A Holiday Horror
It's been many years since the Morgan sisters have been home but this Christmas they return having been summoned back by their ailing father who believes his new wife Elizabeth (Julie Harris) is a black widow who killed her last husband and is now poisoning him. Knowing his days are numbered unless she is stopped he wants his daughters to kill Elizabeth before she kills him except it seems that someone in a rain coat and with a pitch fork is targeting the Morgan sisters.
Those who know their Hitchcock will probably recognize the name Joseph Stefano as he wrote the screenplay for "Pyscho" and he is the man who wrote "Home for the Holidays" and when you know that you can see certain similarities. Of course "Home for the Holidays" is not a Hitchcock movie but directed by John Llewellyn Moxey and is a TV movie from the early 70s. Now before anyone scampers off because they saw the mention of it being a TV movie let me assure you that the TV movies of the 70s are so much better than today's TV movies and whilst this one is expectedly visually dated it is still entertaining.
Now "Home for the Holidays" is actually quite simple as it is a murder mystery set at Christmas. We have all the ingredients from an alcoholic daughter, a suggestion of an evil step mother, a sick father, a Christmas storm which means they are trapped at the house and more importantly a sinister figure in an old rain coat carrying a pitchfork. All of these things draw you in especially when people start getting knocked off one by one and you begin to question who is behind it all and who will survive. And of course along the way various people become suspects when they are seen in a rain coat and you wonder whether they could be the creepy killer.
What this all boils down to is that "Home for the Holidays" is still an entertaining murder mystery which benefits from a good cast which includes Sally Field. But even with out the cast it is an intriguing holiday horror movie which you can see how it influenced later movies.