Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving with the Matriarchy: THE DARK SECRET OF HARVEST HOME (TVM-1978)


This rare and delightfully strange TV movie, based on the Thomas Tyron novel, makes fine post-autumnal equinox-style viewing. It's all in the name: harvest, home, and it's about family, and agrarian matriarchal cults that bring back the old ways but.... I've said too much already. They may be listening, the cornucopia held up to the door to hear my whispered clacking.

Anyway, iis a strange feminist-phobic film starring a young Rosanna Arquette, a Bette Davis-eyed matron, and TV vets like Linda Marsh and Michael O'Keefe. I haven't seen it since I was a kid, and I never saw the end. Mother made me go to bed and I didn't dare displease her. I missed the ends of countless movies in those hard years, a symbolic blindness all my own. But I heard the end from the kids at school, and I never forgot THE DARK SECRET OF HARVEST HOME.

The story involves the typical suburban family settling in a strange New England town. A blind man listens to books-on-tape there. How did he get blinded? What does he know too much about? Why do women run everything like some Neil LaBute nightmare come to life? This wasn't the only late 70s matriarchal TV going on in the late seventies - there was also STAR MAIDENS (A 1976 British-German TV series about a planet where women dominate) and ALL THAT GLITTERS (Norman Fell's evening soap with a similar theme). Is it pure coincidence none of the three are on DVD, or even VHS, or are ever screened? What are the men in charge of such decisions afraid of?

Would Camille Paglia dig this movie? She would. Is it the perfect family film to see on youtube in 13 chapters while your dad watches football, or your grandparents aw gee over the family fare that chokes TCM on holidays? It would. Long live the sisterhood of the scythe!

Part 1 of 13

1 comment:

  1. I still miss the end to countless movies because I'm always passing out! This sounds fun!

    Hope you are having a good holiday.

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