In this episode of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks, I talk about one of my favorite “best worst” movies, the Mexican slasher Don’t Panic, aka Dimensiones ocultas (1988). Equal parts Nightmare on Elm Street ripoff, after school special, and lame Christian movie, this devilishly bad block of 80s cheese was directed by Rubén Galindo Jr. and stars Jon Michael Bischof, Gabriela Hassel and Juan Ignacio Aranda.
When Michael celebrates his 17th birthday by playing with a friend’s Ouija Board, he unwittingly unleashes Virgil, a supernatural slasher who rains bloody murder down upon Michael’s high school classmates. Plagued by psychic visions and nightmares of the gruesome kills, Michael first thinks he’s going crazy until he realizes the victims in his dreams are dying for real.
Michael makes the unlikeliest of heroes as he whines and tantrums his way through the bulk of the movie wearing dinosaur pajamas that his mom bought him. He also finds time to pull off some rad bike moves and date a dreamy girl with an otherworldly unibrow. Will Michael find true love? Will he stop Virgil from killing again? And perhaps more importantly, do you believe in Satan?!
Devilishly stupid, Don’t Panic is ridiculous, fun and totally enjoyable. It’s overflowing with unintentionally hilarious scenes that elevate an indecipherable plot. Yes, it’s awful, but it’s the best kind of awful! If you’re looking for a “best worst” horror movie to watch this Halloween, forget Troll 2 and get your hands on Don’t Panic! Recommended nonsense that I lovingly rate 2/10.
Plus, visual effects master Screaming Mad George created the film’s special effects. The plot, script, and acting may all be dreadful and silly, but the special effects are undeniably solid.
Look for new episodes of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks every Monday and Thursday from now until Halloween. And be sure to check out the other episodes in the series:
Episode #1 – Shivers (1975)
Episode #2 – Strange Behavior (1981)
Episode #3 – The Killer Shrews (1959)
Episode #4 – The Antichrist (1974)
Episode #6 – Spider Baby (1968)
Episode #7 – Targets (1968)
Episode #8 – Feast (2005)
Episode #9 – The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Episode #10 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Please also take a minute to support my own horror movie: Eggs – A Horror Movie starring Lynn Lowry (Shivers, The Crazies, Cat People, etc.) and Duane Whitaker (Pulp Fiction, Feast, The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween 2, etc.), now funding on Kickstarter! As always, there’s a contest at the end of the video: Be the first person to make a pledge and leave a comment on Kickstarter with the correct answer to get a bonus prize added to your reward.
Ryan Stockstad is a Los Angeles filmmaker with a passion for horror, documentary and experimental cinema. He has written articles for HC Magazine, Mostly Harmless Magazine and various blogs and websites. He has lectured on topics as diverse as low budget filmmaking, short story structure, and the influence of the Spanish Civil War on surrealist cinema. He hosts new episodes of Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October.