Along with What’s the Matter With Helen?, this movie is one of the two collaborations between writer Henry Farrell and director Curtis Harrington. It was the ABC Movie of the Week on September 22, 1970 and has stood the test of time as one of the better TV movies. And there’s some stiff competition for that.
Shot in just 12 days, it stars Anthony Perkins as Allan Colleigh, who has psychosomatic blindness after an accident — he left paint cans too close to a fire — that killed his abusive father and scarred his sister Katharine (Julie Harris from the 1963 version of The Haunting).
After Allan returns to their home after time in a mental hospital, he’s convinced that everyone is out to get him, including a new boarder with speaks in a hoarse whisper and one of his sister’s ex-boyfriends on the phone.
Joan Hackett — who was in two great TV movies, Dead of Night and The Possessed — appears as Allan’s former girlfriend. She gets caught up in his mania as rooms of the house explode into flames and he’s kidnapped by that mysterious ex.
How Awful About Allan has plenty of actors as comfortable on the stage as they were on the big or small screen. Perkins agreed to wear special contacts that completely made him blind so that his performance would be more realistic.
This didn’t get great reviews when it came out, but do the movie we love ever do?