Sudden Fear: Shadows wicked, shadows gladdened, an offertory of clocks: time’s running out.

SUDDEN FEAR Joan Crawford: Queen of the volatile eyebrows with a life all their own. Her vulcanized eyebrows frame her austere gaze.

In Sudden Fear, the tale of Myra Hudson, a wealthy San Fransisco Heiress and playwright whose new play Halfway To Heaven is about to become another smashing success. At first, we see a very empowered woman who doesn’t like to be referred to as an heiress. She’s independent and obviously is well-guarded in terms of her emotions. Here she is an iconic figure of the woman as an upper or middle-class protagonist, perhaps unconsciously inviting in something ominous into her safe environment. She’s unaware of being provocative yet allowing this intruder into her normal life.

This is a stylish noir – melodrama with a villain lying in wait for the innocent, vulnerable bystander to give way to the intrusion. A secret desire perhaps to shake up the ordinary world they usually inhabit.

Lester Blaine is played by Jack Palance*, the imposing and saturnine actor whose appearance generates that of a Minotaur rather than a leading man. (Palance’s appearance fated him to play the villain in more than one Noir film in its prime. His jawline conveys menace, his dark and brooding deep-set eyes betray a sinister inner prayer for self-satisfaction and malice.)

Lester has failed to land the lead in the play. Myra, watching from the theater seats while auditioning him, says “he sounds romantic enough, he just doesn’t look romantic enough”

Once Blaine finds out that he hasn’t landed the part in Myra’s play he bursts forth onto the stage and delivers a diatribe about a famous painting of Casanova that she should really visit. “He’s got big ears and a scar, and looks just like me.”

Is he genuinely hurt or is he contriving to get close to Myra? At this point, we are unsure of his motivations, yet we do see a glimpse of something unsavory, sinister in his unctuous mannerism.

Now Myra is on a train from New York headed back to San Francisco, where she sees Blaine from her compartment window and calls out to him. Miraculously Blaine is boarding the same train. After a few awkward moments, Myra trying to justify not picking him for the lead actor in the play, the ice is broken and Blaine begins to romance her. We sense that his charm, his parlor tricks of affectionate gestures are lures for the bait. His oily, silken tone, wiling her into his gaze and out of her safety zone. To us, he has a sadist’s air, but Myra has already started to loosen her grip on her formality. She has given in. They ride through to Chicago, where he takes her to an acting school for wrestlers, we’re told. Back on the train, he asks her why she works. “The desire to achieve, to stand on my own two feet, instead of my father’s fortune, make a place in the world.” Here again, we are reminded that Myra was a very strong-minded and independent femme inoffensif.

Now that the Minotaur is lurking, and the romance has been kindled, Crawford’s face is softening with each frame as she accepts him into her soul’s stoic citadel. They share quotes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and then their hands mesh, his fingers baring a ring, she asks if it’s a wedding ring, he says it’s his mother’s.

The trap is set. She is caught. She brings him home to her apartment in San Francisco where he meets her two friends, her lawyer Steve Kearney – played by the innocuous Bruce Bennett, the ever-vigilant and devoted attorney/friend. She then takes him up to her study where “plays are born” She shows him her dictaphone where she records everything, scene descriptions, and the bequests for her last will and testament. And they drink milk. A virtuous drink. The drink of lily white modesty. He begins a soliloquy from one of her plays. ” It’s flattering to be quoted. Another move closer, piercing her tough heart seed. He moves towards her and now they kiss.

We are taken along through scenes of sightseeing the great points of the lookout for San Francisco; the Trolley, the Bridge, and Muir Woods. The music tells us the mood is that of metropolitan musings. The bustle of car horns and trumpet hollers. The city is now fresh with a new love for Myra and Lester Blaine.

The celebratory, outdoor frames end and suddenly relinquish themselves into a frantic moody setting at  Myra’s apartment. Guests downstairs at a party she’s thrown in honor of Lester. She’s frantically ringing his room. We see her black glassy shoes pacing in the room. She lights a cigarette. Her friends Steve and Ann come in to see if she’s coming back down to the party.

Now we see Blaine pacing. His shoes are the vantage point with which we understand the fervor of his first inscrutable stratagem set forth to weaken Myra’s self-possession. She relentlessly rings his phone. He’s lying on top of his bed, smoking a cigarette allowing her to become more diminished with every dead silence.

