Come Die With Me (1974)

I’m loving these Dan Curtis produced ABC Wide World of Mystery TV movies, which are shot on video and appear like maniacal soap operas but are infused with so much murder and menace that you’re shocked that they played on regular TV.

Eileen Brennan (Mrs. Peacock from Clue) stars as Mary, a housekeeper who yearns for a man of her own. But she realizes that she’s not the most attractive fish in the sea, so to win over her handsome boss Walter (George Maharis, TV’s Route 66), she blackmails him. Sure, he might be a murderer, but he’s attractive and has seen so much more of the world than she ever will.

Look for Nick Ferrari (Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off), Charles Macaulay (who was the Dracula who turned Prince Mamuwalde into Blacula), Alan Napier (Alfred from TV’s Batman) and Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans from Curtis’ Dark Shadows).

This was directed by Pittsburgh native Burt Brinckerhoff, who also helmed plenty of episodic TV like Lou GrantRemington Steele7th Heaven and Alf, as well as the TV movie Can You Hear the Laughter? The Story of Freddie Prinze. He started his career as an actor and appears in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

I really dug this one — it feels like an Americanized giallio — minus the directorial flourishes, but certainly with the twists, turns and psychosexual drama inherent within the genre. There’s a great scene where Mary asks Walter about his experience with orgies and drugs. You can really sense that she both wants to know everything and wants to hear nothing. It’s really well done.

You can order this from Modcinema or watch it on Amazon Prime.

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