You are not having as bad of a week as Valerie Harper is in this movie, but if you’ve ever wanted to see Rhoda get dragged through hell, this 1982 offering is the movie for you. And Ruth Gordon is there too! And an iguana! This week, Sam is joined by easily the least famous guest he’s had so far: Drew Mackie, producer of Monday Afternoon Movie and also the host of Gayest Episode Ever, a podcast about the LGBT-focused very special episodes of classic sitcoms.
And yes, you can watch the whole movie right now on YouTube.
If you can’t get enough of Sam talking about Valerie Harper, listen to his appearance on Drew’s podcast, Gayest Episode Ever, where he discusses the one and only gay-themed episode of Mary Tyler Moore.
And if you want to support the show, check out Monday Afternoon Movie’s Patreon.
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And if you want to play the “make your own horror movie” game that Drew brings up, it’s super easy. Just come up with five numbers, 1 through 10, and match them up with one selection from each of the five parts below. And voila — you’re a fancy Hollywood screenwriter now!
A promising young grad student, studying some sort of brain science thing that is never really explained clearly…
A recent widow (allegedly from Maine, even though it looks like Santa Clarita)…
A disgraced heiress (played by an actress who clearly brought her own clothes to set)…
An enterprising reporter, driving a car that would have been out of her price range, even in the 70s…
A fragile housewife, already using pills and brandy to overcome the death of her children (yes, all of them)…
The most unpopular girl in school (played by a gorgeous sitcom actress who is just wearing glasses)…
An aging woman who still retains a bit of her youthful glamor (and who was once Hollywood’s hottest rising star, we soon learn)
A vivacious college professor who happens to be the world’s leading scholar on a very specific paranormal phenomenon that the movie spends way too much time explaining…
A sassy small town detective, tough as nails but always ready to crack a joke…
A wise spinster, accompanied only by her put-upon nursemaid and her knack for getting to the bottom of things…
… must return to her hometown on the tenth anniversary of the night everyone else in her high school was murdered.
… receives a mysterious invitation to a dinner at the home of some wealthy but unnamed benefactor.
… is relieved to be taking a needed getaway to an island paradise, where she hopes to recuperate from some recent trauma that is explained, like, way too many flashbacks for a 90-minute movie.
… has just returned to her childhood home, after a lengthy stay at the hospital, which we later find out is actually an insane asylum for homicidal women.
… arrives at a stately manor (which you could swear you’ve seen in another movie but you can’t place which), which we find out is the site of the first reunion her family has held since an incident referred to as “the unpleasantness.”
… is eager for her date with the very detective looking into that recent rash of strangulation-defenestrations that everyone’s been talking about.
… hears a child’s ghostly voice pleading for help, and when she follows it, she becomes lost in the forest (which is clearly just Griffith Park shot from different angles).
… is overcome with curiosity about her mysterious new neighbors, so she sneaks into their home while they appear to be out.
… stops by a quaint antique book shop that she had a strange dream about the very night before.
… has just arrived at her new home, having needed to move across the country for reasons she can’t bring herself to speak about.
Once there, she’s shocked to find that the ghost of her identical twin sister seems to haunting the place, pleading with her to solve the mystery of her murder.
Once there, she’s shocked to find that everyone else is a ghost, trapped in the human realm for reasons they don’t understand.
Once there, she’s shocked to find that she’s just put herself in the path of a deadly hurricane.
Once there, she’s shocked to learn that she’s being stalked by some sort of legendary monster that is never clearly seen, because they probably just didn’t have the budget for it.
Once there, she’s shocked to learn that the whole thing is a front for a coven of witches — and they want to induct her as their newest member!
Once there, she’s shocked to learn that she looks just like Annabelle McCavendish, a local legend famous for having the ability to make any man she wanted to fall in love with her — but at what price?
Once there, she’s shocked to see a spectral woman in white — who just happens to look exactly like her!
Once there, she’s shocked to learn that her identical twin sister, who presumably died long ago, is back — and she’s a vampire who is responsible for the strange goings-on in town.
Once there, she’s shocked to learn that she’s the last living descendent of the woman who cursed the town long ago, after the townspeople disapproved of some romantic union that is being used rather ham-handedly as a metaphor for racism, but they did not make that clear at all.
Once there, she’s shocked to learn that the ring her grandmother entrusted to her decades ago has magic powers — and she can’t tell if that handsome man following her is an agent of good or of evil!
But in the end, she was dead the whole time, obviously.
But in the end, it just kind of leaves you hanging, and you can’t tell if it’s purposefully open-ended or if they just ran out of money and decided to wrap the thing up already.
But in the end, this guy who was in the original Airport shows up and convinces her it was all in her head the entire time. But was it?
But in the end, out of nowhere, we’re told it was actually aliens? It really seems like a last-minute rewrite.
But in the end, she just kills everyone and the last shot just freezes on her, laughing. It’s actually pretty violent for network TV in 1978.
But in the end, they solve the mystery kinda quickly but leave the door open for more, because it was apparently a pilot for a series, but clearly nobody wanted that.
But in the end, her scheming cousin was staging the whole thing in some weird bid to get a bigger share on the inheritance.
But in the end, the guy you think is the bad guy is actually the good guy and the guy you think is the good guy gets thrown out a window. But in the last shot the guy looks back and he has the other guy’s face, which doesn’t make any sense.
But in the end, she gets buried alive. I still remember seeing that scene when I was a kid and I was so terrified.
But in the end, it turns out she was in hell the whole time, and of all people Will Geer is playing the devil. It was actually the last thing he ever made, which is too bad.
THE GUEST STAR
With a special appearance by Priscilla Barnes!
With a special appearance by Donna Mills!
With a special appearance by Patty Duke!
With a special appearance by Suzanne Somers!
With a special appearance by Shelley Winters!
With a special appearance by Adrienne Barbeau!
With a special appearance by Meredith Baxter!
With a special appearance by Katherine Helmond!
With a special appearance by Barbara Stanwyck!
With a special appearance by Lee Grant!