The Nesting (1981)

Also known as Phobia and Massacre Mansion, this movie fits into a genre that I really need to make a Letterboxd list for: films where a woman either inherits an old home or goes home, only for supernatural forces to ruin everything.

A section 3 video nastyThe Nesting does not skimp on the mayhem despite an early slow pace. New York City novelist Lauren Cochran (Robin Groves, Silver Bullet) decides to cure her agoraphobia — a fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness or embarrassment — by temporarily moving in to the Victorian mansion domicile of Daniel Griffith (Michael Lally, who is known more for his poetry than his acting) and his grandfather, Colonel Lebrun (John Carradine!).

This movie reminds me of Superstition and I mean that in the best of ways. When the supernatural decides to kill someone in both of these movies, it does not mess around. It dispatches people in the most extreme ways, such as ghostly hands pulling someone into a lake or a scythe right to the brain.

Even better, there are numerous dream sequences and reveals of the past of the house, which was once a brothel. That’s where Gloria Grahame* shows up in her last role as the madame of the home and the last survivor of a series of murders.

Daria Price also wrote Dawn of the Mummy, which is another underrated 80’s gorefest. This was directed by Armand Weston, who worked in adult, writing movies like the Serena-starring N.Y. Babes and directing the film Personals, which has hardcore re-enactments of interviews of real people who ran personals ads.

*I absolutely love that the credits say “with the grateful participation of Gloria Grahame.”

You can watch this on Tubi.

The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (1981)

Robert Guenette took his experience working for Sunn Classics and made this movie, which decimated my childhood with its airings on HBO. Seriously, even if I saw only a moment of movie, my nine-year-old self would have the worst anxiety you’ve ever felt.

Orson Welles hosted this, despite the fact that he didn’t really believe in the subject all that much. His main objection was his belief that Nostradamus’ work was never translated properly. That’s because his quatrains — Nostradamus broke his work into four lines at a time and then collected them into centuries, which were one hundred quatrains at a time — make it difficult to comprehend what he was really saying.

Adding to Welles’ theories, the political and religious issues of the psychic’s time made him hide his predictions in four different languages — Latin, French, Italian and Greek — and then coded messages and took them into anagrams.

After making the movie, Welles started publically making fun of it, even when he was on shows where he was supposed to sell the movie to audiences. Was he contractually obligated to make it? Or was Welles just the kind of person who didn’t care and the filmmakers figured people would come see the movie anyway?

The scariest part of the movie is all about the King of Terror, who was said to be the third of the Antichrists who would spread Islam, join with Russia and nuke New York City. Between this and finding random Jack Chick tracts and The Day After, let me tell you, if you think the 80’s were fun, you didn’t live in them.

In 1988, this movie found another life — after theaters and HBO — when it became a video rental hit in the wake of the California earthquakes. Roger Ebert said, “Sales clerks at the busy 20/20 Video Store on La Cienega Boulevard told me the tape is renting like crazy, and the overnight fee has been raised to $6, reflecting the demand. Spokesmen for Warner Bros Home Video confirm that “The Man Who Foretold the Future” has emerged as a surprise hit from their backlist.”

It found another life after that if you can believe it!

In 1991, a remake of the film aired on NBC with Charlton Heston redoing Welles’ narration, reading almost the same script. However, with it being only an hour long, they cut plenty out of the movie, as well as the implication that the third Antichrist was an Islamic leader. It’s implied that this person is really Sadaam Hussein. And to make it even weirder, the end of the world parts were deleted.

Wait! It also did the very same comeback after 9/11, when Blockbuster Video went nuts renting this movie. In an article in the Chicago Tribune, “Anika Lee, manager of a Blockbuster Video store in Chicago, reported several requests for The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, and said “[Customers] have been asking for that like crazy.””

Regardless, you really should watch it, if only to listen to one of the greatest geniuses of all time reduced to being in an exploitation documentary.

You can download this from the Internet Archive.

Christiane F. (1981)

“Once there were mountains on mountains
Once there were sun birds to soar with and once I could never be down
I got to keep searching and searching
Oh, what will I be believing and who will…”

David Bowie, that chameleonic 20th century demigod, had transmuted from his Halloween Jack and plastic soul “Young Americans” look to become a new and much darker character, the Thin White Duke, given to “throwing darts in lover’s eyes.”

