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LINDA BLAIR & LEE PURCELL IN WES CRAVEN'S 'SUMMER OF FEAR'

year: 1978 cast: Lee Purcell, Linda Blair, Jeff East
Poor Linda Blair – she just can’t seem to beat the devil... Here the iconic EXORCIST starlet plays the daughter of a wealthy couple. Her father’s a stockbroker and freelance photographer mom just lost her sister in a tragic car accident (that opens the movie). Dead Aunt left a daughter that needs a place to stay – and that’s the set up.

Lee Purcell & Linda Blair signed DVD
The original title, STRANGER IN OUR HOUSE, fits much better than SUMMER OF FEAR. A stranger indeed… Lee Purcell’s mousy Julia Trent is scared of her own shadow, and Blair’s Rachel Bryant has a friendly horse that turns demonic when Julia arrives. Other odd things occur including Rachel’s father,  beau and bro (Jeff East) falling into Julia’s spell (although Lee Purcell’s alluring enough for that to happen sans voodoo)...

Lee Purcell in SUMMER OF FEAR Rates: ***
So it’s up to Rachel, who found an assortment of suspicious items in Julia’s suitcase... from carven statues to manipulated photos... to prove to everyone her cousin’s a bonafide witch. But that won't be easy: Julia's got the popular vote all around...

You’d think, with future horror icon Wes Craven behind the lens, there’d be more spooks and scares. Perhaps the made-for-TV limited his ability to really frighten us. There are some fitfully suspenseful moments, and Purcell plays a shy loner slowly morphing into an evil woman with subtlety and wicked charm. Meanwhile, Blair's hit and miss as the victim, providing her usual intensity... Yet her horrendously dated mushroom hairdo, and all that whining, makes us, for the most part, want the witch to come out on top. Or maybe it’s that Lee Purcell makes such a wonderful villain – too bad she doesn’t “witch out” a lot sooner and for much longer.
 Reagan McNeal got her horse? No, it's Linda Blair in SUMMER OF FEAR
Lee Purcell in SUMMER OF FEAR
Mirror, Mirror....
Talkin' to me?
Linda Blair watches her new guest arrive
Sexy witchy Lee Purcell
Lee Purcell SUMMER OF FEAR Lee Purcell
Lee Purcell takes over the family
Lee Purcell verses Linda Blair
Linda Blair and Fran Drescher in SUMMER OF FEAR
Lee Purcell was no stranger to possessed-witch roles, and here's where it started... and with who...
Lee Purcell Interview
LEE PURCELL ON ORSON WELLES: NECROMANCY aka several other titles was an odd little low-budget movie. I think it was only my second film. As a very young actress I got to work with another legend – Orson Welles... Since I played Orson’s warlock character’s young witch protégé, I had several scenes with him. 

Lee Purcell on Orson Welles
His voice was such a thrill to hear. I also made some lifelong friends, Lisa James and Susan Bernard. We were later bridesmaids in Pamela Franklin’s real-life wedding to Harvey Jason... I remember that Orson had a personal chef on the film set and we, the starving young things, would have to smell the delicious aromas of the fabulous meals he would cook for Orson while we ate our awful brown bag lunches of soggy tuna sandwiches and watched Orson being served Cordon Bleu dishes and fine wines! I also remember suffering a lot from having to “drown” in a polluted pond-over and over. No stunt doubles, just me and the pond scum. I wondered if I would catch a rare disease. And a bit of trivia is that Michael Ontkean, the hunky guy in NECROMANCY, and dear Sam Melville (Bear in BIG WEDNESDAY) were both in the TV series THE ROOKIES together and I had the pleasure of working with them both. What a small town Hollywood is.
Summer of Fear co-star Jeff East in Wes Craven's Deadly Blessing with a familiar marquee title
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