Featured Post

Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

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...

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

A Taste of Evil (1971)

The movie kicks off with a little girl playing in her clubhouse while the adults are at a party. Someone comes in and there is a scream. Later it is confirmed that she was molested by a man, though she has blocked out the details and can’t identify him. That is some pretty heavy stuff for a television movie in the early seventies. Years later the little girl, Susan, has returned from Europe. She was in an asylum and while no longer catatonic still has no memory of what happened to her. Her doctor thinks it is best that she return home to hopefully jar her memory and complete her recovery.

This is where the movie picks up. In the years she was away Susan’s father has passed away and her mother has remarried a man named Harold. There is also the groundskeeper John and a few other household staff members. From the moment she arrives home it is clear that someone is shadowing Susan, scaring her at every opportunity. She also starts to see Harold, who left on a business trip, apparently dead. Though when she gets help the body is always gone. Is she losing her mind or is there something else going on? I won’t spoil this one by answering that question or by giving anymore details here.

I enjoyed the heck out of A Taste of Evil. The story had a cool gothic feel to it. The house is imposing, and you have the family/staff who may or may not want what is best for our main character. The woman in danger questioning her own sanity is also a trope of this sort of flick but is handled decently here. The creeping around the woods and the old house in the dark all adds to an atmosphere that helps to make this a bit spooky and very entertaining. There is a twist that I won’t spoil, but it also fits with the sort of story they are trying to tell here. It has a very Rebecca and/or The Uninvited feel that put a smile on my face. I love flicks like this. The shorter runtime of seventy three minutes also helps it to move along quickly and not linger on bits that could have killed the pacing. Here being a made for television flick helps it out quite a bit.

Have no fear Dr. McDowall is here!
I will acknowledge that the actress, Barbara Parkins, struggles a bit as Susan. There are times when she should be carrying the movie but is lost a bit in her scenes with the stronger supporting co-stars. Barbara Stanwyck (her mother), William Windom (Harold), and Roddy McDowall (the family doctor) all dominate their scenes with her. It might have been a big ask to get her to hold her own with such a great group of actors but that is what was needed, and it hurts the movie that she can’t. Though that didn’t spoil things for me, but it could have been better with a stronger actress in the lead role.

A Taste of Evil is a fun television movie that reminds me of being a kid and staying up to watch something I’d never heard of. I do remember this one making the rounds on the late show that used to start after the news on my local station. Luckily you don’t have to stay up to watch it as you can find the movie online to check out for free. Did I mention it has Roddy McDowall in it? He is awesome yet again. I recommend checking this one out.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

No comments:

Post a Comment