The Duke was the flipside of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, the evil antonym second self of the Man Who Fell to Earth, who at first looked much simpler and more normal than the past versions of who audiences had come to expect Bowie being. Yet he was a character of contradictions, in Bowie’s own words “A very Aryan, fascist type; a would-be romantic with absolutely no emotion at all but who spouted a lot of neo-romance.”

The Duke was beyond amoral; he’d make statements supporting Hitler and give alleged sieg heil salutes outside London Victoria station. Was it theater? Or was it a steady diet of red peppers, milk, and hard drugs, further fuelled by paranoia, Kabbala and Crowley teachings, and the constant fear that witches were coming for him, leading him to keeping all of waste matter in a series of locked refrigerators?

Realizing that the Thin White Duke was “a very nasty character indeed,” Bowie left California and headed to West Berlin with Iggy Pop. Unlike Ziggy, the Duke did not have a public retirement. He just went away.

“I brought my baby home, she, she sat around forlorn
She saw my TVC one five, baby’s gone, she
She crawled right in, oh my, she crawled right in my
So hologramic, oh my TVC one five
Oh, so demonic, oh my TVC one five”

Christiane Vera Felscherinow grew up in West Berlin with an abusive alcoholic father and an absent mother, lost in the throes of an affair. By 12, she was smoking hash. She soon moved to pills, LSD and heroin. And by the time she was 14, she was hooked on smack and hooking on corners.

Kai Hermann and Horst Rieck from the news magazine Stern met her when she was a witness in a trial for a man who was paying sex workers with smack. They had the idea that she’d help them tell the hidden story of Berlin’s teen drug epidemic. A two-hour interview turned into two months, as Felscherinow provided them with enough stories to be in a weekly series of articles that became the book Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, the story of her life between 12 and 15.

After the initial success of the book and the film made from it — we’ll get to that in a bit — she became a star, with her look emulated by young girls who made pilgrimages to the Bahnhof Zoo. Along with her boyfriend, Einstürzende Neubauten member Alexander Hacke, she released two albums under the name Sentimentale Jugend. They also appeared together in the movie Decoder.

When she came to America to promote the film, she was busted for heroin and had to leave the country. In 2013, while promoting her second book Mein Zweites Leben [My Second Life], she told VICE that she still had to consume methadone and claimed that she never wanted to give up drugs. She suffers today from a combination of hepititus C and cirrhosis of the liver, and said in that article, “I will die soon, I know that. But I haven’t missed out on anything in my life. I am fine with it. So this isn’t what I’d recommend: this isn’t the best life to live, but it’s my life.”

“Come see, come see, remember me?
We played out an all night movie role
You said it would last, but I guess we enrolled
In 1984 (who could ask for more)”

Christiane F. is the very definition of a rough watch. Unlike the gentlemen junkies media had presented up to now, the addicts of this story are still children, passing out in public bathrooms, covered in piss and blood and vomit, washing out needles in the toilet to use them again, selling themselves for just one fix and passing through lives as unloved forgotten husks.

The love of music — of David Bowie! — brings our heroine to SOUND, a club where she takes her first pills, which leads to LSD, which leads to heroin after a Bowie show that barely anyone enjoys as they’re so bombed out of their brains, yet there’s a radiant rock star in their midst*.

The love of a young boy is even worse, because that’s why the heroin starts, and when he goes, the heroin stays. Selling her body is just another way to stay close to the boy, who sells his body to men for the drugs he needs to stay alive. or stay dead, who can say.

She and the boy try to go cold turkey together after a friend dies, but one trip to the Bahnhof Zoo ruins it all. They run to one of his clients houses and she walks in on the man taking the man she loves from behind and runs, finding that more of their friends are dying all around them before she overdoses herself, but lives.

“I can remember
Standing, by the wall
And the guns, shot above our heads
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall
And the shame, was on the other side”

At the German premiere of the film, Bowie picked up Felscherinow in a limousine.

“I thought David Bowie was going to be the star of my movie, but it was all about me,” she said. And she didn’t really like the movie that much.

*Actually, the footage shown is an AC/DC show in Berlin, juxtaposed with footage of Bowie shot in New York City.

Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams (1981)

I think I’ve seen this Cheech and Chong movie more than any other, as I remember it playing non-stop on HBO when I was a kid. It continues the story of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Sgt. Stedenko (Stacy Keach) trying to catch our heroes, this time smoking an experimental strain that turns people into lizards, all to get into the mind of the marijuana fiend.

