Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


William Devane and Cathy Lee Crosby
THE DARK (1979). Director: John "Bud" Cardos.

Los Angeles is beset with a series of horrific murders in which random victims are beheaded. The killer is dubbed "the Mangler," and ex-con turned novelist Steve Dupree (William Devane) is the father of the first victim. A psychic named De Renzy (Jacqueline Hyde) has visions of a young actor who may be the next victim, but detectives Mooney (Richard Jaeckel of The Drowning Pool) and Bresler (Biff Elliot of I, the Jury) are dubious. An ambitious reporter named Zoe Owens (Cathy Lee Crosby) teams up with Dupree in order to expose the killer, who is not quite what everyone expects. Most of the actors in this just seem to be going through the motions, and Devane's [Family Plot] performance is especially poor and irritating. Vivian Blaine has a couple of minor scenes as a wealthy hostess, Keenan Wynn is Zoe's boss, and dj Casey Kasem plays a pathologist. [Dick Clark was co-producer.] There are some creepy scenes, but the suspense is not maintained and there's no real explanation for the Mangler's actions.

Verdict: This had possibilities that mostly go unrealized. **1/2.

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