Stranger in Our House
|Stranger in Our House|
|Directed by||Wes Craven|
|Produced by||Bill Finnegan
Max A. Keller
Micheline H. Keller
|Screenplay by||Glenn M. Benest
Max A. Keller
|Based on||The novel Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan|
|Music by||John D'Andrea
|Cinematography||William K. Jurgensen|
|Production company||Keller Entertainment Group|
|Release date||31 October 1978 (USA)|
|Running time||98 min.|
Stranger in Our House (also released as Summer of Fear) is a 1978 American horror television film directed by Wes Craven and starring Linda Blair. It tells the story of a teenage girl who begins to suspect that her cousin may be a practitioner of black magic and witchcraft after she comes to live with their family.
The story is about a girl, Rachel Bryant (Linda Blair), who lives with her wealthy family in a nice house in the hills of Northern California. After her mother's sister, brother-in-law, and housekeeper die in a horrible car crash, the couple's daughter, Julia (Lee Purcell) comes to live with them. Julia seems a little shy if anything, but as time goes on, she begins to put an alluring spell over everyone she meets, pulling all of Rachel's family and friends away from her. After finding some odd things that belong to Julia (including a human tooth and burnt hair from Rachel's dog Trickle (for the movie the dog was changed to a horse due to Blair's love of horses and the name of the horse was Sundance instead of Trickle), Rachel begins to suspect that her cousin may be a practitioner of witchcraft, and she's hell-bent on turning Rachel's life upside down. Her open disbelieved suspicions caused her to become an outcast in front of her family.
- Linda Blair as Rachel Bryant
- Lee Purcell as Julia Grant
- Jeremy Slate as Tom Bryant
- Jeff McCracken as Mike Gallagher
- Jeff East as Peter Bryant
- Carol Lawrence as Leslie Bryant
- Macdonald Carey as Professor Jarvis
- James Jarnigan as Bobby Bryant
- Fran Drescher as Carolyn Baker
The film marked starlet Linda Blair's third leading role in a horror film, following her Oscar-nominated performance in The Exorcist and its sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic. In his DVD commentary, director Wes Craven recalled that Blair had recently "gotten into some trouble" prior to filming (meaning her December 1977 drug bust); also that he was plainly inspired by Roman Polanski's work, and tried to carefully build a sense of paranoia and suspense in the film's narrative.
The film first aired on television on NBC on Halloween night, 1978. Airing opposite the occult-thriller Devil Dog: Hound of Hell starring Richard Crenna, Stranger In Our House fared a disappointing second place in the Nielsen ratings. The movie was then sold to CBS, and ultimately was re-titled Summer of Fear (also the title of the Lois Duncan book on which it was based) and given a theatrical release in Europe.
AllMovie called the film "a modestly entertaining horror item." While the film hasn't garnered enough reviews to receive a rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, all four listed reviews are negative.
- Binion, Cavett. "Summer of Fear (1978) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Stranger in Our House (Summer of Fear) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 August 2012.