Meanwhile, Cheech and Chong are running Happy Herb’s Nice Dreams, an ice cream truck that really sells marijuana grown by their friend Weird Jimmy (James William Newport, who worked most often as a production designer).

After a dinner at a Chinese restaurant leads Cheech into hooking up with his ex-girlfriend Donna (as always, played by Evelyn Guerrero) while a record producer (Paul Ruebens!) gets incredibly high via snorting cocaine and screaming about hamburgers and new wave while believing that Chong is really Jerry Garcia. This scene never fails to make me laugh, because Ruebens screams, “How ’bout the future of rock and roll, huh? Bruce Springsteen? F**cking it all up.”

After running from Donna’s husband Animal, our heroes end up in a mental institution that is filled with all manner of great cameos from people like Michael Winslow, Sandra Bernhard, Geri Jewell, Big Yank (Rock from Penitentiary III), Mickey Fox (Eat My Dust), Bob Leslie (who is in two adult fairy tale films, Cinderella and Fairy Tales), Sally Marr (the mother of Lenny Bruce) and Timothy Leary.

By the end of the movie, Stedenko has become a full lizard and Cheech and Chong are now “The Sun Kings,” Maui and Wowie, the star strippers at Club Paradise.

There’s also a group of blondes in this movie that contains Linnea Quigley and Cheryl Rainbaux Smith (billed as Cheryl RX Smith). For that reason alone — beyond everything I’ve said above — this movie is worth watching.

Astoundingly, this movie had a three and a half page script and was instead storyboarded instead of being tightly written to encourage improvisation. Chong would say, “We probably use and waste more raw film than anyone in the business. But on the basis that comedy is the art of the unexpected, it’s worth it.”

The Excellent Eighties: Callie & Son (1981)

This is the great thing about Mill Creek box sets: we probably would have never reviewed this TV Movie obscurity for the site. Well . . . maybe we would have . . . you know us and those “Big Three” network TV flicks of the ’70s and ’80s.

Before Michelle Pfeiffer outshined them all and took over the later DVD boxes.

The cheapjack DVDs you pick up from those cardboard-boxed impulse buy end caps at your favorite retail outlets (Dollar Tree, Marshalls, and Bealls; even those Walmart barrels ‘o plenty in the electronics section) woefully credit Michelle “Catwoman” Pfeiffer as the “star” of this TV mini-series that originally ran for two nights in October 1981. The cast is a TV Movie support cast-dream, with just about every actor who ever booked a supporting role on a ’70s TV series or movie (Joy Garrett, John Harkins, Macon McCalman, and James Sloyan, in particular) appearing in a wide array of bit parts. The cast is not headed by Michelle, but by ubiquitous TV actors Lindsay “Bionic Woman” Wagner, along with Jameson “Simon & Simon” Parker, and the-easily-moves-between-TV-and-film actors Dabney Coleman (McKittrick from WarGames; in production on his 178th project!) and Andrew Prine, who shows us just how great of an actor he really is — and if you’ve spent any amount of time at B&S About Movies, you know Prine’s done his share of Drive-In junk, yet always shines in his role. (If you’re new here and not familiar with Prine’s work The Town that Dreaded SundownSimon King of the Witches, and Hannah, Queen of the Witches will get you started down your own Prine-rabbit hole.)

Sadly, Prine isn’t here much, only acting as the story-narrating Kimbel Smyth, as the story of Callie Lord (Wagner) unfolds: She’s a 1940’s unwed mother forced to give up her son for black market adoption. Moving from her small Texas town to the big city of Dallas for a new start (to study to become a courtroom stenographer), she comes to meet newspaper editor-in-chief Randall Bordeaux (Coleman) while working as a waitress. They marry. And understanding her pain, he tracks down her once-a-rebel-always-a-rebel son, Randy (Parker). Now a powerful newspaper editor after her husband’s passing, Callie looses it all when her son is up on murder charges over his gold digging, ne’er-do-well wife (a rather pudgy Pfeiffer; not at all the svelte Cat Woman we know).

