Monday, March 26, 2018

I'd Call It Summer of CHEER

You watch enough movies and you become afraid...afraid that there just isn't enough wonder left in the junkyard of Amazon Prime's made-for-TV genre section from the 1970s. 

Then you watch Summer of Fear and find a new reason for living.

Quick Plot: Rachel is a teenage (I think?) tomboy living with her parents and brothers on a Californian ranch. Most of her days are spent riding her beloved horse Sundance, finding boxes to stand on to kiss her foot+ taller boyfriend Mike, and hanging out with her BFF Carolyn (FRAN DRESCHER!!!).

Life takes a downturn when her aunt and uncle die in a car accident, leaving their college-aged (I THINK?) daughter Julia orphaned and alone in the mysterious Ozarks. Despite having not seen the young woman in over ten years, Rachel's parents take the beautiful but slightly odd Julia into their home. 

You don't need a winter's bone to sense something is amiss. Before she's even unpacked, Julia is stealing the affections of Mike, fitting better into Rachel's homemade dress, and stirring up a wild spirit in Sundance. The friendly neighborhood professor (MACDONALD CAREY FROM DAYS OF OUR LIVES!!!) confirms Rachel's suspicions that her cousin is a practicing witch, leading our frizzy-haired heroine the challenge of unmasking the evil in her own home.

I don't know how else to say this other than to employ a lot of exclamation points:


Based on a novel by I Know What You Did Last Summer YA scribe Lois Duncan and directed by a young Wes Craven, Summer of Fear (aka Stranger In Our House) feels like it should be the centerpiece of a slumber party hosted by drag queens. The world's most flammable cars explode mid-air, uncles and brothers shamelessly flirt their younger female relative, and Linda Blair's hair grows five inches with every reel.

Seriously, whatever is happening on Linda Blair's head should have had its own trailer. It's like someone shaved all four of my cats, sewed the fur together into a blanket, spilled the same serum used in Village of the Giants all over the mess, then tried in vain to brush it out. 

AKA, perfection.

High Points
Sure, Rachel is a tad whiney and not necessarily the brightest at setting traps for her evil sorceress cousin, but as a scrappy teen, Linda Blair is a pure joy to watch 

NOT a Low Point
I normally balk at the "special appearance by" credit so prevalent in the '80s, but if said guest star is MacDonald Carey, Days of Our Lives's Horton patriarch himself, it is indeed special

Lessons Learned
The Ozarks are a bed of a lot of folklore and mysticism

In the late '70s, it was customary to keep an autographed photo of your solid feller on your nightstand

If your cousin is from a rural region, it's totally acceptable to have a crush on her

Film Trivia of DreamsIf IMDB is to be trusted, Summer of Fear was filmed a house that was eventually owned by Sinbad. For some reason, this pleases me greatly

Summer of Fear is a thing of glory, at least if you have an unreasonable affection for cheese that involves catfights, witchcraft, and tame rat kings that settled on Linda Blair's head for safety. You can find it on Amazon Prime. Obviously.


  1. I really enjoy this movie too Emily, in fact I bought it when it came out on DVD recently! That cast is pretty awesome too! And it also helps that Wes Craven directed (I miss him, RIP). Don't know if you recognized Linda's older bro in the movie. He's played by Jeff East and he played teenage Clark Kent in Superman ('78) and he also appeared in Deadly Blessing (also directed by Wes Craven) as well as Pumpkinhead. I made my mom watch it since she's a fan of The Nanny and Days of Our Lives, and she liked it too.

    Linda's hair deserved it's own "special appearance by" credit, haha!

    I really hope that the tidbit about the house and Sinbad is true :)

    1. You know, the brother looked familiar, but I kept getting lost in his curls. Couldn't focus on anything else...until Blair Hair made its own special appearance!