She tells her friends to “Tell the guests anything”. She is now a desperate woman, something must have happened to him. She goes to his room. We see him at the top of the stairs with his bags packed. He looms like a great menacing presence. Stairs in Noir films are often a symbol, a mechanism to facilitate the atmosphere of the ascent toward danger and insecurity. He tells her that he doesn’t belong in her world. She tells him she has nothing without him. His ruse has worked. They are married.

At her summer house, they awaken from their marriage bed, and greet the new day, by walking out onto the balcony near the stairs leading down towards the ocean. It’s very steep and rocky with no guardrail. Treacherous if you were to lose your balance. I wondered, will he try to push her down this rocky tor? What Myra calls the precipice. Blaine feigns concern for her safety and she quotes Nietzsche’s ‘Live dangerously” a foreshadowing of the pact she has inadvertently signed with the devil.

At the reception of Mr and Mrs Lester Blaine, the dubious Irene Neves played by the sweltering Gloria Grahame comes walking in on the arm of Steve’s brother Jr. (Mike Connor) The sultry vulpine blond unwraps her white head scarf and everything changes from here.

We see Lester leering at Irene curiously. Do they have a past relationship?

After the reception Irene, once again climbing a set of stairs to her apartment, puts the key in the door, and is startled by Lester who comes at her from behind. She screams as he pushes her into the apartment with brutal compulsion. Sounding furious he asks ” What are you doing in San Francisco?” she replies so cooly “An old friend of mine married a San Francisco girl.” Throwing a newspaper at him she follows up with “Here I’ll show you it was in all the newspapers.” He slaps it out of her hands and says “Don’t be cute.”

Now we understand that we have a pair of anti-social opportunists who not only know each other but have never severed the relationship. Lester gets furious at the thought of Irene dating Jr. and wants to know what she’s done to impress him. He warns Irene, if she ever does, she’ll need a new face! Blaine’s violent potency has manifested in full force now for us to see.

Amidst several diversionary tactics, like asking Steve, Myra’s trusted friend and lawyer to help him find work because he would never live off his wife’s money. Lester and Irene meet in secret. He asks why she’s still dating Jr. “Cause the rents are due, and I’d rather eat dinner than starve.” These two ruthless people begin to plot Myra’s demise. They must be careful. It must look like an accident.

Steve suggests to Myra that she makes a sensible change in terms of the will. She is about to inherit her father’s entire fortune soon. But Myra says she won’t hang onto any man she loves from the grave nor from this side of the grave either. For the first time, she feels poor because all she has to give is her love to Lester. And for the first time, she feels rich because she is getting so much back from him in return. She wants to share all her worldly goods with this reptilian deceiver she’s fallen in love with. She bequeaths her entire estate onto the Dictaphone, in her study. That night there is a party, and people are playing poker, Lester and Irene slip away into Myra’s study and begin to conspire and embrace.

The next day, the secretary tells Myra that she left the dictaphone on. Myra disagrees but lets the issue drop. Once in the study, she listens to the bequest “For the happiness he’s given me…” then a sudden skip in the recording and now we hear Lester and Irene who had inadvertently recorded themselves scheming.

And now the veil of deception has been lifted. She has been so naive, so fragile for once. She is horrified, the look on her face bears her devastation and betrayal. She hears how he’s never loved her. How it makes his skin crawl to tell her he loves her. She weeps, as she hears them read the will that Steve intended for Lester. ”She doesn’t sign the Will until Monday, and can’t get the old man’s money ’til then, suppose something happens between now and Monday?” They have to make it look like an accident. They’ve got 3 days. The record starts to skip. And Gloria Grahame’s razor-edged voice, drones on and on ” I know a way… I know a way”. Myra runs to the bathroom and gets sick. She realizes that she’s got proof of their plot to murder her, but in her frenzy to hide the recording she accidentally breaks it.

