Written by / 1/12/2016 / No comments / , , , ,

ON THE RHODA WITH 'NIGHT TERROR' DRIVEN BY VALERIE HARPER

Night Terror TV Ad artwork YEAR: 1977
A few years before NIGHT TERROR aka NIGHT DRIVE, an actor known for GUNSMOKE and especially McCLOUD was hunted and tortured by a Mack Truck on the lonely, isolated, mountainous stretches of rural California, and director Steven Spielberg's DUEL brought genuine chills to the highway weary among us...

Valerie Harper drives the vehicle
And here, RHODA gets stalked in the same fashion, though mostly in the dark and by a hot rod driving menace who can't talk, brooding in frightful silence and, with a shotgun in a fancy case, Richard Romanus uses a creepy voice box, making his quiet moments really count and eventually meeting Valerie Harper’s hyper housewife Carol Turner, whose sick son is hospital-bound, perfect husband is going to work, and obnoxious daughter, played by Quinn Cummings, is basically just complaining about everything...

TheNightTerrorScore: **1/2
Everything, that is, not connected to the main plot involving Harper on the deserted moonlit road, stalked by the mute psychotic who sort of comes and goes, providing the stage actress turned situation comedy starlet a chance to shine above and beyond the sparse material, which gets edgy and suspenseful in pockets throughout this comfortably mediocre Movie of the Week: The best sequence involves what would later be covered in films like NIGHTMARES and URBAN LEGEND; a gas station attendant who looks scarier than the killer while not being scary at all, appearing out of nowhere…

Ultimately leading to a genuine standoff that takes place in daylight hours. Thus, for the most part, NIGHT TERROR is a filler chiller that goes in one ear and out the other, often losing focus on who the victim is supposed to be stressing over and frightened about. But by the breezy epilogue, when Harper’s Carol has only a miniscule scar to prove her tortured journey was only too real, leading to lightweight music and stacked credits befitting the receptacle of television despite the sporadic theatrical intensity and overall potential, you’ll know that, like Dennis Weaver in the far superior DUEL, our hero… or heroine, rather… went through maybe not The Ringer, but A Ringer: and that's good enough.
REST IN PEACE (reblogged) Valerie Harper August 30, 2019
One of our all time favorite movie fonts for NIGHT TERROR
Valerie Harper Rest In Peace 8/30/2019
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