The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver (1977)

Article 5129 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-15-2016
Directed by Gordon Hessler
Featuring Karen Black, George Hamilton, Robert F. Lyons
Country: USA
What it is: TV-Movie thriller

After a strange nightmare, a married woman in a constrictive marriage begins altering her image and personality… only to discover that the personality she adopts has had a real existence.

I’ve not really been impressed with the other movies I’ve seen from Gordon Hessler, but I like his work here; there’s a nice eerie, dream-like feeling he captures very well, especially during the two nightmare sequences. The first half of the movie concentrates on the plight of the main character (well acted by Karen Black) and what seems like her choice of a strategy to add some fun and excitement back into her life. The true reason for this choice is the main mystery of the movie, and the possibility that she is indeed possessed by the spirit of a woman who died five years ago marks out the movie’s fantastic content. At about the three-quarters mark of the movie, I thought I had a good handle on where it was all going, but the movie has a few twists that did catch me off guard. I quite enjoyed this one; it manages to walk a fine line of ambiguity for much of its running time, and I like a movie that keeps you guessing.


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