This scene is one of the most powerfully driven slow burning revelations– the gestalt of this dark story. The droning voice of Irene, she’s defenseless, staring at her marriage bed, where lies were perpetrated upon her. The incessant violation, “It’ll have to look like an accident.” She clasps her ears. She begins to dream, the dreams sow the seed of nightmares. All the ways she could die. Being pushed from the tallest window. Being smothered by unseen hands pushing a pillow over her face. Suddenly she is woken up by Blaine who has broken through the door, acting concerned. She flinches, afraid of him. We see the shift in her now. Her gaze has shifted to abject fear of this man. Then her fear seems to turn to scorn. A little sign of her durability comes back to her complexion.

Instead of going to her friend Steve who would have readily believed her story, she contrives to undermine Lester and Irene by laying the groundwork for her own strategy, to set them both up. The film begins to unwind into a dark forest of shadowy contours and murkiness. Scenes of Crawford’s machinations through the lens of her extraordinary eyes. The shadow of the clock’s pendulum oscillates on her face, over her heart, while she envisions her plan enacted. There are a variety of scenes with clocks. The use of the clock in this film is emblematic of Myra’s living on borrowed time. Of time running out for all the players. There’s also a very gripping and inventive scene with a little wind-up toy dog that escalates the atmosphere of agitation and tautness. The shadows that frame the figures are like contoured walls of darkness. Crawford’s eyes convey much of the rest of the narrative.

You’ll have to see the film yourself, I will not spoil the way the rest of this film plays out. It doesn’t unbend at the final frame but rather awakens from the shadows, the noir landscape, the sound of high heels fleeing on cobblestone streets no more. Wet down in bleak and dreary puddles of rain. The sun comes up slowly mounting on the back of the morning sky, ascending renewal. The end of sudden fear.

Sudden Fear features a screenplay by Lenore Coffee and Robert Smith from the novel by Edna Sherry and was directed by David Miller and the director of photography was Charles Lang Jr. (Some Like It Hot, How The West Was Won, The Magnificent Seven, Charade, and Wait Until Dark.)
The film’s evocative score is by the prolific composer Elmer Bernstein.

* Several years ago I had the great privilege of sitting at a neighboring table across from the great Jack Palance, at a very quaint Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. Although I had been such a huge fan of his for years, I did not want to insinuate myself into his dinner conversation. He had been sketching with crayons on the tablecloth something for someone who appeared to be a director. They were obviously discussing the details of some project. I felt so special to be seated near him. In person, he seemed as gentle as a labrador retriever. Not the imposing gargoyle of a man that he came across in most of his films. I consider that meal, a very special moment in time.


Women In Peril Series Overview: A part of film history/sub-genre Part I

Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry, Wrong Number 1948.

With the countless list of films in the sub-genre, I am starting to list just a smattering of very memorable women in peril films over the past decades that have left an impression on me and some that have truly left their mark on the horror/Noir/mystery/thriller genres.

Here are the films that I plan on discussing in depth with individual reviews to follow. I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some, so I’ll be periodically adding whatever films I might have overlooked during this series. Each day I’ll offer another essay on most, if not all of the films seen here. If there’s a film that you’ve noticed I’ve omitted please feel free to drop me a note and I’ll gladly add it to the mix.

I’ve considered adding Rosemary’s Baby and The Mephisto Waltz, but I’d like to save them as a pair of essays on Witchcraft in cinema.

The criteria that I am using to classify what I consider to be a woman in peril film is how I view the plot narrative as seen a) through the female gaze b)there is one or several main female characters who are central to the plot and are not just on the periphery of the film. There are so many films where women characters are either victims, in danger, or are targeted, and so their presence satellites around the story but does not drive the narrative enough for me to qualify it for this sub-genre study.

As in Psycho, Dressed To Kill where the female lead is killed in the beginning these films we are following more of the Protagonist(Norman Bates) as in Peeping Tom, or Silence of The Lambs( Hannibal Lechter)where women have been murdered, they should be reserved for solo review because the plot is viewed through the Protagonist’s lens. In The Boston Strangler 1968, there are various women victims, yet the film is shot almost sensitively facilitated by Henry Fonda’s character who guides Tony Curtis ( Albert DeSalvo) through a self-reflexive process in order to reassemble the timeline and the motivation and substance of his insanity which lead to his crimes. It is more Psychological True Crime Police Drama

The films are not in any chronological order nor are they sorted by definition of how much I either loved the film or at least found the film entertaining. Here is a general synopsis:

You will notice that I am a huge fan of Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Anne Baxter Joan Bennett, Joan Crawford, Olivia de Havilland, Barbara Stanwyck, Gloria Grahame, Lee Remick, Simone Signoret, and more. 70’s actresses like Faye Dunaway, Tuesday Weld, Joan Hackett, Barbara Parkins, Joanna Pettit, Stefanie Powers, and more.

