Devil's Daughter TV Movie (1973)
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc

Starring Belinda Montgomery Diane Ladd Jonathan Friday Joseph Cotten Robert Foxworth Shelley Winters

Fans of early 1970s horror might get a kick out of this long forgotten made-for-TV horror film, clearly produced as a cheap "Rosemary's Baby" clone with Shelley Winters taking over for Ruth Gordon, the star of "Harold and Maude" who won an Oscar for her role as a satanic neighbor in "Rosemary." (A little ironically, the writer of this film was Colin Higgins, who wrote "Maude.")

The film is also a find for fans of Rod Serling's "Night Gallery," because director Swarc directed some of the best episodes of that early 1970s horror series before going on to helm disasters like "Supergirl" and "Jaws 2."

Belinda Montgomery is the title character, whose mother we see face off with the Prince of Darkness and a couple of bodyguards early in the film. Her attempts at shooting the devil a man with a serious walking condition (all we see are his canes) literally backfires with the bullet hitting her instead.

Following her death, her adult daughter turns up and befriends her mother's old cult companion, portrayed by an enthusiastic Winters. Winters and her weird cult buddies all portrayed and creepy and old, like the neighbors in "Rosemary's Baby" don't want to shock the girl at first with news that she is in fact "The Devil's Daughter." So they spring it on her during a party when they manipulate into dancing a satanic dance, gather around her and start chanting. She runs out, determined to begin life anew with a roommate and, when the roommate dies in a freak accident, with a new boyfriend (played by later "Damien Omen II" star Robert Foxworth).

The film's major value today is as a slow-moving camp gem. If you remember watching made-for-TV horror back in the '70s, this has all the elements, from sets that look like they were made for "Three's Company" to a actors that looked read to turn up on "The Love Boat" or "Fantasy Island." It's a fun watch, especially if you're interested in seeing how much "Rosemary's Baby" influenced our culture, but if you're a gore hound you'll clearly want to shop for horror elsewhere.

The film was resurrected on DVD in 2007 by Wild Eye DVD.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


Posted by ManyAk on October 8, 2007

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