Unknown Powers (1978)

Directed by Don Como (World of the UnknownThe Unknown Force), this is three episodes of a canceled TV series that had Jack Palance, Samantha Eggar, Will Geer and Roscoe Lee Brown as the hosts.

It’s your typical mid-70s paranormal BS, except then there’s this credit that says “All of the following scenes were filmed within the guarded confines of the People’s Temple in Los Angeles, The Reverend Jim Jones presiding” and you see footage of people being healed there and you realize that this was made and aired before everyone went to Guyana and well, you know what happened there.

There’s also a guy who was going to kill himself, went to a psychic and learned that if he gets stigmata, he finds oil. You can’t tell me that There Will Be Blood is more entertaining than that.

Psychic surgery. Talking to snakes and goats. Needles going through arms. Martial artists who claim that they can channel their powers into lying on beds of nails which in no way makes you good in a fight. Palance in a turtleneck. As always, Eggar provided her own wardrobe. A couple that built a pyramid over their bed to have better sex. Spitting up ectoplasm. Talking to plants. All the drugs.

People used to say that doing Ripley’s Believe It or Not was the down part of Palance’s career and he was like — imagine his voice — “I’ve done way worse, friend.”

You can watch this on Tubi.

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