Beware My Lovely (1952)

Stars Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan whose volatile temper makes him a walking time bomb.

The Blue Gardenia (1953) Starring Ann Baxter and Richard Conte

Baxter gets mixed up in a murder mystery and must try and figure out whether she’s the killer or not!

Lady In A Cage (1964

Cast A Dark Shadow (1955)

Stars Dirk Bogarde as the sociopath Edward “Teddy” Bare who marries an elderly woman Margaret Lockwood, for her money. He dotes on her until the time is right, then moves on to his next victim.

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Charlotte is a wealthy southern spinster who is shunned by her community for the grisly murder some 40 years prior.

She is taken care of by her faithful servant Velma played brilliantly by Agnes Moorehead. Charlotte holds up in the house refusing to leave when she is issued an eviction notice. Enter, “Cousin Miriam” with her gentleman friend played by Joseph Cotton. Unfortunately, Miriam has other motivations for coming to the Hollis Plantation. Miriam is the sole beneficiary once she can manage to have Charlotte committed for her odd and reclusive behavior. This is a tragic and twisted tale of revenge and greed.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)

Directed again by the great Robert Aldridge this was the first time he brought the two great titans together, regardless of how tumultuous their relationship was off-screen.

Bette Davis plays Jane Hudson, a washed-up child star living as a recluse in her mansion with her invalid sister, Blanche played by Joan Crawford. The psychological warfare that Jane wages against her sister a virtual prisoner is intense. A story of envy, jealousy, loss of youth and revenge.

Sudden Fear (1952)

Starring Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, and Gloria Grahame. After an ambitious actor insinuates himself into the life of a wealthy middle-aged playwright and marries her, he plots with his mistress to murder her.

Die Die My Darling aka Fanatic (1965)

Stephanie Powers stars as Patricia Carroll who arrives in London to get remarried, and regretfully takes a detour out to the rural English countryside to see her former fiance’s mother the controlling Mrs Trefoile. Played by Tallulah Bankhead. Mrs.Trefoile blames Pat for an automobile accident that killed her son.

Sorry Wrong Number (1948)

Dial M For Murder (1954)

Another Hitchcock thriller:

Ex-tennis pro-Tony Wendice decides to murder his wife for her money. He blackmails an old college associate to strangle her, but when things go wrong he sees a way to turn events to his advantage.

Ray Milland plays Tony Wendice who finds out that his wife Margo played by Grace Kelly had an affair. Tony sets out to plan the perfect murder but his plans go terribly astray when the killer becomes the victim instead. Wendice trying to cover everything up, decides then to make it appear that Margo had an ulterior motive for killing the man.

The Spiral Staircase (1945)

directed by Robert Siodmak

Gaslight (1944)

Why does the flame go down? In a London house where the fixtures are gas flames. The lovely Ingrid Bergman plays Paula Anton who is being driven mad by her husband Charles Boyer. Joseph Cotton plays a Scotland Yard detective who suspects that something isn’t quite right. suspects. This Oscar-winning (Best Actress) dark mystery, introduces Angela Lansbury in her first acting role plays one of the servants. Also nominated for Best Picture, and Best Actor (Boyer).

Repulsion (1965)Catherine Deneuve plays a very troubled Belgian girl, Carol, who works as a manicurist at a London beauty salon. She shares a flat with her sister Helen and her sister’s married lover, Michael. Carol has a distrust of men. The Landlord is a lecherous sort who terrorizes her, and ultimately her mind begins to unravel over a long weekend while she’s alone in the flat.  Roman Polanski directs this disturbing imaginative film. The scenes of catalepsy and hallucination are very heavy as Carol descends into madness. I wrote a song called There’s A Crack In The Wall off my neo-classical album The Last Drive In as a tribute to this film.

Reflections of Murder (1974)

Directed by John Badham and stars Tuesday Weld, Sam Waterston, and Joan Hackett. this is a very faithful retelling of Diabolique.

