Friday, June 27, 2008

Fantasies (1982)

Network: ABC
Original Air Date: January 18th, 1982

Fantasies came out all the way back in 1982. It kind of stayed there too. I don't remember a lot of re-runs in syndication or elsewhere, which is a shame since this movie captures so much of what I loved about that decade.

I was all of 11 years old and a big General Hospital fan when Fantasies first aired. I was also watching One Life to Live, which is now "my story" but was less intense on it back then. Imagine what a treat it was when this movie first aired, featuring actors from both shows. The ones I remembered most were Robin Mattson (who also had a nifty TV Movie career going at the same time) and Stuart Damon as Red Herring #1. Robert Woods who still plays Bo Buchanan on One Life to Live also makes a quick appearance as well as Peter Bergman (All My Children) and John Gabriel (Ryan's Hope). Suzanne Pleshette stars as Carla Webber who is obviously modeled after General Hospital's creator, Gloria Monty, all the way to her nickname "The Dragonlady". Her icy cold, but steely sexual performance is pitch perfect, even when the script fails her.

The film itself is presented like a thriller, but it does cross over into slasher territory, although the violence is played down. There is some interesting commentary on the effect television has on its audience, giving us an early glimpse of how it is now, with reality and fantasy mixing thanks to the overbearing eye of the paparazzi and the genre of reality television which continues to blur the line.

Well shot and acted, Fantasies is beautiful to watch. The people are damn near perfect (especially Suzanne) and the story is fun and continually engaging. Cult actor Barry Newman (Vanishing Point) makes a good love interest for Pleshette and overall, the film works mostly because of the actors. The story, although a good whodunit, acts as little more than a set up for suspense. There is this one ponderous scene featuring Pleshette being attacked by the killer. The doorbell rings and the killer runs away. When she answers the door, a delivery boy hands her a package and says "I hope I didn't interrupt anything," and Pleshette sarcastically responds "You'll never know," before closing the door and staying in the apartment alone! Wow. That's just got television movie written all over it, I tell ya!

Fantasies is definitely a fun trip back in time and has unjustly been hidden away from the audience it deserves.


Craig Edwards said...

Another one I missed - and now it's hard to find. I seem to remember a big box VHS release in the years after...?

Amanda By Night said...

Hmmm, I'm not familiar with Fantasies ever having any kind of home video release. That doesn't mean it didn't happen though... There is another movie with Bo Derrick with the same title. Maybe it was that one? If not, then I MUST find a vhs copy of this film. It's one of my favorites!

Craig Edwards said...

You're probably right - I'm no doubt remembering the Bo Derek movie's VHS tape. Ah well.