If you’re a fan of those prime soap operas of the ’80s, with their ongoing tales of secrets, lies, and betrayals committed by the underprivileged behaving very badly, there’s something here for you to spend your two-plus hours on. Just don’t be duped into thinking Michelle Pfeiffer is running the show, but Lindsay Wagner fans will enjoy it. And while Wagner’s southern accent leaves a bit to be desired, Prine thrives in southern-slang roles; even in voice over, he’s excellent.

Director Waris Hussein, whose TV career began in Britain with a dozen episodes of Doctor Who in the mid-’60s and moved into the theatrical realms with the very early Gene Wilder film Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970), serviceably moves the camera about the solid set design that transitions from the 1940s to the late 1970s. We could easily do a week of just Waris Hussein TV movies, but we’ll call out the two we remember best: The Henderson Monster, a 1980 Frankenstein-esque horrror starring Stephen “7th Heaven” Colllins, and the really good John Savage-starring Coming Out of the Ice, a 1982 Cold War bio-drama. Teleplay scribe Thomas Thompson is an old TV western scribe whose career goes back to the days of The Rifleman, Rawhide, Wagon Train, The Virginian, Bonanza, and High Chaparral, but . . . he penned one of the great TV movies, well two: The Death of Richie (1977) and — the one that we really need to re-watch (and review!) after all these years — the two-night mini-series rating winner, A Death in Canaan (1978), which stars the sorely-missed-from-acting Paul Clemens (The Beast Within).

You can, of course, pick this up as one of the 50 movies offered on Mill Creek’s Excellent Eighties box set. There’s also a freebie upload on You Tube.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

The Excellent Eighties: Reborn (1981)

Ah, Sam knows my Bigas Luna fandom*, as I gushed my philosophical wax over the majesty of Luna in our review of Anguish. Gracias, mi amigo: your X-Mas gift of film is enjoyed.

What saddens me: that this, Bigas’s fourth directing effort — and his first English-language film (the second was Anguish) — ends up on a Mill Creek box set. No offense to the executives of Mill Creek, as we devour your box sets like a serial killer with a chest ripped-out heart on a Valentine’s Day murder spree . . . but wow, you’d think, with Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider) and Micheal Moriatry (The Stuff) on the marquee, Reborn would have not fallen into the public domain and received a proper digital reissue. Sadly, a deserved John Carpenter, Sean S. Cunningham, or Wes Craven-like success was not in the cards for Luna. As with Anguish, Reborn bombed at the U.S. box-office (as result of a poorly-received limited release) for which it was intended. What we really need is a double disc restore with Reborn packed with Anguish in honor of Bigas Luna. Now.

Okay. Enough with the ranting. Let me a have nice, warm cup of Ovaltine (Well, Roundtine, because, as Jerry Seinfeld pointed out: the cup is round and the jar is round. . . .) and finish this review. (Sorry, Sam. It can’t be done.)

It’s no mystery that Reborn, like Anguish before it, is beyond the bizarre — even for Satan’s tomfoolery — only this first English-language film for Luna is a bit more low-key than the eye-ball carving and snail fetishisms of Anguish. Luna’s eye for set design is on fire, natch, oozing with style and substance that’s punctuated by his usual taste for the erotic mixed with the spiritual: it’s a religious fantasy piece that questions faith, explores Luna’s Catholicism, and the mysteries of one’s acquiring healing powers. And, if those powers are real (they are, in this case), how does the one blessed (or cursed) used them? And, if that person is with child (she is, here), then will that child inherit the mother’s powers of stigmata and healing?

The story concerns Giacomo (Francesco Rabal, the real “leading man,” here), who discovers his Holy Ghost-hearing girlfriend (Antonella Murgia, the real “leading lady,” here) is a “stigmata”: someone whose hands and feet mysteriously bleed in the same places where Jesus Christ was crucified. (At the risk of getting into a religious debate: It is said Christ was crucified through his achilles (the back of the foot, above the heel) and his wrists; anyone “bleeding” from their palms and insteps are phonies, because, there’s no way nails can be driven through those parts of the body without shattering bones . . . then hang from those wound-points without ripping through the flesh and shattered bones, and falling off the crucifix. So read your Roman history before committing religious fraud, preacher man.) Of course, no surprise, Dennis Hooper is the maniacal Rev. Tom Hartley, an American televangelist-head of a racketeering “revivalist” church** — and he exploits the situation for his own, greedy purposes. Moriarty is Mark, Hopper’s kidnapping sidekick, sent to Italy to “recruit” the girl — they fall in love; he impregnates her — is his usual, off-the-chain self in a role that rises to his work in Q: The Winged Serpent.

