Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer of Fear (1978, Wes Craven)

In collaboration with a selection of the finest film blogs the infranet has to offer, B MOVIES AND BEYOND is proud to contribute this quality post to Blair Week, a six day extravaganza expounding on the virtues of Linda Blair and her legacy of quality motion pictures. Don't believe me? Just read on...

Summer of Fear was originally a made for TV movie called Stranger in Our House and was first aired on Halloween night 1978.  It was then released theatrically in Europe under the title Summer of Fear.  This was the third film that Wes Craven directed, after Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes.  Considering the shocking subject matter of those two films, it is surprising to me that he was chosen to direct a made for TV movie.  This wasn't the last made for TV movie Craven made either, as he also directed the genre offerings Deadly Blessing (1981), Invitation to Hell (1984) and Chiller (1985).  I had read about this film a long time ago and finally decided to check it out.  I figured even if the movie was bad, it had a young Linda Blair, which is always a good thing in my book.

The Bryants are a well off family living in California.  Their perfect life is soon thrown a curveball when cousin Julia (Lee Purcell) comes to live with them from the Ozarks after her parents die in a car crash.  Julia seems like a nice, young southern belle.  That is until bad things start happening to teenage Rachel Bryant (Linda Blair).  Julia ends up stealing Rachel's boyfriend away from her, which causes her to do a little digging about her innocent cousin.  Rachel, with the help of her professor neighbor, suspects Julia of witchcraft.

Summer of Fear was a solid made for TV movie with some nice touches.  It was very watchable, even the parts that didn't have a lot going on.  Blair (though not really a good actress and what was up with that hairdo?) is always fun to watch and Lee Purcell was a beautiful femme fatale.  The rest of the cast were all very well too, including Jeff East (the teenage Clark Kent from Superman: the Movie) and the debut of Fran Drescher (The Nanny, c'mon admit you watched it).  Though the film wasn't too scary and didn't rise above PG rated action through most of its running time (the DVD says its rated PG-13), the climax was great.  It was tense, suspenseful and had a very unexpected twist.  Though very dated and tame, the film was a fun watch with some neat little surprises.


RATING:  6/10

Our colleagues are bringing fresh Linda related content all week long:

 Satan's Hope Chest - Chained Heat and Savage Island
Camp Movie Camp - Grotesque and Nightforce
The Horror Section - Hell Night
Full Moon Reviews - Bailout
Illogical Contraption - Repossessed
Lines That Makes Things - original Linda inspired artwork
Breakfast In the Ruins - Exorcist II
B Movies and Beyond - Summer of Fear
The Manchester Morgue - Rollerboogie
Happy Otter - The Chilling
Ninja Dixon - The Witchery
Unflinching Eye - Linda's fall from grace.
Lost Video Archive - Savage Streets and Born Innocent


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