Home for the Holidays (1972)

Directed by: John Llewellyn Moxey

Written by:
Joseph Stefano


Sally Field .... Christine Morgan
Eleanor Parker .... Alex Morgan
Julie Harris .... Elizabeth Hall Morgan
Jessica Walter .... Frederica Morgan
Walter Brennan .... Benjamin Morgan
Jill Haworth .... Joanna Morgan

Release Date:
Made-for-TV: November 28, 1972



A disturbed family man Benjamin Morgan (Walter Brennan) invites his daughters over for the holidays and tries to convince them to kill their stepmother Elizabeth (Julie Harris) whom he thinks is poisonous while a killer in a raincoat and pitchfork is doing the daughters away one by one.


We spot a dull moment with all the sisters getting together for the holidays as well as their father Benjamin discussing about their stepmother and convincing them to kill her in which this was supposed to look creepy but misses by a longshot and seems quite cheesily done. However, there's a moment with the stepmother Elizabeth near a staircase staring at them as this leaves a decent mysterious feel to everything.
We do spot a calm discussion between Christine talking to Elizabeth in the kitchen as this leaves an impression that this lady is innocent and that you feel sorry for her by hoping to treat her right. This scene I must admit was well done.
We spot a freaky moment with Frederica holding a piece of glass threatening to kill herself as this delivers some mysteriuous near horrific moments but yet seemed to show a possible suspect which seemed way too obvious when we watch on what goes on in this scene.
We have some nice close up shots on one of the sisters putting on red gloves before washing some dishes or a raincoat and gumboots set near an area as this leaves a horror impression on who the killer can be but not creepy enough at the same time.
The horror comes in finally after the pointless conversations when someone goes out in a stormy night and suddenly we see the mysterious killer in a raincoat and a pitchfork kill someone but it doesn't look brutal due to the fact that this was made for public television. It was nothing thrilling to see this moment regardless.
We also spot a drowning scene spotting the killers gloves with a drunken sister but yet this also looked quite lacking to watch. I mean this flick really needed some inspiration and doesn't do the trick at all.
Yet in the story we do have a strong discussion with Alex talking to Christine about their stepmother as well as them being in danger which looked effective to watch as well on what to do as this seems to catch your attention and working in an okay fashion but it doesn't pull off in a great fashion at the same time.
We have a tiresome moment with Christine running in the wet rain and then the killer on her tail but this doesn't look effective to watch at all. Yet when Christine spots a corpse in mud with her terrified on this seemed to work in fairly well. Then we spot Elizabeth trying to talk to her and she runs away thinking that she's the killer but this seems too obvious that she's innocent from these incidents when we are supposed to think that she could be the killer.
Things do look effective though when Christine hides in the home and Elizabeth tries to find her which is another nice pointer but yet doesn't save the flick from bombing.
There's another strong moment when Christine finds out on who the killer is as this looked truly psychotic to watch and seemed to look effective for a horror story which unravels on who the person is. Still doesn't save the film from being really bad.
Bottom line is that the story is awfully slow and seemed to have too many leaky holes. Also I've seen Christmas horror flicks like Black Christmas, Gremlins, Silent Night Deadly Night and even Christmas Evil that has a holiday theme to it but this one doesn't seem to leave an effect to that sort whatsoever. Just some decorations but big deal! Making this one was a waste of time even on the small screen as the TV producers really need to get it together next time.

The acting is well performed for the most part since we have many known faces in this one such as a young Sally Field (Christine Morgan) before moving onto the big screen in which she did her part nicely as someone whom is so innocent and soft spoken as she really studied this part wonderfully as the virgin type in a horror flick whom you know will survive the deadly moments. Has a perfect nice girl type of behavior and knew on how to use her lung power as well and showing off good energy.
Eleanor Parker (Alex Morgan) stole the show with her performance as she came across truly versatile and mysterious as at first seeming timid on stuff and nervous with her speaking as well as being bothered and emotional on stuff. She knew on how to change that great by coming across as wild, cold and wicked within her speaking and having a nice powerful force to her actions. Also was good at laughing hysterically too. She was a true character actress.
Julie Harris (Elizabeth Hall Morgan) stood out the most in her role as she comes across as perfectly mysterious as well as having a behavior by trying to be nice and hoping to be liked as well as having a bothersome behavior. She for sure showed it off terrifically within all that she did here and has a nice calmness to her atttiude. Shows nice wholesome characteristics too.
Jessica Walter (Frederica Morgan) however was a bit wooden in her performance as she doesn't seem convincing with her emotional attitude especially when she starts to cry or act crazy when threatening to take her life. Also when she gets hammered was over the top. Not everyone was meant for the business.
Walter Brennan (Benjamin Morgan) was another one whom was fairly stale in his role as a sick one in the family as he tries hard to bring his crazed and disturbed atittude but doesn't pull it off too well. He was a bit over the top and really needed a bit of a push for all that he had to do within everything. He had the right looks but that was about it. Yet he wasn't too terrible.

Alot of great versatile composing by George Aliceson Tipton in which he shows alot of good flute playing as well as some piano music without it sounding too typical. Plus nice smooth violin playing too. There's alot of catchy type playing having a some sort of theme music too which works incredibly well standing out terifically too. It's not some of the same old in which this person knew his craft which is alot more than what I can say about the movie itself.