The Eyes of Charles Sand (1972)

Article 4425 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-19-2014
Directed by Reza Badiyi
Featuring Peter Haskell, Joan Bennett, Barbara Rush
Country: USA
What it is: Supernatural visions drama

Upon the death of his uncle, a man inherits the ability to see mystical visions. He encounters a disturbed girl who believes her brother is dead and her relatives are covering up. He decides to investigate.

The user comments on IMDB for this movie seem mostly to be from people who remember seeing this one as a kid and being terrified by it. It seems that the vision they most remember is seeing the guy at the beginning of the movie with no pupils for his eyes, and if anything, this convinces me that fake white contact lenses are a sure way to frighten children. As an adult, my reaction is somewhat different; I felt that the scene in question (and, for that matter, much of the rest of the movie) was trying way too hard to be scary, causing it to slide into the inadvertently comic. Ultimately, I found myself more annoyed by the movie than anything. I was especially bothered by the way the heroine is portrayed; Sharon Farrell goes all out to convince us that she’s a mental basket case, but the reality of the movie is that she’s supposed to be sane and is only being framed as being crazy. Add to that another woman who is really crazy but acts totally sane during the first part of the movie and only flipping out later when it’s convenient for the plot, and you’ve got another case where you can see the strings being pulled all too obviously. I did, however, like the fact that when the hero catches the villains in a lie, he doesn’t immediately let on that they’ve been caught and confront them, but is smart enough to know to proceed with caution. In short, this one didn’t really work for me, and given the somewhat tiresome nature of the histrionics, I’m not totally surprised that this was another unsold TV series pilot. Maybe I would have liked it better had I seen it as a kid.

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