The reason why we are here: Mill Creek Entertainment features this Bigas Luna classic on their Excellent Eighties 50-Movie Pack. There’s (awful, with muddy images and distorted audio) steaming copies at Amazon Prime and You Tube, but emptor those caveats, ye streamer: both platforms stream the 92-minute, shorter U.S.-version — when, what we really want, is the extra 13 minutes of the 105-minute original version. And trust me: those lost minutes are why so many detract this Luna masterpiece as “confusing junk.” And these bad prints aren’t helping matters, leaving you think you’re watching a knockoff of Giulio Paradisi’s confusing mess-of-a-mess The Exorcist knockoff that is the The Visitor — and Reborn is not that bad, for it is so, so much better. And it has nothing to do with exorcism.

The Exorcist-inspired theatrical one-sheet that hurt the film more than helped.

MGM currently holds the copyright on Reborn, with Park Circus/Arts Alliance as its TV/Home Video distributor. Again, we need a restore on this one, so help us out MGM and Park Circus!

* You can learn more about Bigas Luna with his 2013 obituary at Variety.
** Beth B’s dark comedy, Salvation!, starring Exene Cervenka, tackles the same material.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

THE EXCELLENT EIGHTIES: Choices (1981)

Seeing as how many TV movies are on this set, I was thinking that this would be the 1986 Cannon Pictures made for TV movie Choices, starring George C. Scott, Jacqueline Bisset and Melissa Gilbert, which was directed by David Lowell Rich. Nope.

Instead, this is a 1981 TV movie directed by Silvio Narizzano, who made Georgy Girl and the Dennis Hopper and Carrol Baker-starring Bloodbath, in which Hopper plays Chicken, a junkie living in a small Spanish village where magic and child sacrifice is a fact of life. You better believe I’m hunting that movie down right now.

You know, by comparison, this tale of a partially deaf teenager dealing with his handicap while winning over his football team and a new girlfriend while staying out of trouble seems really boring.

That new girlfriend is played by Demi Moore. It was her first role, but when she became a star, her image became the art on the VHS re-release. The major trivia I can impart to you on this movie is that star Paul Carafotes told Daily Mail that the night before Demi married her first husband Freddy Moore, she snuck out of her own bachelorette party to spend the night with him. She did mention this in her biography Inside Out, but never mentioned him by name.

You can watch this on YouTube.

B-Movie Blast: Liar’s Moon (1981)

And it all began — not just for Matt Dillon, but for all of us — with the greatest, modern juvenile delinquency film of all time: Over the Edge (1979), another one of those poorly-distributed, lost films that found a cult audience on HBO.

Needless to say, the girls loved Matt. And, between my sister and girlfriends, I went to the theaters to see his next four films: My Bodyguard (the best), Little Darlings (too romantic-sappy, but we did have Tatum O’Neal as a hot bad girl), Tex (much better), and this, his fifth and least-remembered film — made prior to his breakout role as Dallas “Dally” Winston in box-office hit, The Outsiders.

Now, if the theatrical one-sheet hasn’t given it all away, we’re dealing with star-crossed lovers from the wrong side of the tracks (set in 1940s Texas): Dillon’s a blue collar teen who elopes with the town banker’s daughter (Cindy Fisher from 1974’s Bad Ronald). (And yes, the “forbidden love” ends up being incest.)

As for the rest of the cast: We have American folk singer Hoyt Axton (of the Gone in Sixty Seconds franchise; best known for Gremlins) in one of his many, likable ’80s acting roles as Matt’s hardworking pop. Christopher Connelly (Atlantis Interceptors and a whole bunch of ’80s Italian stuff) is great in a rare, non-horror/action role as the snobby banker-pop, and film noir stalwart Broderick Crawford shines in his final film role. We’ve also have Susan Tyrrell (Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker) chewin’ the scenery like the pro-thespian she is, as always (yes, when you need the work, even Susan Tyrrell will go “slasher” for a paycheck). And it’s nice to see Yvonne “The Munsters” DeCarlo (Silent Scream . . . but she also made Nocturna) given a decent dramatic role for a change, proving she really can “act” outside of a B-horror flick. And, why yes, that is requisite sci-fi baddie Richard Moll (The Survivor, The Dungeonmaster) in an early role as a police detective. And look out for support roles from Jim Greenland (Joysticks) and Dawn Dunlap (Forbidden World). And, why yes . . . that is Asleep at the Wheel (remember Meatloaf’s Roadie, and their song “Texas, You and Me”) pickin’ and-a grinnin’ up the soundtrack.

