Monday, July 26, 2010

MYSTERY DOUBLE FEATURE: SHADOW OF FEAR / NIGHTMARE AT 43 HILLCREST

This is another pairing of two shot-on-video 70s TV movies from producer Dan Curtis (DEAD OF NIGHT, TRILOGY OF TERROR) which originally aired on ABC's late night anthology series WIDE WORLD MYSTERY.

The first feature on this disc is SHADOW OF FEAR (1973), and stars Claude Akins (THE NORLISS TAPES), Anjanette Comer, and a young, moustache-free Tom Selleck (MAGNUM P.I.). A wealthy industrialist recruits his security chief (Akins) to find out who is stalking and threatening his wife (Comer), unaware that she's having an affair with a handsome young boyfriend (Selleck).

Thriller number two is NIGHTMARE AT 43 HILLCREST (1974), which stars Jim Hutton (ELLERY QUEEN) and Mariette Hartley in an allegedly true story about a bunch of police officers who mistakenly raid a suburban family's home looking for drugs. Realizing their mistake but unwilling to admit to it, they plant drugs in the home and arrest the father, ruining his reputation and destroying his family's life.

As with the first volume, both telefilms are talky, visually bland efforts that, due to the videotape format and low budgets, look exactly like 1970s soap operas. The actors do the best they can with the material, and both stories are just about intriguing enough to hold one's interest for an hour or so, but just barely. They're moderately interesting curios, and that's about it.

Both movies are presented in 1.33:1 "full-frame" format with mono sound. Picture quality is about as good as can be expected from 30+ year-old videotape. There are no bonus features.

As I said before, these discs are really only of interest to fans of the specific actors involved or Dan Curtis completists.

BUY: Shadow of Fear & Nightmare at 43 Hillcrest