Haunts of the Very Rich (1972)

HAUNTS OF THE VERY RICH (1972)
TV-Movie

Article 3572 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-6-2011
Posting Date: 5-26-2011
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Featuring Lloyd Bridges, Cloris Leachman, Edward Asner
Country: USA
What it is: You’ll know soon enough

Various people are on vacation to a resort called “The Portals of Eden” whose location is secret. When a storm strands them at the resort with no electricity and only a little food and water, their civility begins to deteriorate…

I have to admit that this movie annoyed the hell out of me for a goodly portion of its running time because I was able to get the gist of what was going on before the title credits rolled, as the movie was inspired by a famous and rather archetypal story; it’s not until about the fifty-minute mark that the movie actually reveals the key bit of information I knew was coming. This may not be the movie’s fault, mind you; if you’re not familiar with its model, you may find it enticingly mysterious during this part instead of thuddingly obvious. Still, the movie doesn’t follow its model slavishly, so when you get past the obvious, you find it’s trying to give us an interesting take on what a certain experience would be like, and this allows the name cast some good moments in acting; both Robert Reed and Edward Asner have some very strong moments here, and though I initially disliked Anne Francis’s performance, I eventually realized that it was actually her character that was unlikable rather than her performance. Still, there’s some moments of silliness that mar the movie further, especially the very last sequence. Now, I myself have been coy about the exact nature of the fantastic content in this movie for the simple reason that doing so would give away the game; you’ll probably enjoy the movie more if you don’t see the twist coming as I did, and any attempt to discuss the fantastic content gives the twist away. Let it suffice to say that the movie does become fantastically themed before it’s all over.

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