SON OF MADE FOR TV MOVIES WEEK: Something Evil (1972)

Steven Spielberg directed this Robert Clouse (the director of Enter the Dragon) written TV movie that originally aired on January 21, 1972. In fact, Spielberg even appears briefly in the film speaking to Carl Gottlieb (who would go on to co-write Jaws) at a party.

Marjorie (Sandy Dennis, God Told Me To) and Paul Worden (Darren McGavin, Carl Kolchak forever) have just moved to a Pennsylvania farmhouse with their children, Stevie (Johnny Whitaker, Jody from Family Affair) and Laurie. There are symbols all over the house, which no one seems to have any issues with.

Is there weirdness at the farm? You know there is. Their neighbor, Gehrmann, (Jeff Corey, Battle Beyond the Stars) kills chickens right in front of the kids. Marjorie keeps hearing the sound of crying children. Then there’s Harry (Ralph Bellamy, Coming to AmericaPretty Woman), a local who believes in demons and says that the house is protected from them because of all the symbols.

Marjorie is convinced that the devil wants her and even slaps her son, which leads to her leaving the family, as she can’t even trust herself. But what if the devil was after her kids and not her? Hmm?

Spielberg would escape TV movies after this. It’s a low budget affair, but his style as a director transforms the material. It’s unsettling, filled with doom and gloom and dread. The 70’s really seem like a dismal time to be alive if we only go by TV movies, huh?

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