March 30th, 2009

Cry for the Strangers (1982)



Network: CBS
Original Air Date: February 11th, 1982

It would have been almost impossible for any horror nerd growing up in the 80s to not have heard of John Saul. Considered one of the greats of modern genre writing, he's only had one of his books turned into a film, and that film is the not-so-good Cry for the Strangers starring Patrick Duffy.

The Duff with some scruff

Duffy is Dr. Brad Russell, a psychiatrist who moves his family to an island so he can concentrate on his writing. This idyllic place is instantly marred with death when Brad and his wife Elaine (Cindy Pickett) see an old fisherman's body being plucked from the sea on their first day! Undeterred, they move into a beach side home near "Devil's Elbow" (I know, is that a horrible name or what?!?), where it seems some kind of mystical, nefarious activity has been known to take place. Strange things happen, bodies begin to appear and Brad is determined to get to the bottom of this haphazard, half-hearted mystery. Uh, yay?

Devil's Elbow scares chicks!

There's some good stuff in Strangers. Directed by Peter Medak, the scenery is awe-inspiring (minus the one set of clouds rolling in, which they show, like, three hundred thousand times!) and the cast, which includes Brian Keith is pretty good. Unfortunately, the story and pacing leave a lot to be desired. It's just so hard to grasp onto anything of interest in Strangers, and it falters amazingly so.

I'll be honest, I've never read John Saul's work, but I imagine as it usually is with adaptations, the book is better than the film. At least I hope so! And although I know better, I hope he didn't seriously write about a place called Devil's Elbow!