Film: Don't Go in the Woods

The severed head is a good deterrent.

Don't go out in the woods tonight, you probably will be thrilled
Don't go out in the woods tonight, you probably will be killed
There's a friendly beast, who lurks about
And likes to feast, you won't get out
Without being killed, and chopped up in little pieces
The Credits Song

Don't Go in the Woods (which sometimes has ... Alone! tacked on to the end of it) is an infamously inept 1981 Slasher Movie and Video Nasty, and the Trope Namer for Don't Go in the Woods.

The plot, as it were, depicts two couples (Craig and Joanie, and Peter and Ingrid) heading into the wilderness near an unnamed town, intent on camping out over the weekend (to the chagrin of Peter, who thought by "camping out" his friends meant "get a cozy cabin somewhere"). As the quartet hike through the beautiful countryside, a grizzled and deranged mountain man (simply credited as "Maniac" and called "the Wild Man" in one scene) who lives in a hidden, dilapidated cabin begins picking off random people who happen to be in the forest. The Maniac's preferred weapon is a big, homemade spear.

Along with the usual hikers and campers, victims also include a bird watcher, a pair of tourists, a honeymooning couple, an artist, a fisherman, and a lone man in a wheelchair.

As the maniac is running amok, the four main characters soon realize something is wrong. They become scattered after Craig is murdered, forcing them to fight for survival in the dangerous wild on their own.

Meanwhile the local sheriff — after putting off investigating the numerous missing persons reports filed as of late — begins looking into the disappearances. Although it may be too late...

The film recieved a special edition DVD release by Code Red in 2006, after being in VHS Hell for several years. The release came with a variety of special features, such as two commentaries, an hour-long featurette composed of interviews with those involved with the production, old TV spots, and much more. In 2009, Code Red put this release back out as a part of double feature with the similarly-themed The Forest.

Deron Miller is a big fan of this film, to the point that he participated in the commentaries of the aforementioned DVD. Make of that what you will.


If you go down to the woods today, you're sure for a big surprise...:

  • Batman Gambit: The maniac leaves a trinket-covered stick lying near a hiker, who grabs it. When Peter hears the hiker approaching thanks to the jingling stick, he lashes out, and accidentally kills him.
  • Battle Couple: Peter and Ingrid kill the maniac together, stabbing him what was probably over a dozen times each.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: The maniac's junk-filled cabin.
  • Bear Trap: The fisherman gets one to the face.
  • Breast Attack: While the maniac is hacking away at Joanie with a machete, he hits her in the breasts a few times.
  • Broken Heel: Alma trips several times.
  • Bury Your Disabled: A guy in a wheelchair, who apparently decided it would be a good idea to go out hiking unassisted, gets decapitated.
  • Caught in a Snare: A pair of campers, and Joanie (though that time was courtesy of Craig).
  • Creator Cameo: Several members of the crew (including the writer) appear as background characters, or victims.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: After Cherry glimpses something, Dick goes out to take a look around, and is attacked.
  • Fingore: While Craig is setting a trap, Joanie activates it, causing a rock to fall on his fingers.
  • Gasshole: Craig:
    "Do you... smell something? Strange, sickening... awful?"
  • Genre Savvy: "Killer like this you probably won't get with one shot."
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Peter and Ingrid go psychotic on the maniac, stabbing him over and over again, only stopping when they notice the sheriff and his posse have surrounded them, guns at the ready.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ingrid kills the maniac with his own machete.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The maniac takes some bodies back to his cabin, indicating this.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: The fisherman gets a bear trap thrown into his face.
  • Infant Immortality: Turns out the maniac didn't kill the artist's baby, but took her. Unfortunately, he dies, leaving no one aware of this.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens to the artist, while she's being stabbed over and over again.
  • Jurisdiction Friction:
    • "Stop messing in county business, Jesse. The sheriff will take care of everything outside the city limits. We're city, he's county."
    • "Just got a call from the national guard. No copter. They say it's county business, gotta take care of it ourselves."
  • Kensington Gore: Most of the blood was a mix of barbeque sauce and red food coloring.
  • Lazy Bum: What the sheriff initially comes off as.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The song at the top of the page plays alongside incredibly cheesy muzak done in the style of "Teddy Bear's Picnic".
  • Machete Mayhem: Joanie, and the maniac's deaths comes from the blade of a machete.
  • Peek-A-Boo Corpse: While in the maniac's cabin, Peter and Ingrid set off a trap that sends Craig's corpse swinging towards them; later, Joanie runs into a strung up corpse at a trashed campsite. And finally, while exploring the maniac's cabin, Joanie's body falls onto the sheriff.
  • Red Shirt: The woods are crawling with them, providing bodycount fodder for the killer.
  • Title Drop: "Don't Go in the Woods Alone? Yeah, always bring somebody along... to carry your pack!"
  • Token Minority: The police department secretary, and one of the sleeping bag victims (or both, it's hard to tell).
  • Torches and Pitchforks: An angry mob, led by the sheriff and Deputy Benson, is assembled to hunt the maniac down.
  • Vigilante Execution: Rather than leave things up to the authorities, Peter and Ingrid decide to take on the maniac themselves.