Air Date: Nov. 14, 1972 (ABC)
Production Companies: Universal City Studios
Running Time: 73 min.
Available on: YouTube
Written by: Merwin Gerard
Based on a short story by McKnight Malmar
Directed by: Herschel Daugherty
Cast: Elizabeth Montgomery, Eileen Heckart, Sue Ane Langdon, George Maharis, Jess Walton
The Victim (1972) is a slow burn that never even sparks. There’s absolutely no suspense in what should be an easy thriller. Kate Wainwright (Elizabeth Montgomery, in her first role following her eight-year run on Bewitched) finds her sister missing when she goes to visit her on a stormy night. There are two prime suspects and, by the end of the movie, I kid you not… I don’t know whodunnit.
It could have been Mrs. Hawkes (Eileen Heckart), the mentally-questionable housekeeper who continues to come to work even though she’s been fired. Or, it could be Ben Chappel (George Maharis), the sister, Susan’s (Jess Walton) husband, who’s having a tough time with his career and would really be ruined if the divorce she wants comes to fruition. You know, maybe it was neither. It could have been a total stranger.
Spoiler alert, Susan is stuffed in a basket in the basement. Lest we forget, Kate finds reasons to go to the basement several times, just so she can avoid finding her, but so we can be reminded that she’s dead. Kate likes to do things over and over again. When she stops to get gas, she goes to and from a phone booth several times in the rain. You know, if she’d just get to the house, instead of continually calling, she might be able to do something to help her sister.
Montgomery is good; you can count on her to class up the joint. But that’s about the nicest thing I can say about The Victim. Its typical TV movie running time of 73 minutes feels excruciatingly long. Director Herschel Daugherty doesn’t even attempt any jump scares. He’s not entirely to blame; the teleplay by Merwin Gerard gives him plot points that don’t make much sense. If you watch this one, you’ll be the only real victim.
Visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV on YouTube to watch The Victim as well as all the great movies from this series...