Monday, January 28, 2013

The Yellow Wallpaper

"The Yellow Wallpaper" (2012) starring Aric Cushing, Veronica Cartwright, Michael Moriarty, Juliet Landau and Dale Dickey is a gothic ghost story that will haunt you long after you watch it.

It's the year 1892, somewhere in the southern United States and Dr. John Weiland (Cushing), his wife Charlotte (Landau) and her sister Jennie (Dickey) are moving into a new home they are renting because a house fire at their previous home killed their daughter and destroyed everything.  They move into a furnished home that hasn't been lived in for quite some time. 

Each of the main characters deals with grief in their own way.  John becomes distant from his wife.  Charlotte retreats into her own grief.  Jennie tries to make sure they are all comfortable in their new surroundings.  The home is a 25 minute walk from the nearest town that we never see.  Between the house and the town is a desert like terrain and then suddenly all around the house is lush green forest. 

Shortly after moving in, the trio starts hearing strange noises and seeing unknown figures in and around the house.  There is even a man inside during the middle of the night and a little girl running away from the house into the night.  Nobody can explain any of this.  Charlotte is drawn to the attic room which has a yellow wallpaper with intricate patterns.  She goes there to write especially during the night. 

I came across this movie on Netflix and was so happy that I did.  The film is beautifully shot with an almost dreamy quality.  The beauty of the lush Southern surroundings contradicts the eerie music that is playing over the scenes.  The scenes of the foggy graveyard, walking around looking for intruders with only a candle or lantern and quiet oppressive evenings as all the characters sit with their own thoughts - all put you on edge and keep you entranced.  This movie is slow to build but you will definitely be surprised with the ending.  I highly recommend that you find and watch this film if you like a good old fashioned ghost story - with a twist!

The Horror at 37,000 Feet

"The Horror at 37,000 Feet" (1973) is an ABC Movie of the Week fright film that takes place in an airplane.  It has a host of stars including: Chuck Connors, Lynn Loring, William Shatner, Roy Thinnes, Paul Winfield, Jane Merrow, Russell Johnson, Buddy Ebsen and Tammy Grimes.

  Architect Alan O'Neill (Thinnes) and is wife Sheila (Merrow) have just been at her family estate in England that is going to be torn down and developed and are shipping an ancient abbey that was on the estate back with them to LA.  Mrs. Pinder (Grimes) is totally against them removing the abbey and is joining them on the flight back to the U.S. to fight them in court.  The abbey is in the cargo hold of the plane and since it is so heavy the flight can only accommodate about 15 passengers.

Shortly after takeoff, things start to go awry.  Sheila starts to hear strange chanting voices through her headphones.  Strange things start happening in the cargo hold including subfreezing temperatures coming from the boxed up abbey.  The evil inside the abbey starts radiating outward to the rest of the plane and we start to lose passengers and crew to the terrible cold.

The passengers start rallying together at first, including Paul (Shatner) who is a defrocked priest who has lost faith.  Paul identifies that this abbey is part of an ancient pagan religion.  As the evil gets closer to everyone in the plane, people start losing their veil of civility and passengers turn against one another to survive.

The special effects are laughable for the most part.  There are tons of guest stars who play their parts well.   This movie is pure escapist fun in a claustrophobic setting.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The House That Would Not Die

"The House That Would Not Die" is an ABC Movie of the Week, Aaron Spelling production that first aired in 1970 starring Barbara Stanwyck, Kitty Winn, Richard Egan and Michael Anderson Jr.

 Ruth Bennett (Stanwyck) and her niece Sara (Winn) move into a large house in rural Pennsylvania that is centuries old, after inheriting it from a distant cousin. As soon as they move in, Sara feels that they belong there. 

Neighbor, Pat McDougal (Egan) is quick to introduce himself on their first day and he and Ruth  become close rather quickly.  Pat introduces Sara to Stan Whitman (Anderson) and they also hit it off. 

The house is old and there are spirits roaming.  There are secret rooms and sections of the cellar that have been boarded up.  Ruth starts to hear a male calling for someone during the night.  Sara starts to act weird and there are strange manifestations of wind in the house and sweet Sara even attacks her!  Of course some of the locals want to hold a seance and Ruth agrees. The haunting starts to get worse after that.  Even Pat seems to get possessed by some evil spirit while he's in the house. Can they figure out the mystery from the past that keeps these spirits haunting the house?  Will they all survive the house that will not die!?

This is a great representation of the 70s tele-fright films that I love so much.  It's got the spooky old house, windy nights and spirits a haunting.  It's also got the ever wonderful Barbara Stanwyck who always looks smart in a different gown in almost every scene.  Check this movie out on a dark night or a rainy afternoon and enjoy an entertaining and haunting story that may become one of your favorites of the genre too.

Someone's Watching Me!

"Someone's Watching Me!" is a 1978 film written and directed by John Carpenter and starring Lauren Hutton, David Birney and Adrienne Barbeau.

Leigh Michaels (Hutton) moves from New York to LA to get away from a bad relationship.  First thing she does is rent an apartment in a downtown highrise building on the 42nd floor.  She also secures a job a local TV station.  That's where she meets her new friend Sophie (Barbeau).