Nightmare (1964) Hammer Horror

A British thriller by the Hammer group. A young girl is released from an institution on her sixteenth birthday, after having been believed to have killed her parents. Is someone trying to drive her mad?

A Kiss Before Dying (1956)

Robert Wagner plays a perfect all-American sociopath in this film about an opportunistic fellow who sets his sights on becoming successful at any cost. When his girlfriend Joanne Woodward gets pregnant that puts an obstacle in his way

Scream Of Fear aka Touch of Fear (1961) Hammer Horror

Starring Ann Todd, Christopher Lee, and Susan Strasberg and scripted by Jimmy Sangster

In England, the body of a young girl is found determined to be an apparent suicide In Nice, France, the chauffeur, , dutifully arrives at the airport to pick up Penny Appleby(Susan Strasberg). She is confined to a wheelchair since a long-ago horse riding accident, Penny has come to stay with her wealthy father and stepmother, Jane played by Ann Todd.

All Penny knows is that she’s told her father is away, but she keeps seeing his corpse all around the house.

A Place In The Sun (1951) Based on Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, stars Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelley Winters.

Games (1967)

One of Curtis Harrington’s best psychological thrillers starring James Caan, Katherine Ross, and Simone Signoret. Ross and Caan are a New York City couple who like to play games. Suddenly Simone Signoret comes into their lives and now the atmosphere changes from parlor games to deadly games.

Diabolique (1955) directed by Henri -George Clouzot

and starring Simone Signoret as the mistress to a cruel headmaster at a private school for boys. She befriends the emotionally abused wife played by Vera Clouzot. And this friendship starts a series of events that are equally mysterious and disturbing.

What’s The Matter With Helen (1971)

Curtis Harrington’s best film, starring Debbie Reynold’s Shelley Winters and Dennis Weaver. The two film queens, play mothers of sons who are convicted of the sensational crime of murder. To escape the scrutiny of the press and the public, they move and open up a small dance studio for little girls. But terror follows them as some unknown assailant is lurking in the shadow, or is there something seriously wrong with Helen ( Shelley Winters)

Wait Until Dark (1967)

Audrey Hepburn plays Susie a blind woman who spends most of the film in the claustrophobic apartment waiting for her husband to come home. He’s been asked to hold a doll for a woman as they get off an airplane. The doll winds up in Susie’s possession. Enter Richard Crenna and Alan Arkin play memorable roles as the thugs who are after the doll which has been stuffed with the heroine.

See No Evil aka Blind Terror (1971)After being blinded in a horseback-riding accident, Sarah Mia Farrow moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. During her absence, the entire family is murdered. She is unaware of this until she stumbles onto the bodies, and now  Sarah is trapped in the remote farmhouse and must try and escape the killer who is now hunting her.

Fright (1971)Susan George is the young babysitter Amanda who arrives at the Lloyd residence to spend the evening looking after their young son. There is an escaped maniac from the local asylum on the loose and soon a series of frightening occurrences in the dark old house has Amanda frightened to death. Starring Honor Blackman and Ian Bannen.

And Soon The Darkness ( 1970)

Pamela Franklin stars in this film about two British tourists, young girls who decide to travel the lovely country side of France only to encounter a psychosexual rapist/murderer who begins to stalk them while vacationing. Very taut and claustrophobic journey of two girls out of their element and in harm’s way.

The Collector 1965)

Freddie (Terence Stamp) is a shy psychopathic bank clerk whose passion is collecting butterflies, When he becomes obsessed with art student Miranda Grey (Samantha Eggar) he sets out to acquire her the same way. He prepares the cellar of the house to be a collecting/killing jar. Based on the novel by John Fowles.

The Stepford Wives (1972) Written and scripted by Ira Levin who also wrote Rosemary’s Baby and Boys from Brazil. It stars Katherine Ross, who unwittingly becomes the target of an elite group of men who decide that their wives in this bedroom town of successful beautiful people aren’t quite perfect as they are. Also starring Paula Prentiss.

No Way To Treat A Lady (1968) Starring Rod Steiger, George Segal, and Lee Remick. Directed by Jack Smight. George Segal is a nice jewish boy detective who’s under his mother’s thumb, this weary yet clever cop winds up playing a cat-and-mouse game with a highly dramatic and psychotic killer who is using the art of disguise to lure and trap his women victims. The element of the Oedipus complex is richly explored in this film and Steiger is masterful as a man coming undone on his mission to destroy his mother with every stroke of the red lipstick he leaves as his calling card.

