Thursday, October 25, 2012
A Taste of Evil (1971)
So, I'm back again with another "Movie of the week", first aired May 13th, 1972 - according to once source, on ABC (IMDB claims October 12th, 1971...). A Taste of Evil is a special case, because it's actually a remake of another movie Jimmy Sangster wrote, the brilliant Taste of Fear. According to Sangster himself he just changed the names and a few details and voila, a new script was born for the American TV-market. I've seen the original and I've read some unfair comparisons between them and I think people are way to hard against this remake. They're both classy, but A Taste of Evil twists the plot a little bit more and - oddly enough, because it's a made for TV movie - makes the story a bit darker and controversial.
Susan (Barbara Parkins) has been at a clinic for ten years, after a very traumatic incident as a child. When she comes home again her mother (Barbara Stanwyck) has married an old family friend, Harold, and everything seems back to normal... or? Susan starts to see her dead father everywhere and soon her family think she's going insane, or is someone just trying to make her insane? All is not well in this beautiful house...
Here we have a very fine thriller, set in a house and a garden - and that's it. Sangster's script and John Llewellyn Moxey's (the king of good TV-movies by the way) directing is excellent and never wastes one second on something that's not needed (can someone please tell that to the majority of the Swedish filmmakers today?). What's even cooler is that Barbara Stanwyck plays one of the leads and she's brilliant, she completely rules every scenes she's in - without taking over and stealing from the others (for example the always reliable Roddy McDowall and Barbara Parkins).
This is one of those thrillers that depends a lot on twists and it's a pity I can't discuss them more open, but here there's a couple of details that makes this one work a lot better than the original - for example the reason for why Susan has been away to a clinic for ten years and connected to that another twist which makes everything in this production even more disturbing. It's a brave move, and a brave choice of actors to do this story with all it's darkness. Interesting enough it's produced by Aaron Spelling, long before he became a producer of shallow crappy entertainment for shallow crappy teens. Oh, I know. This is also mainstream, made to earn a lot of money from advertising - but it still dares to be something more than just safe and boring.
There's not much more to write. It's a good TV-movie, edgy and keeps up the tension all the way through. Recommended.