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The Plumber (1979)

Not Rated | | Horror, Thriller | TV Movie November 1981
A young couple, living in a campus apartment complex, are repeatedly harassed by an eccentric plumber, who subjects them to a series of bizarre mind games while making unnecessary repairs to their bathroom.



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Complete credited cast:
Jill Cowper
Brian Cowper
Candy Raymond ...
Henri Szeps ...
David Medavoy
Yomi Abioudan ...
Dr. Matu (as Yomi Abiodun)
Beverley Roberts ...
Dr. Japari
Bruce Rosen ...
Dr. Don Felder
Daphne Grey ...
Caretaker's Wife
Meme Thorne ...
Anna (as Mémé Thorne)
David Burchell ...
Professor Cato
Paul Sonkkila ...
Reg the Cleaner
Pam Sanders ...
Rick Hart ...
Giovanni Giglio ...
Italian Singer


In Adelaide, the wife of Dr. Brian Cowper, Jill Cowper, is writing her thesis at home for her Master's in Anthropology. When the plumber, Max, arrives unexpectedly to do a routine check and maintenance of the the bathroom pipes, Jill is stuck alone at home with the strange, talkative stranger. That day, he mentions spending some time in prison, frightening Jill. She talks about this to her friend Meg, her husband Brian and the superintendent's wife, but they all believe the plumber to be a simple, but nice man. Jill does not agree. There is a problem in the bathroom that brings Max back again, this time even longer. Over time, the tension between them increases. Finally, Jill finds a way to get rid of the plumber. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She opened her door to... a nightmare! See more »


Horror | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

November 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wenn der Klempner kommt  »

Box Office


AUD 150,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the book '35 mm Dreams: Conversations with Five Directors about the Australian Film Revival' by Sue Mathews, director Peter Weir said of this film: "I think it was more a case of saying I could go back to something. The Plumber (1979) belonged way back with Homesdale (1971). It was done very quickly and with no fuss, to go straight into television without the attendant excitement of a cinema release with all its highs and lows. It reached an audience and played and I thought that's great, I've got that possibility of working on teleplays...The Plumber (1979) was made from one end to the other and played much better that way, given the tension that built up in the piece and the claustrophobic setting...it was written because I needed the money, which is sometimes a good way of doing things. It is a true story, though that is irrelevant to the audience. The couple were friends of mine and the plumber was based on someone I'd given a lift to once, hitchhiking, and except for the singing in the bathroom and the ending it is pretty much as it happened. In reality the plumber did leave, but my friend told me, 'the strange thing was that it brought out in me a kind of deviousness, a desire for the survival of my mental state that led me to consider doing really drastic things.' She was an anthropologist, studying those things, so I didn't editorialize. Her story about the incident in New Guinea when the chap came into her room, performed his ceremony or whatever and she tipped milk on him, was all from her thesis. I always thought of recounting that incident as an overture - to indicate that it was all going to happen again. And she had found herself treating it as some ritualistic thing. Like the fascination with the head of a weaving snake - she really, for her own self-knowledge, had to go through it. She had a certain pride and strength, she was not going to be forced out by this man. And obviously with a situation like that she swung wildly between that and thinking I'm going crazy with this whole thing, it is as straightforward as others see it." See more »


In the last shot of the plumber playing his guitar, there is music but he isn't moving his hands. See more »


Max: I'm not really a plumber, you know... I'm actually a folk singer.
Jill Cowper: [Gives a scoffing laugh] A *folk singer*?
Max: What's funny about that?
See more »


Referenced in Peter Weir Industry Seminar 1989 (1989) See more »


Revolving Patterns
Music by Keith Mansfield
Bruton Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

Better Than Expected...
17 September 2006 | by (OH - United States) – See all my reviews

I found my copy of "The Plumber" at a yard sale.

I have this silly habit of renting or buying what appear to be low-budget, very campy, or exploitive features to enjoy a good laugh or perhaps spot a popular celebrity paying their dues in the early days of their career. To those degrees, I was a little disappointed with The Plumber (although the low-budget part appears to be true).

I fully expected a "slasher-fest" and screams galore. Instead, The Plumber is about a doctor's wife left alone in the company of an annoying fellow (perhaps a plumber, perhaps not) who proceeds to annoy the hell out of her for the duration of the movie. I agree with the previous reviewer that this theme was duplicated later in "The Cable Guy" with Jim Carey. This bloke is dying for someone to either impress or simply alleviate the loneliness in his life. In the end, we're not sure if he's getting what he deserved or we should feel sorry for him. Indeed, this was a story of psychology, and how we may react in a similar situation.

It's possible I may watch this one again one day, but it's not a movie I would keep with my favorites. Still, it's funny, a little creepy, and definitely worth the 50¢ I paid at that yard sale :)

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