20 March 2010 | acidburn-10
Nothing like a good murder at Christmas time
The plot = Four sisters are summoned back to they're family home by their sick father who suspects that his current wife is slowly poisoning him Though the sisters disagree on the validity of their Father's rantings, it soon becomes clear that someone wants to silence the girls as well! But who could it be? There's nothing like a good murder at Christmas time. An old Gothic mansion, mystery and suspense are all the makings for a good horror, in this early 70's TV movie. Although not bloody or gory, it's the performances that makes this movie work, especially from the 4 sisters, we get Alex played beautifully by Eleanor Parker whose the oldest sister who watches over her three younger siblings ever since they're mother died, then we have the party girl Jo (Played by British Actress Jill Haworth), Freddie the tragic pill popping alcoholic whose never got over her mother's death (A wonderfully hammy performance by Jessica Walter) and the youngest sister the sweet naive Christine (Played by Sally Field) who would go on to bigger and better things. We also have Julie Harris who plays the step mother who was once accused of poisoning her last husband, could she be doing it again.
The dark eerie settings of the mansion and the tension between the sisters really makes this movie work mixes up the horror/thriller themes of the 50's and 60's and before (old dark house; sibling rivalry; American Gothic; grand inheritances and murderous motives) and what was to become the slasher standards of the 80's. Sally Field makes a wonderful heroine like when she's getting stalked in the hoods by someone with a pitchfork and yellow raincoat. This movie was very low budget and it does show in some parts and also, this movie does get quite boring at times, but other than that, this relatively unknown thriller makes for good viewing.