You can watch Liar’s Moon as a free-with-ads stream on Roku via your PC or Laptop and get your own copy courtesy of Mill Creek on their B-Movie Blast 50-movie set. It’s also part of their Excellent Eighties box set that we are also unpacking this month; Sam will give us his take on the film for that set because, when you’re dealing in Susan Tyrrell — and that sexy, whiskey-hewn voice — you review her films as many times as you can to celebrate her awesomeness. Hey, she didn’t earn an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress” nomination for John Huston’s Fat City (1972) and a earn a Saturn Award for “Best Supporting Actress” for Andy Warhol’s Bad (1977) for nothin’!

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Goliath Awaits (1981)

In the days where there were only three major channels, Operation Prime Time was an effort to create network quality programming for small independent stations. I can remember several films that aired locally from this effort, including Yogi’s First Christmas, the Rankin/Bass Jack Frost special, Solid Gold and The Girl, The Gold Watch and Everything. With the launch of the Fox Network, most of the independents all switched to that network and there was no further need for OPT.

This was directed by Kevin Connor, who has some pretty fun movies in his resume, including Motel HellThe House Where Evil DwellsFrom Beyond the Grave and The Return of Sherlock Holmes and plenty of others.

Written by Pat Fielder (The Monster That Challenged the WorldThe Vampire) along with Richard M. Bluel and Hugh Benson, who often were producers.

It’s a great idea — at some point in World War II, the gigantic ocean liner RMS Goliath was sunk by torpedos, along with its entire crew and 1,860 passengers. 42 years later, however, a crew led by oceanographer Peter Cabot (Mark Harmon) discovers that the ship is still intact, with 337 survivors and their descendants living in an air bubble utopia. Then again, if you consider a world with mandatory contraception and physical abuse utopia, then maybe it’s not for you. Leading the ship is John McKenzie (Christopher Lee), who saved many of them during the original accident.

Oh yeah — the Goliath also has sensitive documents from President Roosevelt, with Admiral Wiley Sloan (Eddie Albert) demanding that Cabot’s team destroys the top secret letters.

You also get Alex McCord from Airwolf, Emma Samms, John Carradine as an actor who replays his same movie over and over again*, Robert Forester, Frank Gorshin, Duncan Regehr, Kirk Cameron, John Ratzenberger and more.

*That movie is The Black Knight, which starred Peter Cushing.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Killjoy (1981)

You may have also seen this movie under the name Who Murdered Joy Morgan? Either way, it’s a very early role for Kim Basinger, who plays Laury Medford, a woman caught between two men, pursued by a driven older detective (Robert Culp) and way more than she appears.

Dr. Max Heller (Stephen Macht, The Monster Squad) and Dr. Paul Trenton (John Rubinstein, The Boys from Brazil) are the two men after Laury, who may or may not be the murdered Joy Morgan, who may or may not exist. What is real is the fact that Dr. Paul is totally dominated by his mother (Nancy Marchand, who would go on to an even more famous matron role in The Sopranos as Tony’s mother Livia).

What moves the story forward is when a bartender hands Laury and Paul an envelope meant for Max — who has become Laury’s fiancee, mind you — with keys and a love letter for that mystery woman Joy Morgan. Inside an apartment, they find Max’s new coat and a framed photo of him, which seems like a set-up, because whoever marries Laury is going to move on up, seeing as how her father is a big boss at the hospital where they should all really be working.

The real mystery is Joy, who may have been the woman we see killed in a POV shot in the beginning or a fake actress set up to act as her or even a woman who didn’t exist in the first place. Or maybe she’s been Laury all along. The film really piles on the tension until its morgue-set close.

This is the kind of whodunit that made for TV movies were made for. And who better than John Llewellyn Moxey to be at the helm? This was written by Sam Rolfe, who also created The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Have Gun will Travel.

You can watch this on YouTube and tear up at that U.S.A. Home Video logo at the beginning like I did.