Tuesday, December 3, 2013

TV Terrors - The Initiation of Sarah and Are You in the House Alone? (Scream Factory)

Made for TV Horror is not bad horror. It is not cheap, and it does provide plenty of scares and skin if just given the chance to impress. A perfect example of this is the new Scream Factory double feature disc TV TERRORS. What’s better than good Made for TV horror? Made for TV horror that you may not have heard.  In this twice told tale of television terror you get not one but TWO very enjoyable movies with intriguing casts from the era that I can consider to be prime viewing for made for TV horror. Each movie has merit although I definitely preferred one over the other. The late 70’s gave birth to one of my favorite made for TV movies/mini series, Salem’s Lot, and it also saw some very bad things happening to some unsuspecting women. Let’s watch.

The Initiation of Sarah

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

When Sarah, A young college freshman, joins a sorority to fit in with the popular kids, she encounters one problem: this sorority is run by a witch who knows that Sarah has supernatural powers. The witch encourages her to use her latent psychic powers to get revenge on her rivals…

Perhaps the first thing I notice about this feature is the cast. Tisa Farrow who starred in Zombie (Mia’s sister!), Shelley Winters (also in Fanny Hill), Morgan friggin’ Fairchild … a pile of familiar faces. This is classic occult-phobic filmmaking completely with the ever popular telekinetic power, Sorority drama and Satan worship completely with as many laughable moments as there are genuinely campy classic horror ploys. The Initiation of Sarah is Revenge of the Nerds before BEFORE Revenge of the Nerds. The effects are pure cheese and very TV appropriate. My clear favorite of the double feature. Plenty of semi-nudies to keep you stimulated.

Are You in the House Alone?

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

A beautiful high school student becomes the target of a campaign of terror and eventually becomes the victim of an attack and mental torture.

Between Dennis Quaid (who gets his acting credit for Dreamscape on the SF box) and Blythe Danner (hot Gwyneth Paltrow mommy who also was amazing in Huff so you can forget Meet the Fockers) you have some classic yearbook esque, stargazing to do. Are You in the House Alone? Is another 1978 classic piece of Made for TV that also has the added bonus of feeling a bit like an “adult” after school special. Remember kiddies… lock your doors, use the chain, not just the dead bolt. With elements of what would make When a Stranger Calls work and pre-cursor to the slasher subgenre boom, Are You in the House Alone? Is a serious study in creepy, stalker horror. It’s actually quite disturbing in the opening sequence, less fun ten The Initiation of Sarah and may only suffer from the fact that it takes itself too seriously. This is not the rape/revenge of I Spit on Your Grave, but a pre-cursor flick, lite.

You won’t get bonus features on movies like these, but this double feature is priced good for two films and will be released on December 10th. The packaging is perfect for TV based on horror with the throwback TV’s embracing classic title card and still images. Let’s hope that Scream Factory continues this series. We’d love to see some Gargoyles or Bad Ronald!

-Doc Terror

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