014.

Category:1973 films
Category:1973 horror films
Category:Psychological horror films
Category:American films
Category:American horror films

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