Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bette Davis & Rosanna Arquette in The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978)

When Nick and Beth Constantine (David Ackroyd and Joanna Miles) stumble upon the charming town of Cornwall Coombe, CT, they think they've discovered the perfect haven for themselves and their daughter Kate (Arquette). They're told the house they've fallen in love with isn't for sale, but several weeks later they get a call from a couple they met in town who tell them that the owner would like to meet them. When they meet Widow Fortune (Davis) she warmly welcomes them to the town and makes them an offer on the house they can't refuse. The Constantines pull up stakes in New York and settle in the charming town to start anew. All is idyllic until Nick starts to feel uneasy about some aspects of the traditions and history of the town. It's people have eschewed modern methods and stick to farming styles practiced since ancient times. There's some tension between residents interested in change and the majority of the townsfolk who stick to "the way." As the family experiences the quaint festivals surrounding the growing season Nick's uneasiness deepens. Is something sinister going on in Cornwall Coombe?

This television film was actually a two part mini-series, based on the book Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon. It's never been released on DVD or VHS in a complete version, though you can find an edited version on both formats that leaves out much of the plot. It's also available in full on YouTube, thanks to an upload by TVTERRORLAND. The sound is low and there are a few jumpy cuts here and there, but you get the full story with all the subplots.

Obscurity factor: 8 (no full versions available on any media, on YouTube, not well remembered)

8 comments:

  1. Just reread the plot on wiki, sheesh! I got Tryon's books thru a mail club
    when they 1st came out (#NoPunIntended), especially enjoyed "The Other". I assume they're still in that box in the garage with your copy of the Sheila Levine paperback if I ever get to it ...

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  2. It's a pot-boiler, there's not doubt about that... Did you read it when you got it?

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  3. Oh God yes! These books couldn't come fast enough in those days. Theme reminded me of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery". Great B-weenie choice, Ben! PS Are you dressing up tonite/tomorrow ... ?

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  4. I dunno, I haven't decided yet...

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  5. How about Constance from American Horror Story?

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  6. Don't know it, I'm afraid...

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  7. I read "Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York" when I was in 8th grade! I remember laughing out loud at some of the passages. It would be interesting to read it again with an adult perspective. I even went to see the movie when it was released. My main memory of the movie is that the lighting was very dark. Even though it was a comedy, the cinematography was more befitting a cop movie of the time. Well, I guess they were going for a gritty, mid-1970s New York feel. It got horrible reviews, and as far as I know it never made it to VHS, let alone DVD. I don't even remember ever seeing it turn up on TV.

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  8. I used to see the book (Sheila Levine) on thrift store book shelves all the time and have been looking for it for the past few years with no luck. The film is definitely a candidate for this blog... I always thought it starred Mary Woronov, but it doesn't. Roy Scheider is in it though.

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