HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1972) Reviews and overview

 

Home for the Holidays is a 1972 American made-for-television horror film directed by John Llewellyn Moxey (The Night Stalker; A Taste of EvilThe City of the Dead) from a screenplay by Joseph Stefano (Psycho IV; Snowbeast; The Outer LimitsPsycho).

The movie stars Sally Field, Eleanor Parker (She’s Dressed to Kill; Circle of Fear; Eye of the Cat), Julie Harris (The Dark HalfThe Haunting), Jessica Walter (Doctor StrangePlay Misty for Me) and Walter Brennan.

Plot:

Benjamin Morgan, a wealthy father, is on his deathbed. He has invited his four daughters home for Christmas and tells them he suspects his second wife of poisoning him.

Shortly after, the daughters learn that their stepmother was accused of killing her first husband, and they begin to fall prey to a pitchfork-wielding killer dressed in a yellow raincoat and wearing rubber boots and gloves…

Reviews:

“There’s not much of a body count and we only really get to see the killer stalking on a couple of occasions, but still this is a wonderfully crafted and skilfully shot thriller that deserves to be seen this Xmas. It may not be quite as good as Black Christmas, but the truth is, it’s not lagging that far behind…” Luisito Joaquín González, A Slash Above…

“Perhaps the film sails too close to soap opera histrionics at times, but this was an Aaron Spelling production, after all. However, the performances are roundly so good that this doesn’t matter, plus the story just keeps twisting and turning (there’s a sting in the tail in case you didn’t guess).” Hysteria Lives!

” … it moves at a blistering pace in spite of being what is essentially a brooding and atmospheric horror film laced with humor painted so dark that it almost blends into the black, stormy night.” Video Junkie

“In a wonderfully controlled performance, the Harris injects Home with an effective air of ambiguous tension. Is she the mad hatter or not? In the type of ‘suspected killer’ role so prevalent with gialli from the ’70s (and to a slightly lesser extent slashers from the ’80s), Harris is fresh, dark and commanding as Elizabeth.” The Terror Trap

“It’s a real treat to watch the actresses sink their teeth into this tasty whodunit. There’s sibling rivalry, madness, drugs, sex, and murder; what more could one ask for in a gothic thriller?” Michael Karol, The ABC Movie of the Week Companion

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“Long time TV director John Llewellyn Moxey fills his frames with what you’d expect; gracious dolly rides, quick zooms, and tight compositions. Even when Joseph Psycho Stefano’s script starts to dawdle and droop and sag, the ever-present misty atmosphere makes the ambiguous ending worth the wait.” Bleeding Skull!

Choice dialogue:

Joanna Morgan: “All men are paranoid. That’s why some of them eventually do get murdered.”

Release:

Home for the Holidays premiered on ABC on November 28, 1972, as part of the ABC Movie of the Week series.

Cast and characters:

Sally Field … Christine Morgan
Eleanor Parker … Alex Morgan
Julie Harris … Elizabeth Hall Morgan
Jessica Walter … Frederica “Freddie” Morgan
Jill Haworth … Joanna Morgan
John Fink … Doctor Ted Lindsay
Walter Brennan … Benjamin Morgan
Med Flory … Sheriff Nolan

Trailer:

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