Original Air Date: March 12th, 1983
I saw Jane Doe for the first time late one night as a teenager. It was one of those movies that comes on at 2 am and you're positive you're the only one watching it. I think I saw the whole film, but all I could remember was that I walked out of that experience hating Karen Valentine.
What's that? I know how can anyone hate her? Well, there was something there that really irked me and for years I steered clear of pretty much everything she did. That was until I started digging into the archives of my mind and re-watching some of these TV movies. I saw her in the Love Boat pilot and then in the excellent "swinger" comedy Coffee, Tea or Me. She was great! And adorable to boot! Maybe I was suffering from some sort of sleep deprived delusion when I made my first assumption. Then I found Jane Doe in one of those nifty vhs clamshell cases that I will buy regardless of what movie is inside. I figured hey, nifty artwork, this will look great on my shelf.
And there it sat. And sat.
I dusted it off this weekend and gave it a spin. I enjoyed it. From a memory of bad acting and lots of forest I ended up (almost) completely rethinking my original opinion, which is shocking because most thoughts formed as a teenager turn out to be right, right?
Jane Doe is about this woman who is found in her nude-it-ity in a shallow grave with lots of neat bruises around her neck. She wakes up in a hospital with no recollection of how she ended up in said grave, or even who she is. Enter tough-as-nails-cop-with-a-heart-of-gold, Lieutenant William Quinn (William Devane, my newest crush). He's been looking for a serial killer who has slaughtered quite a few women the last three months. Determined to find the guy, he attaches himself to Jane Doe's side because she holds the key to everything. Eventually this guy named David (David Huffman) shows up, claiming this Jane Doe as his wife, Victoria. Sure enough, he's correct and she goes home, only to be hunted down by the supposed murderer. Or is he? If he isn't, he sure has a lot of free time. But maybe he doesn't, and he's hiding a big secret, or maybe... Oh whatever!
There are very few twists and turns in Jane Doe and the ending is fairly predictable. Still, it's an entertaining little thriller that keeps the pace moving from kind-of-fast to almost-fast, but never slow.
And how about Karen, you ask? Well, I feel she was miscast here. She's not nearly as bad as I remembered, but those weird scenes of her climbing over beds in hysterical fits are waaay overdone. And I think her awful haircut came into play as well. I mean, she's a super cute girl, but her weird short feathery mullet just made me cringe. I mean, really Karen. I’ve come to expect more from you.
The rest of the cast was terrific, especially Devane and Huffman. I didn't realize that Huffman was the same actor who starred in that underrated horror movie Blood Beach. He's like a chameleon, that one! And Devane, well, he's just fantastic. I like his voice and the way he carries himself and he's not a typically good looking guy, but at the same time, he's an absolute stud. I think I'll keep him.