Homebodies (1974)

Article #1530 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-23-2005
Posting Date: 10-20-2005
Directed by Larry Yust
Featuring Douglas Fowley, Ruth McDevitt, Frances Fuller

Senior citizens in a boarding house try to stave off having to move from their condemned home by murdering those intent on making them leave.

If yesterday’s movie made me question whether it was really worth my time to pursue this project, today’s was an affirmation that it really was worth my time. It’s not so much that yesterday’s movie was awful (I’ve seen worse) or that this one is a classic (it has its problems). It’s just that yesterday’s movie had nothing about it that made it seem worth the effort on my behalf to watch it. This one is different; the premise is offbeat and eccentric, I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the movie, and it’s one of those forgotten movies that I’m glad to have encountered. Sure, these senior citizens commit some horrendous acts to keep from moving, but their struggle is fascinating for several reasons, not least of which is that you know that their struggle is futile; there is no way they can prevent their home from being torn down. The fascination is in seeing just how far they’ll go for their lost cause. The movie is also helped by a wicked sense of humor, and at times I really suspect that this is a black comedy of sorts. The cast is mostly unfamiliar to me; the only two names I recognize are veteran character actor Ian Wolfe, and one-time star of several science fiction movies Kenneth Tobey. All of the actors and actresses playing the senior citizens do a fine job, with particular kudos going to Paula Trueman, as an ominously elfin woman who is the most committed to the cause at hand. There are a number of memorable scenes here, including a chase scene involving pedal boats. The ending is a bit of a puzzle and can be interpreted in several ways, but one interpretation hints that there may be a supernatural force behind the events. All in all, an engaging curiosity.


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