Blood Simple (1984)

Joel Coen’s of the Coen Brothers startling thriller with Frances McDormand, M.Emmet Walsh, and Dan Hedaya. A bar owner hires a private eye to follow his wife to make sure that she’s not cheating on him.

Night Watch (1973) Elizabeth Taylor plays Ellen Wheeler, a rich widow, who is recovering from a nervous breakdown. One day, while staring out the window, she witnesses a murder. No one especially her husband played by Laurence Harvey nor her friend Billy Whitelaw believes that she’s actually seen a gruesome murder take place in the abandoned house across the courtyard.


Klute (1971)

John Klute’s (Donald Sutherland)friend has totally disappeared. The only clue is a connection with a call girl, Bree Daniels played by Jane Fond. Klute sets up shop in Bree’s apartment to try and uncover the answers to what has happened and must guard against the allure of the beautiful New York City call girl he enlists to help him while putting her in grave danger.

You’ll Like My Mother (1972) made for television film

Patty Duke stars as a young pregnant woman who comes to her mother-in-law’s house after her husband dies. Something is not quite right in the house and Richard Thomas plays a really convincing psychopath in this chilling made for tv movie also stars Rosemary Murphy

Night Must Fall (1937)

Robert Montgomery plays the likable psychopath who is hiding out on the loose and keeping his victim’s head in a hat box. I prefer this earlier adaptation of the film with Rosalind Russell to the later 1964 version with Albert Finney. Robert Montgomery is spectacular as the charming psychopath, and Dame May Whitty is superb.

Undercurrent (1946)

Starring Katherine Hepburn, she plays the wife of Robert Taylor who may be a psychopath trying to kill her. Also starring Robert Mitchum.

Shadow Of A Doubt (1943) is another Hitchcock masterpiece.

this one’s about good old Uncle Charlie masterfully played by Joseph Cotton, who just might be the Merry Widow Killer. Teresa Wright is his niece who starts to see him for who he really is.

The Secret Behind The Door (1947)Fritz Lang

Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave are exceptional in this tale of newlyweds Celia and Mark Lamphere. This is a Freudian journey of insanity, undying love, and redemption. Is Redgrave a twisted murderer and will Bennett survive what lies behind the door?

The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947)

Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, and Alexis Smith.

Bogart is brilliant as he plays struggling artist Gerry Carroll who meets Sally while on holiday in the country. A romance develops but he doesn’t tell her he’s already married. Suffering from mental illness, Gerry returns home where he paints an impression of his wife as the angel of death and then promptly poisons her. He marries Sally but after a while, he finds a strange urge to paint her as the angel of death too and history seems about to repeat itself. The film also stars the angelic Ann Carter as Carroll’s lonely daughter.

Looking For Mr. Goodbar (1977)Directed by Richard Brooks

Stars Diane Keaton as a dedicated teacher of deaf children by day but lives a dual life as she cruises the bars at night looking for abusive men to have dangerous sexual encounters with. Also stars Richard Gere, and Tuesday Weld.

Ladies In Retirement (1941) Starring Ida Lupino as a housekeeper trying to look out for her two emotionally disturbed sisters. One of which is the wonderful Elsa Lanchester.

The Night Walker (1964) directed by William Castle and written by Robert Bloch stars Barbara Stanwyck whose dream lover Lloyd Bochner may or may not be real. She is haunted by these nightly visions of her dead husband. Also starts Robert Taylor.

Cape Fear (1962)

Exceptional thriller especially with great performances by Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, and Polly Bergen. Peck is the lawyer who puts Mitchum a rageful psychopath, Max Cady in jail, and now he’s out to terrorize the entire family.

Experiment In Terror (1962)

Directed by Blake Edwards, Lee Remick plays Kelly Sherwood a woman who is being terrorized by a creepy asthmatic man named Garland “Red” Lynch brilliantly played by Ross Martin. He wants her to steal $100,000 from the bank where she works. Red kidnaps Kelly’s younger sister Stefanie Powers in order to strong-arm her into doing what he wants. Glenn Ford plays the cool agent on Red’s trail.

