Lo and behold, Netflix added an awesome 70s TV movie to their streaming roster this month! For some reason Night Terror is playing under the title Night Drive, and apparently it has also recently aired on MGM HD! Wow, where have I been?
For those of us who saw Night Terror... sorry, Night Drive way back when it originally aired in 1977, it was an enthralling suspense thriller. It features Valerie Harper as the way beyond hapless housewife taking a solo trip across the desert. She runs afoul of a very scary loony (Richard Romanus credited as The Killer on IMDb) and witnesses him murdering a police officer. Yikes. He might have been one of those crazy-sexy-cool bad guys had he not had that creepy electronic voice box apparatus! Now he's just totally uncool. Because Harper's character comes off as so helpless in the beginning, it made her all the more relatable to my little six year old brain. I remember being right along with her as she drove into the depths of hell. No joke. This movie scared the bejeesus out of me! As an adult, it's a bit more slow paced than I remembered, but still gripping. Of course Harper turns ye' old tables on The Killer and he gets his where-for-art-thous (well kinda, this is a made for TV movie after all), and the film ends with what I think was one of the most disturbing conclusions ever shot for the small screen. It's not shocking - not in the least - but like many of my favorite slashers, you get the feeling Harper is not ever going to be the same. Heavy duty...
The score by Fred Steiner is positively unnerving and I think its just as integral as the actors and the premise. It sounds as unhinged as our dear Killer, setting the tone early on for what we're about to see.
I had christened The Killer awhile back as one of the Top Ten Creepiest Characters in a TVM, and while I rewatch Night Terror, uh, Night Drive now I feel that I was completely correct!
You can also download Night Terror, er, Night Drive on Amazon!
Read more about the movie at Kindertrauma.