Shortly after moving into her apartment, she gains the unwanted attention of a peeping tom who spies on her with a high powered telescope from another high rise.  Not only does he visually spy on her, he also plants a listening device in her apartment so he can hear her.  He also starts calling her and sending her unsolicited gifts.

She solicits the help of her new love interest, Paul Winkless (Birney) in trying to find out who the stalker is.  She also tries going to the police but this being 1978, they had yet to develop anti-stalking laws so basically the police can do nothing until something bad happens to her. 

A little slow to get going but nice cat and mouse action in the last third of the movie finally gets makes it interesting.

Night of Terror

"Night of Terror" (1972) is an ABC Movie of the Week starring Donna Mills, Martin Balsam, Catherine Burns, Agnes Moorehead and Chuck Connors.

Linda (Mills) and Celeste (Burns) are school teachers who witness a man being murdered by a hired killer outside of the art class they teach.  They have no idea why this has happened there although the police keep asking them if anyone has left anything with them that the criminals may be after.

The women are both followed and in an exciting high speed car chase through a hospital parking garage, Celeste is killed while Linda's legs are paralyzed.  During her recovery, Agnes Moorehead has a small part as her physical therapist, she is not even safe from the criminals in the hospital.  They still believe she has something that belongs to them.

The police arrange for a retired cop, Capt. Caleb Sark (Balsam) to sneak Linda out of the hospital to an undisclosed location.  He takes her to a large ocean side mansion where she can recover and be safe while they try to discover what the killers want.  However her safe seclusion will not last long.

This is a really enjoyable thriller that keeps you glued to the TV. 

Invitation to Hell

"Invitation to Hell" is a 1984 television movie directed by Wes Craven starring  , , .  

Matt (Urich) and Patricia (Cassidy) Winslow move with their two children Robbie and Chrissy to the California suburbs because Matt is starting a prestigious new job at Micro DigiTech a local technology company.  He joins his college buddy Tom and his family.  

It doesn't take long to find out that everyone who's anybody joins the local Steaming Springs Country Club.  Matt feels the pressure right away to join and of course his family starts needling him to join because all their friends are members.  

Jessica Jones (Lucci) who has the biggest hair you've ever seen in this movie, is the director of the club.  She leads the initiation of the members who we see walk into an underground doorway with fog and strange sounds emerging.  Of course the people who join are no longer the same - there's something cold and even evil about them.  

Patricia and the kids decide to join because Matt won't and all of a sudden he doesn't recognize his family.  Will Matt be able to save his family from the evil clutches of Jessica and the club? 


Thursday, January 24, 2013


"Fright" (1971) starring , , is a British babysitter in peril movie.

Amanda (George) is a college student who fills in for Helen's (Blackman) regular babysitter who couldn't make it.  Helen and her husband Jim are going out to celebrate some occasion.  They are recent arrivals to the village and live in a large old house.  Helen is somewhat reluctant to go but Amanda does her best to assure her nothing will go wrong.

Of course, being a babysitter horror movie, the boyfriend does visit and they quarrel and she kicks him out.  But who does that face in the window belong to?  Is it the boyfriend or someone more sinister?  We soon find out that it isn't the boyfriend, it's someone from Helen's past who is out to reclaim what is his.  Amanda being the ever vigilant babysitter will do what she can to ensure that she and the child survive the night of fright.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Crowhaven Farm

"Crowhaven Farm" (1970) starring Hope Lange, Paul Burke and Lloyd Bochner is one of my favorite made for TV movies that first aired as part of ABC's Movie of the Week.  It is another classic example of Aaron Spelling's early productions.

Maggie Porter inherits the rural Crowhaven Farm from a long lost relative.  It is located in New England and shortly after meeting her neighbors learns that the town has a history of witchcraft and witchcraft trials many centuries ago.  The moment Maggie and her husband Ben (Burke) arrive at the farm, Maggie feels like she's been there before in another life.  She knows her way around the house and even knows its secret passages and doors.  She wants to leave but her husband says it's a way they can path up their failing marriage and she finally agrees.

Maggie starts having visions from the past when the town's early Puritan residents lived there.  She keeps seeing herself being killed as a witch. The couple also takes in a local girl, Jennifer, after her Aunt dies.  Having a child is the couple's dream and everything starts out on a happy note.  However, Jennifer isn't as innocent and sweet as she seems.

 This is a great example of 70s TV movies that I love so much.  We have a great story, plenty of spooky atmosphere in and around the farm and lots of thrills and chills.  This movie has recently been released on DVD by Amazon so check it out!

Mrs. Amworth

"Mrs. Amworth" (1975) is a short film starring Glynis Johns, Roger Davidson and Derek Francis  about a vampire terrorizing a small British village.

Mrs. Amworth (Johns) recently moved into a quiet village and her vivacious personality soon wins over the locals including Benson and his visiting nephew David.  On the other hand, Mr. Urcombe grows suspicious about Mrs. Amworth. 

The village is facing an unknown virus that is killing people.  It is localized to the village only and started shortly after Mrs. Amworth arrived.  Mr. Urcombe does some research in the parish records and discovers there was a similar outbreak a century ago and Mrs. Amworth's ancestor was accused of causing it using witchcraft. 

Can sweet Mrs. Amworth be the cause of all the death in the village?  Mr. Urcombe won't stop investigating until he discovers if she is.