Any time people wonder why women keep pushing harder and harder for their inalienable rights, you should force them to watch this movie, which shows how far our society has come since 1978. There’s a scene in here that literally made us start yelling at the TV set because of how insane it is. Yet forty years ago, this type of thinking was commonplace.
Originally airing on CBS on September 20, 1978, Are You In the House Alone? is based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Richard Peck.
Gail Osborne (Kathleen Beller, Dynasty) is a high school student dealing with all the pressures of being sixteen, such as discover her skills as a photographer and dealing with boys who only want sex. Her family has moved away from San Francisco to a new town to escape the dangers of the big city.
She starts dating a guy named Steve (Scott Colomby, Tony from Caddyshack), despite her overprotective parents (Blythe Danner and Tony Bill). Despite this young love flowering, Gail keeps getting threatening letters and calls from a man who laughs at her. She asks her principal for help and is basically told that it’s all probably her fault for a way that she’s treated one of her male classmates.
Gail’s life is pretty much falling apart. Her parents constantly fight, her dad’s back off the wagon and he gets fired from his job without telling anyone. The letters and calls start to increase and we have a red herring dangled in our snooping noses in the person of way too involved photography teacher Chris Elden (played by the incredibly named Alan Fudge who was in Galaxis, My Demon Lover, and Brainstorm).
Surprise — it ends up being her best friend Allison’s (Robin Mattson, who was in Candy Stripe Nurses and a film that this is remakably similar to, Secret Night Caller) boyfriend Phil (Dennis Quaid, who is so young it’ll blow your mind). He attacks her while she’s babysitting the children of Jessica Hirsch (Tricia O’Neil, Piranha II: The Spawing), a lawyer who just happens to be dating the aforementioned Mr. Elden.
The shocking part we mentioned above is that when Jessica becomes Gail’s lawyer, she tells her that there’s a chance no one will put Phil in jail because she’s not a virgin anymore. The world may be a mess these days, but man, in 1978, it was a real mess.
While not technically a slasher — there’s no body count to speak of — the hallmarks of the genre, such as a babysitter being stalked and constantly threatened by a maniac, are all here.
Also — what was it with 1970’s made for TV movie houses and plants? Every single home in this movie is abundantly lush with vegetation. Every plant is green and thriving, despite no sunlight in any of these homes. How did they do it?
Want to watch it? Good news. It’s on Amazon Prime and I’ve embedded the full movie from YouTube below. You can also buy it from Shout! Factory on a double disk with The Initiation of Sarah. I wish they had put out more TV movies like this!