Fantasies (1982)

Middletown, U.S.A. is the biggest show on TV. Sure, it’s controversial, but the ratings are through the roof. The only problem is that every time a major villain gets any traction, they end up dying for real.

Last year, we interviewed Amanda Reyes from Made for TV Mayhem. She recommended this film and it’s been on our list for awhile. Trying to get in sixty slashers that aren’t all that well-known for October gave us the perfect opportunity to watch it. If you’d like to read Amanda’s take on the movie, check out her site.

Director William Wiard was also behind This House Possessed, a fine example of made for TV horror. Here, he’s working from a script by David Levinson, who also worked on that film.

Suzanne Pleshette plays Carla Webber, who after being left by her husband decided that she’d become an independent woman. After watching daytime soaps, she soon learned that she was pretty good at writing for them, which leads to her running the biggest soap around. Barry Newman from Vanishing Point shows up as her love interest, plus Robert Vaughn is the slimy network president.

While this film doesn’t have much gore, it doesn’t skimp on the murders. It’s close to giallo territory with a humming killer only seen from their own POV, as well as a duplicitous identity and mental disorders at the end.

It’s not perfect, but Pleshette is. It’s fun to see her fully embracing a leading role after so many only knew her as Newhart’s wife. I know that Lifetime exists now to create movies similar to this, but there’s just something missing in a world that no longer has made for TV movies quite like this. Sure, TV is going through a golden age now, but give me the 1970s and 1980s past.

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