Meanwhile, Maggie discovers that she knows things about Crowhaven Farm, such as the location of secret rooms in the house. She also has visions of a woman being "pressed", an unpleasant method of killing witches by placing a wooden door on their prone bodies and stacking large stones on the door. A local historian unintentionally makes matters worse when he tells Maggie the story of the Brampton witches, a coven that existed in Puritan times.
|Lange with Patricia Barry, who starred|
in a memorable Thriller episode.
Made in 1970, Crowhaven Farm is an eerie supernatural tale that was made for the ABC Movie of the Week. It was produced and written by John McGreevey, whose many television writing credits include The Waltons. The film's opening scenes can be described as a Waltons plot with sinister overtones. The local handyman, played creepily by John Carradine, isn't the pleasant local craftsman that one would expect. The kindly physician turns out to be a villain. Even the picturesque countryside is revealed to be the site of sacrifices. (Note: Click here to read our interview with Michael McGreevey, John's son, who acted in numerous films and became a successful writer-producer as well.)
|Handyman John Carradine.|
For me, the most effective supernatural thrillers are those grounded in normal characters who become gradually exposed to unnatural events. In the case of Crowhaven Farm, the casting of Hope Lange as Maggie helps immeasurably. It's hard to think of an actress more capable of portraying conventional and believable characters. Although pretty enough to be a model (which she was), Lange carved out a successful acting career playing naïve teenagers, understanding mothers, and patient wives. Her convincing performance in Crowhaven Farm is one of the reasons this film has lingered with me since I first saw it 46 years ago.
|Cindy Eilbacher as Jennifer.|
If you've never seen Crowhaven Farm, you're in luck: There are several prints on YouTube. The visual quality varies, but they are watchable.
This post is part of the Terror TV Blogathon hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association. To read all the fabulous posts in this blogathon, click here.