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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver (1977)

This made for television movie starts off with a bang. We see a house on fire before hearing a woman screaming. Then it transitions to a couple attending a funeral. We find out that they are the Olivers, played by George Hamilton and Karen Black. Though that turns out to be a nightmare as Miriam (Black’s character) wakes up. We then go on to find out that they are trying for a baby and that he doesn’t want her to go back to work or school as that may get in the way. She is restless and starts to have waking dreams or flashbacks about a blonde woman.

This leads her to changing the way she dresses and getting a wig. Eventually she even rents a beach house and meets the locals. These folks seem to recognize her and say she must be another woman who disappeared five years earlier named Sandy. This is the woman that has been haunting her. Is it a ghost that is trying to possess her? Maybe she is losing her mind and taking on a second personality? Or maybe she is just bored and looking for some excitement? In the end the mystery is revealed, and everything is okay.

Obviously, I’m not going to spoil the movie here because I rather enjoyed The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver. It is a well written story with enough twists and turns to keep your attention for the entire seventy two minute runtime. I honestly didn’t see the ending coming but it works nicely. That shouldn’t be a surprise as it was written by the legendary Richard Matheson. This guy knew how to write for a budget as well as the censorship applied to these made for television flicks.

Sandy getting her groove on!
The cast is solid as well with George Hamilton in what is basically a supporting role as the husband. We also get a brief appearance from Bill Kerwin who most of us will recognize from his time in H.G. Lewis flicks. Though there is no doubt that this is the Karen Black show. She has the most screentime and is called on to carry the narrative. There are several scenes where it is just her reacting with confusion to the memories she is experiencing. We even get a cool scene where she is trying to convince herself that she is Miriam while talking to her husband. I think that people forget how great an actress she was and that is a damn shame.

I miss these made for T.V. productions. Yeah, a lot of them weren’t the best, but many of them were. Plus, it gave writers like Matheson and actresses like Black a place to get some work done. There is even a scene in a mall where we get to see a vintage seventies Footlocker in the background. The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver has something for everyone! I recommend checking this one out. As of the writing of this review it is on YouTube so there isn’t any excuse.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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