LOST TV WEEK: The Covenant (1985)

In the mid-1980’s, prime time soaps like Dynasty and Dallas were still big news. I can see the meetings on this potential series in my mind: what if we took some Dark Shadows, a little bit of Satanic panic and then mixed them all in with the greed of the Me Decade? The potential for a series was here, but The Covenant only winded up being a strange TV movie featuring evil cats, José Ferrer and lots of fire.

The Nobles are a fabulously wealthy family but all their power comes with a secret: they’ve pledged themselves to the devil. Now, they’re grooming their youngest child to remain a virgin until she’s 21 — man, I thought Satanism came with lots of sex — so that she can be part of the blood sacrifice that must occur every hundred years.

The Judges are the only ones that can stop them, but it also turns out Diana (Jane Balder, who used to eat mice on V), the young second wife of the family’s patriarch VIctor Noble (Ferrer), has some secret machinations of her own that could cause even more chaos.

Want to know how evil Victor is? He used to advise Adolph Hitler. Yep. That evil. And his wife Diana is also his niece so we can check off Satanism, Nazis and incest all in one movie.

She also has a twin sister, Claire, who is played by Michelle Phillips. All of the women in the family have supernatural powers, such as the ability to set dudes on fire. Which comes in handy, trust me.

You’ve also got Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman!) in the cast, as well as Barry Morse as Zachariah, the leader of The Judges; Jennifer Cooke (Megan from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives); Judy Parfitt (Vera Donovan from Delores Claiborne); Bradford Dillman; James Saito (the Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and even a quick part for a young Tia Carrere.

Director Walter Grauman also directed 53 episodes of Murder, She Wrote as well as the TV movies Are You in the House Alone? and Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. He was also a distinguished war vet, being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and eight other air medals for his 56 combat missions during World War II.

Dan DiStefano, who worked on cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesFlash GordonChuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, Mr. T as well as the short-lived TV series Misfits of Science, wrote this. He was joined by J..D. Feigelson, who was the writer of Wes Craven’s ChillerDark Night of the Scarecrow and Horror High.

Grauman, DiStefano and Feigelson also were behind another TV movie, Nightmare on the 13th Floor, which is all about a reporter discovering that a hotel has a hidden 13th floor where a murderer lives.

I would have been 13 or so when this show aired and while it would have intrigued me with its dark parts, all the machinations and soap opera would have probably bored me. Now that I’m old, I can see how this show could have worked. But then again, I’m also enough of a realist to know that it would have aired on Friday nights, the dead zone for horror and science fiction related TV.

Want to see it for yourself? I posted the YouTube video above and you can also buy it at True TV Movies.

 

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