A Howling in the Woods (1971)

The November 5, 1971 NBC World Premiere Movie, this movie reunited Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden after their sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, which went off the air on May 26, 1970. It’s based on Velda Johnson’s novel of the same name.

I’ve often said, when it comes to horror movies, that no one should ever go home again. This movie would be another example of that, as Liza Crocker (Eden) runs from her rumpled husband Eddie (Hagman) back to her Nevada hometown, where she soon learns that her father is missing and that she also has a new stepbrother (John Rubinstein, who was also in another great TV movie, Killjoy). Meanwhile, everyone in town is acting deranged, children are randomly being drowned and she can hear a howling in the woods at night.

Vera Miles, who starred in both Psycho and Psycho 2, plays her stepmother. There’s also a strong role for Tyne Daly, who always elevates any material. But if you’re hoping for an extended reunion of Hagman and Eden, their shared screen time is minimal.

Daniel Petrie, who directed this, is a solid hand. He also made the TV movies Moon of the Wolf and Sybil, so he certainly knew how to take advantage of the budgets and limitations of television. He also made the Harold Robbins adaption The Betsy for the silver screen, as well as A Raisin in the Sun.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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