Summer of Fear (1978) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Wes Craven
Starring: Linda Blair, Lee Purcell, Jeff East, Fran Drescher
Rated: UR/Region: A/1:36/1080p/Number of disc: 1
Available From Doppelganger Films
In this made for TV movie directed by Wes Craven and starring Linda Blair a teenage girl’s life is turned upside down after her cousin moves into her house, and as time goes by, she begins to suspect that she may be a practitioner of witchcraft.
Made for television, Summer of Fear takes horror master Wes Craven and wheels him in a bit from the more extreme for the time horror films like The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes and puts him in a more viewer-friendly world. Now is that for the best? Probably not, but it makes for an interesting film none the less and an interesting stop for a director who’s gem (A Nightmare on Elm Street) was still yet to come. The plot here follows a girl whose parents die and she goes to live with her aunt and uncle. This also means one cousin in particular played by Linda Blair. All is well at first, despite a kinda creepy aspect where Blair’s character’s brother seems to have a thing for this new girl living with them regardless of her being his cousin. But none the less this girl seems to have a whole lot of evil in her and it’s drawing the attention of Blair’s character. Especially when it starts to affect things like her boyfriend and her horse. Then we have a race against time to see if Blair’s character can convince people that something is up before it becomes too late.
I know this movie doesn’t have a whole lot of bells and whistles. I know it lacks blood and has in some cases what some could call a lack of quality acting, but I still kind of enjoyed this movie regardless. If you take the time period into consideration and you also take into account the TV restrictions you have a pretty solid film. Then again, I might be biased because I’m a big fan of both Wes Craven and Linda Blair. This evil cousin played by Lee Purcell isn’t too bad on the eye’s either and she does a good job of flipping the switch from normal to crazy when need be. The film may be for TV but it does have that grindhouse look and feel even if it lacks the needed gore and nudity to fully fit that bill. As is, I dug Summer of Fear and I think it looks pretty good for such an obscure film. It’ll be a needed disc for anyone trying to get all of their Wes Craven films on Blu-ray.
– Director Feature Commentary with Wes Craven and co-Executive Producer Max Keller
– Exclusive Interview with Linda Blair
– Image Gallery
– Original Trailer
Quality of Transfer: 78%