Force of Evil (1977)

Article 2973 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-28-2009
Posting Date: 10-4-2009
Directed by Richard Lang
Featuring Lloyd Bridges, Pat Crowley, Eve Plumb
Country: USA

A doctor who refused to provide an alibi for a rapist/murderer finds himself and his family in danger when the murderer is released from prison and plots revenge.

I don’t really have a good grasp on exactly what I’m watching here. It was originally an episode of “Tales of the Unexpected”, but I don’t know if it was a special two-hour episode of the series (which usually ran sixty minutes), a two-part episode, a full-length remake of the episode, or an expansion of the original episode to full length. Well, whatever it is, it’s pretty good. Some user comments on IMDB speak of it as a remake of CAPE FEAR, but there appears to be no credit to John McDonald for the original story, so I suspect it’s not an official remake. There’s a very strong similarity in the basic premise, though the details differ substantially. I notice that the book that I use for my hunt list from which I culled this title does not also list CAPE FEAR as genre, but that’s understandable once you’ve seen this one; there’s a bit of an implication of “revenge from beyond the grave” to this one that wasn’t in the earlier movie. Sadly, I think some of these supernatural hints actually detract a little from the movie’s effectiveness, but it’s still a nail-biter nonetheless, with William Watson giving a truly scary performance as the murderer. It’s definitely one of the better Lloyd Bridges TV-Movies out there, and fans of “The Brady Bunch” will recognize Eve Plumb as the family’s daughter.


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