Sweet Hostage- 10-10-75
There's something unsettling about Linda Blair's early work.
In almost every movie, she was somehow abused (physically and mentally) and watching her do a lot of stunts hopefully bumped up her pay. In this movie, she's abused so much mentally that it's almost hard to watch, yet the story is somewhat gripping.
Thirty one year old mental patient Leonard Hatch (Martin Sheen) escapes from a Boston psychiatric hospital and manages to get himself to New Mexico. There he's been living in an abandoned cabin with occasional bouts of robbery in various towns.
On this particular day, Doris Mae Withers (Blair) is shooting at a rattlesnake until her mother (Jeanne Cooper) comes out of the house and kills the rattler with an axe. This upsets Doris Mae since she wanted to turn it into a trophy.
Later her father (Bert Remsen) comes into the kitchen complaining about about the farm and quizzes Doris Mae about her tawdry ways. He has a suspicion that she's going to wind up getting pregnant and it'll be another mouth for him to feed.
He gives her a shopping list and she goes into the no stoplight town when she tells Harry (Dehl Berti) about the snake and he tells her how to cure the skin. When Sheriff Emmet (Lee de Broux) stops over to talk with them, he adds his two cents about curing the skin.
With her shopping done, she runs into Hank Smathers (Bill Sterchi) and tells him that she had fun the night before and after some small talk, she reminds him of how her father is and drives home.
On her way home, the truck breaks down and Leonard pulls up.
He offers her a ride and the two make small talk as they approach where he should drop her off, but instead, he races past the turnoff.
Once they get to the cabin, he tells her not to try to escape since he's booby trapped the woods and she could get herself killed. Later that night, she tries and ends up in a pit.
Throughout the night, he corrects her grammar as he slips into his mind where he speaks in poetry and when he gets mad, returns to his "normal" self.
The following morning, he catches her bathing in the stream and after an argument, she tells him that her stay would be better if she had some supplies, so that she could at least clean/fix up the cabin. Before he goes into town, he ties her up and tells her that he'll kill her if she tries to escape.
In town, he stops in for a drink where the locals are talking about Doris Mae's disappearance. Thinking that he can take any suspicion away from him, he tells them about seeing a man and a limousine with a girl in the back.
After he gets done talking with Sheriff Emmet, he heads back to the cabin and realizes that something isn't right.
Doris Mae had planned on attacking him with an axe, but didn't follow through and after a hearty meal, they sit around the fire talking, as she becomes more enthralled with him and his stories.
A few days later he returns to town and after putting a few pieces of a puzzle together, he thought it was a trap for him, but once back at the cabin, as he attacks her, he realizes that she did not set out to trap him.
Doris Mae falls in love with him and they consummate their relationship with her promising to go with him if the need arises.
I'm not sure if this movie was filmed at the same time as Born Innocent (both movies take place in New Mexico) but the outfit she wears in this movie does look like it came from the earlier movie.
One of My Wives Is Missing- 3-5-76
At the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, auto executive Daniel Corban (James Franciscus) has been frantically trying to get in touch with Inspector Murray Levine (Jack Klugman) since his wife has disappeared. Or has she?
Corban tells Levine that the two had an argument a few days earlier when she told him that she was going to resume her career as a race car driver, much against his will. He tells her that she doesn't have any family that she would go to since she's an orphan, following the death of her parents in a plane crash years ago.
Levine finds out that the couple are on their honeymoon after being married for two weeks and this is their first major argument.
When the question of money comes up, Corban says that he has no reason to harm her. She may be worth millions, but he pulls in a decent salary at his job in Detroit, so money wouldn't be a factor in her disappearance.
Later that night, there's a knock on the door and Father Kelleher (Joel Fabiani) arrives with Elizabeth in tow (Elizabeth Ashley). She profusely apologizes for her behavior and he adamantly denies that this is his wife. Father Kelleher assures him that this is his wife and that due to the stress, he's not processing reality.
Corban calls Levine to come over and he tells him that he has proof that this woman isn't his missing wife. He races upstairs and discovers that Elizabeth's picture is missing from the bedside table.
Neighborly Mrs. Foster (Ruth McDevitt) stops over to pick up a check from Elizabeth and Corban is convinced that she can identify the imposter. Mrs. Foster knows everyone in the room (except for Daniel) which causes him more anguish.
She and Levine leave and Elizabeth continues to spin her tale of her being the actual Elizabeth. Father Kelleher spends the night, since he had a drink and he doesn't have a way back home.
Upstairs, Daniel watches the two and goes into the guest room. He plots on how he can leave the house and notices Elizabeth putting liquid into a decanter.
Now trapped more than ever, he heads back downstairs and she offers him a drink.
Knowing that it has been tampered with, she goes into the kitchen for ice and gives the drink to Father Kelleher. Upon drinking it, he collapses.
This is where I have to stop the story, because there are so many twists and turns to it that you'll be led astray.
There have rarely been made for television movies that have been this good and for a mystery, you'll be glued to your seat because you don't know who's telling the truth and who's going to believe you.
As the final credits rolled, I thought to myself just how lucky I am to be poor and single!
Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke- 4-25-03
Melting snow, heavy rain and the closure of a nearby damn has caused stress on the Rankin Dam in Rutland, Vermont and with a cover-up behind the construction, the town is in for disaster.
Following an accident at the dam, David Powell (Joe Lando) returns to town with the hope of helping out his former employer since he was the one behind the design of it.
By returning to town, he also has to convince his estranged wife Natalie (Michele Greene) and son Garth (Matthew Ewald) that he is not crazy and before he was replaced on the construction, he didn't cut corners like he's being accused of.
With Natalie as the interim mayor, she wants to believe him, but local business tycoon Walker (Bruce Boxleitner) is in the final phase of selling the dam and while he knows it's unsafe, he would rather pass on any headaches onto new owner, Ken Sanders (Patrick Shea).
By doing so, Walker can walk away scott free, along with some cash in his already overstuffed pockets.
As accidents continue at the dam, David has warned Natalie that the dam is going to collapse within a few hours and needs to evacuate the town. Under pressure, she's not sure what to do, but follows David's advice.
In an effort to release some of the rising water, the town's warehouse district is flooded, thankfully with no injuries or deaths, but even the release isn't enough.
Walker locks David, Garth and Frank (Christopher Kriesa) in the plant and goes to his meeting with Sanders.
Trapped, the three need to get out since the accidents increase, with David and Garth assuring Natalie that they are safe. Or are they?
Water begins to gush into the plant and the two don't think that they'll make it out in time, which causes Natalie to rush to the dam after the residents have fled to higher ground.
With moments to spare, the three race through the deserted streets of Rutland as the water follows close behind.
This was one of the better disaster movies that came from PorchLight Entertainment during a small resurgence of disaster movies in the early part of the century.
And while it does have its typical disaster movie moments, you may notice that some of the destruction has been lifted from earlier movies but it is a good way to spend a couple of hours if you're looking for some action.