The Victim (1972)

If you ever wonder why I love my wife so much, I was watching this movie and she walked into the room, sat on the couch and excitedly remarked, “That’s Eileen Heckart!” Yes, Becca loves The Bad Seed. And she isn’t shy about it.

Director Herschel Daugherty’s directorial efforts run the gamut of TV’s classics, from Star Trek to Alfred Hitchcock PresentsThriller and The Six Million Dollar Man. He was even the dialogue director for Mildred Pierce!

Kate Wainwright (Elizabeth Montogomery, who you may know from Bewitched, but around here we celebrate her for her role in The Legend of Lizzie Borden) is coming to visit her sister, but unbeknownst to her, her sister is already dead. She has to deal with the increasingly crazy attention of her sister’s maid, Mrs. Hawkes (Heckart) as well as power outages and an increasingly more frightening storm. We soon learn that her sister already fired the maid and is planning on divorcing her husband, Ben.

While we see the sister get murdered at the beginning of the film, we never see the killer. What we do see is Kate go increasingly more and more afraid and Montgomery turns in an awesome performance.

The McKnight Malmar story this was based on was first filmed for a 1962 episode of Boris Karloff’s Thriller entitled The Storm, which was also directed by Herschel Daugherty. The Victim was rewritten by Merwin Gerard and doesn’t stick as close to the original story.
The ending of this movie might frustrate you. Or maybe you might enjoy it, as it never really lets up on the creep factor.
I’m interested to know what you think. That said, this TV movie has never been released on DVD. It’s available on the grey market and on YouTube, so stream it and let’s discuss it.

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