Moonlight Frights: Home for the Holidays
Here at Sensible Reason, we are more than the bad films we’ve invited you to watch with us. We’re also about the best horror and thrillers cinemas can give us. This week, we’re inviting you up to a little cabin in the woods to reconnect with family. Home for the Holidays stars a young Sally Field, our favorite alcoholic, Jessica Walter, and the memorable Julie Harris as they navigate a turbulent Christmas together.
Our film starts off with Alex Morgan (Eleanor Parker) tending to her father (Walter Brennan) while her stepmother, Elizabeth (Harris), idles close by in the shadows. Alex announces she is off to the airport to pick up her sisters and while en route, she is held up by her father’s doctor, Dr. Ted Lindsay (John Fink). It’s then we learn that Alex’s mother committed suicide a few years ago and that her sisters have been away for a long time.
The sisters’ arrival is uneventful with the trio unconcerned about coming home. Alex announces to her sisters their father is dying with Joanna (Jill Haworth) asking if that’s the only reason they’ve returned home. Joanna, unmoved by Alex’s revelation, is ready to go back to the airport when Alex announces her second intention for bringing them together: she suspects Elizabeth is poisoning Benjamin. Elizabeth makes her arrival and gives a lukewarm welcome to her new guests. The sisters converse with their father about what needs to be done, and Christine (Field) makes awkward small talk with her new stepmother.
At dinner, Joanna asks invasive questions about Elizabeth’s past, having been accused of murder of her first husband. Freddie (Walter) who refused to eat dinner, begins screaming from upstairs. She’s found drunk, screaming at a portrait of her mother in the sewing room and losing all sense of reality. Alex accuses Elizabeth of leading Freddie to the unlocked room. Joanna announces her intention to leave and upon doing so, is struck down in the barnyard with a hoe. Later on in the night, Freddie has seemingly passed out while taking a bath and is pulled into the water by an unknown figure.
The discovery of Freddie’s body leads her sisters to believe Elizabeth has murdered the unstable sister, and are put to a test of survival. Christine tries to phone for help but the storm has knocked out the phone lines and decides her best bet is to get help from a neighbor. Traversing the woods, she’s followed but evades her would-be killer. What happens next may not be entirely surprising, but that doesn’t stop the film from progressing into a sinister nightmare.
Like I said, we’re not all about the bad horror films that exist. We look forward to watching the best and classic films from yesteryear. Join us next week as Moonlight Frights continues.