Nightmare at 43 Hillcrest (1974)

This is based on a true story and all about the Leyden family and how they went up against the law.

One evening, Gregory (Jim Hutton, Psychic KillerThe Green Berets), his wife Esther (Emmaline Henry, Elise Dunstan from Rosemary’s Baby) and their daughter Nancy (Linda Curtis, daughter of director/producer Dan Curtis, who would sadly die a year after this film aired) are having a quiet evening when the cops burst in. The reason? Heroin.

Yes, police commissioner Clarence Hartog (Peter Mark Richman, so memorable as teacher Charles McCulloch in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan)has made a mistake, but he’s not going back on it. It was supposed to be a bust at 43 North Hillcrest, not 43 Hillcrest. But now, he’s shredded all the evidence and forced one of the cops, Sandy Bates (Don Dubbins, From Earth to the Moon), to be part of his scheme.

This made for TV movie also features Mariette Hartley (who was in all those Polaroid commericals with James Garner) and John Karlen (who was also on Curtis’ Dark Shadows as Willie Loomis).

Wiilie Katz wrote this, but he’s perhaps better known for the song “Mr. Touchdown U.S.A.,” which was used in Some Call It LovingYes Man and Jackass 3D. Lela Swift, who also directed several episodes of Dark Shadows and Ryan’s Hope, provided co-direction.

This is a great artifact of 1970’s TV, shot on video and filled with dark themes of uncaring police and a downer ending. It’s one of the few commercially released episodes of ABC’s The Wide World of Mystery. Sadly, not many episodes are available, which makes me upset. These hour-plus mini-films are just plain awesome.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

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