The Eyes Of Laura Mars (1978) written for the screen by John Carpenter

Stars Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, and Brad Dourif a very underrated actor.

Dunaway is a high fashion photographer and her models are being assailed and gruesomely murdered by a  psychopath who doesn’t approve of her point of view as art. Very disturbing and well-done thriller.

Coma (1978)

Based on Michael Crichton’s book, stars Genevieve Bujold and Michael Douglas. Bujold becomes curious about several deaths where patients are inexplicably going into comas.


A Howling In The Woods(1971) Barbara Eden stars as a woman who comes back to the family estate, only to find that her father has disappeared and her stepmother is acting strange. So are all the town folk. Vera Miles and Larry Hagman also star in this made-for-TV film

Death Car On The Freeway (1979)

Starring Shelley Hack and Peter Graves. There is a psychotic driver playing fiery fiddle music on his 8-track stereo as he runs women off the L.A. Freeway in his van. Fun made for tv film.

The Screaming Woman (1972)

The great Olivia de Havilland hears a woman crying from underneath the ground on her property, but no one in the area will believe her. Has Ed Nelson buried his wife alive?

Crescendo ( 1970) Scripted by Jimmy Sangster, Stefanie Powers is an American girl who goes to France to work on her thesis. She stays with the family of a famous pianist/composer, but something isn’t quite right.

Scream Pretty Peggy(1973)

Directed by Gordon Hessler, it stars Bette Davis the mother of Ted Bessell(That Girl) a sculptor who hires young girls to come and take care of his aged mother and insane sister.

The Mad Room (1969)

A remake of 1941’s “Ladies in Retirement” Stars Stella Stevens as a psychotic woman who is a companion to the wealthy Shelley Winters. Stella’s younger sister and brother have just been released from an institution have believed that they killed their parents years ago.

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973) tv film

John Newland directed this really spooky film starring Kim Darby and Jim Hutton. About little evil gremlins that have been trapped in the family fireplace down the cellar. It’s a classic spooky tv film

When Michael Calls (1972) made for tv film

Starring Michael Douglas, Ben Gazzara, and Elizabeth Ashley play Helen who keeps on receiving phone calls from a child, who claims to be her nephew Michael – but Michael died 15 years ago.

Sweet Sweet Rachel (1971) was made for a tv film starring Pat Hingle, Louise Latham, and Stefanie Powers.

An ESP expert uses his powers to try to track down a psychic who uses telepathy to commit murder.

A Taste Of Evil (1971)

Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, this film stars Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Parkins, Roddy McDowall and William Windom. Barbara Parkins has been in an institution after a brutal rape as a child. Now she’s come home to her mother’s house where it happened, and strange things begin to happen. Is she going crazy or is she being assailed by an unseen stalker?

Picture Mommy Dead (1966)Bert I Gordon directs something other than things either growing large or shrinking into oblivion this film is starring Don Ameche, Martha Hyer, and Zsa Zsa Gabor

Susan Shelley is released from an asylum where she’s been confined to after the shock suffered over the fiery death of her mother.

Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974)

Starring Laurence Harvey a Korean War veteran who lives with his sister Joanna Petit. A girl wandering on the beach is taken in by Harvey but she soon learns of his strange appetites. Also starring John Ireland and Stuart Whitman.

Walter Graumen puts Olivia de Havilland in peril as a Lady in a Cage (1964) “Right now I am all *animal*” or “Oh, dear Lord… I am… a monster!”

Grande Dame/Guignol Cinema: Robert Aldrich’s Hag Cinema Part III Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte “He’ll Love You Til He Dies”

BRIDES OF HORROR – Scream Queens of the 1960s! 🎃 Part 2

Fiend of The Day! Private Detective Loren Visser: Blood Simple (1984)

Halloween Spotlight: ABC NBC & CBS Movies of the Week–the year is 1973 🎃 13 Fearful Tele-Frights!!

Dark Patroons & Hat Box Killers: 2015 The Great Villain Blogathon!

70s Cinema: Runaway Trains, Racing toward oblivion, Psycho-sexual machinations, and ‘the self loathing whore’ Part 1

The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) The ‘Angel of Death’ and a nice glass of warm milk!