Plot: Rachel (Linda Blair) has just learned that her aunt & uncle have been killed in a car accident, a sudden loss which has left her mother devastated. In the wake of the tragic event, Julia (Lee Purcell) was left an orphan and comes to live with Rachel’s family for a while. At first, Rachel is thrilled to have a new friend, but she senses something is off about her cousin. Her suspicions are intense, but only get even stronger when some odd things start to happen. Rachel’s always peaceful horse tries to attack Julia, her boyfriend loses interest and pursues Julia, and Rachel breaks out in hives, none of which would have seemed possible before Julia’s arrival. But everyone seems to love Julia and as such, no one seems interested in Rachel’s claims. Is Rachel just jealous of the new girl in town, or is there some kind of darker force at work?
Entertainment Value: This made for television movie boasts an impressive pedigree, with Linda Blair in the lead and Wes Craven in the director’s chair. Blair once again faces all kinds of problems from a dark supernatural presence, but at least this time, she isn’t the one possessed by the darkness. In this one, Blair plays a more sweet, spunky role that is fun to watch, especially as the strange events around her escalate. Her performance is good, though your appreciation for melodrama will dictate how good. I love melodrama, so I had fun when she went a little over the top, but I am not everyone will share that opinion. Also present are Lee Purcell as the charmed teen, Fran Drescher, Carol Lawrence, and Jeremy Slate, among others. The movie isn’t all that scary, but has some fun elements of witchcraft and the supernatural, to be sure. As this was made for tv audiences, it can’t do much in terms of blood, sleaze, or intense scares, but it still comes through with solid entertainment. Fans of witchcraft cinema, Blair, or Craven will likely want to check this one out.
No nakedness. This is a 70s made for tv movie, so gratuitous sleaze was never even a remote possibility in this one. No blood. Some hives, but otherwise the effects are limited to eerie eyes and some witchcraft paraphernalia. But given the nature of the production, you can’t be too critical of the lack of blood and violence, as television projects just weren’t allowed to explore those avenues. The dialogue is quirky, melodramatic, and a little silly at times, but mostly a good deal of fun. Blair is fun when she gets a little worked up, sometimes on the verge of a tantrum, it would seem. Her interactions with Lee Purcell can be a good time especially, as the tension between the characters is thick and leads to some wild exchanges. Not a wealth of big, quotable lines, but solid camp and consistent fun here. On the craziness end of things, we have all the witchcraft, a horse gone wild, and the strange trance the family is put into. Not an off the rails kind of movie, but some nice moments of wackiness.
Overall Insanity: 2/10