Based on the 1975 novel of the same name by Frank De Felitta — who also wrote the screenplay, as well as The Entity and Dark Night of the Scarecrow — this is the story of Bill and Janice Templeton, who are being hounded by a mysterious stranger who just wants to meet their daughter Ivy. That man is Elliot Hoover (Anthony Hopkins), a lost soul whose wife and daughter — Audrey Rose — died eleven years ago on the night that Ivy was born. He believes that she is his daughter.
Man, the 70s, huh? This movie takes that decades love of reincarnation and the occult — before we backtracked into the Satanic Panic of the 80s — and concocts a world where Higgins — John Hillerman plays a prosecutor — must deal with holy men claiming past lives are possible and hypnosis bringing Ivy back to her last incarnation. And then it ends with a quote from the Bhagavad-Gita? Ah man. What a decade.
Poor Robert Wise. He had to follow this one up with Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He made much better movies before that, like The Curse of the Cat People, West Side Story, The Haunting, The Sound of Music and The Andromeda Strain. However, as goofy as this gets, I kind of admire this movie. It’s cornball psychic hokum, but the best kind of carny BS — because it believes its own BS.
By the way, Brooke Shields tried out for this movie and even had the claim that she posed for the art of the paperback cover, which wasn’t BS.
As for De Felitta, he tried some BS to sell his book sequel For Love of Audrey Rose to the rubes, claiming that he’d heard his five-year-old son suddenly be able to play ragtime music on the piano.