Don Jones, Writer-Director of ‘Schoolgirls in Chains’ and ‘The Forest,’ Dies at 83

Don Jones, a soundman and stuntman who went on to write and direct the low-budget films Schoolgirls in Chains, Sweater Girls and The Forest, had died. He was 83.

Jones died Tuesday in Los Angeles near his San Fernando Valley home of nearly 40 years after recently suffering a stroke, his daughter, Coeli Jones, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Jones worked sound for Larry Peerce on One Potato, Two Potato (1964), did stunts for Monte Hellman in Ride in the Whirlwind (1966) and for Richard Rush on A Man Called Dagger (1968) and served as the cinematographer on The House of Seven Corpses (1974), starring John Ireland.

His horror films Schoolgirls in Chains (1973) and The Forest (1982) both starred Gary Kent, whom Jones had met when they were valets at the Fog Cutter restaurant in L.A. (Kent also was a stuntman on A Man Called Dagger.)

Born in Philadelphia and raised on a small Pennsylvania farm, Donald Evan Jones served in the U.S. Army and boxed under the name Irish Frankie Conway before he came to California to try his hand at the movie business.

He taught himself how to load and unload film and for several years worked as a cameraman before directing for the first time on Who Killed Cock Robin? (1970).

He wrote a 2011 novel, Alma’s Daughter, a paranormal story about a teenage poltergeist, and in 2018 appeared in Danger God, a documentary about Kent that was directed by Joe O’Connell.

Survivors include his daughter and twin grandsons.

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