March concludes with some steamy Nicholson and some criminal Caan
Plus a fistful of drive-in dreck
If you read my other newsletter over at Formerly Dangerous, then you know that I’ve got something I’m working on that is occupying a fairly intense amount of my time and focus right now.
I had basically decided I was out of the filmmaking business, and then this amazing opportunity presented itself that I had no choice but to pursue. It’s been pretty tremendous so far and this is a big week for my partners and me. I’m sorry it’s taken longer to finish these newsletters, but here we are, wrapping things up just in time to get ready for April 1981 to launch.
We broke things off in the middle of a weekend, so let’s jump right back in with one of the several crummy little drive-in movies that are part of this final installment for the March 1981 newsletter…
MARCH 13 (continued)
The House Where Death Lives aka Delusion
Patricia Pearcy, David Hayward, John Dukakis, Leon Charles, Alice Nunn, Patrick Pankhurst, Joseph Cotten, Louis Basile, Abraham Alvarez, Simone Griffeth, James Purcell, Shelby Leverington
cinematography by Stephen L. Posey
music by Don Peake
screenplay by Jack Viertel
story by Alan Beattie & Jack Viertel
produced by Alan Beattie and Peter Shanaberg
directed by Alan Beattie
1 hr 22 mins
A nurse takes a job caring for a wealthy elderly man at a private estate and a series of murders begin to take place.
There is a temptation to call any film released in the ‘80s with a string of murders a “slasher” film, but that seems like the wrong term to apply to this fairly straight-laced thriller. This was released repeatedly by a few different companies under a few different titles, with New Line picking it up for international release after the Cannes festival in the summer. It was definitely playing some markets as early as March of this year, though, so we’ll plant our flag for it here. One of the things that’s different about release dates now is that you tend to get one US release date per format. There’s one theatrical date. One streaming date. You can pin it down. It was available to everyone on that date. Even when you’re talking about platformed theatrical releases, there’s still a definitive beginning to the rollout. In the ‘70s and early ‘80s, you would see films trickle onto screens in two or three markets at a time. Something that was available to one film fan in March might not be available to another until August. Smaller companies rarely struck thousands of prints of anything, even if it was successful, and for a film like this, they would try different approaches, different posters, different titles, and trailers, all in an effort to see if they could squeeze a little more money out of an anonymous dud.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Last '80s Newsletter (You'll Ever Need) to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.