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Hotline is a pretty good made-for television movie,that,if given a
chance,can keep you on edge for the duration.I saw it when it came on the
tube for the very 1st time.Lynda Carter does a fine job as the lead role,
playing a character named Brianne O'Neill who takes a job at a hotline
crisis center.Soon she receives calls from a man using bizarre, macabre
nursery rhymes and calling himself "The Barber".He describes his murderous
activities and inclinations over the phone, and the suspense builds as the
killer closes in on O'Neill, all the while repeatedly reporting his deeds to
her over the phone.This is an obscure film that's worthy of some
attention,-rarely does it come on television.
TV thriller concerns Lynda Carter hot on the trail of a killer who communicates with her via telephone about his heinous deeds. It's a race against time as the body count rises and the killer comes closer and closer to making Lynda his next victim! Okay suspense, but the prime attraction is of course Ms. Carter, who made a slew of TV flicks after WONDER WOMAN was cancelled and looked good, even if you didn't buy her as a detective or social worker or whatever she was playing in any particular film.
Chesty California art student Brianne O'Neill (Lynda Carter)
accumulates multiple admirers from her night-time job tending bar. They
range from creeps to charming eccentrics. Dr.Justin Price (Granville
Van Dusen), a psychiatrist who runs a distress centre falls somewhat in
to the latter category. He hires her to answer distress calls at his
centre during the day.
In to this attractive young widow's life a stalker enters and aggressively pursues her invading her home. Possibly the same depraved individual is behind multiple murders of young women in the area. Probably the same sicko is continually calling Brianne at the distress centre speaking in riddles and taunting her.
Price downplays the seriousness of the phone calls as do co-workers. A lot of cranks call in to the centre and they are used to it. But the raspy-voiced creep continues to call the centre and asks for her. Brianne continues to accept the calls and play along trying to guess the riddles he keeps leaving her with even as he calls her at home and then the bar.
Brianne doesn't scare easily. That is one of the first things we find out about her. Because of this aspect of her character she can indulge her curiosity sorting through the variety of weirdos she meets with seemingly lesser regard to her own life and limb than most might have. But given that a number of the same weirdos are within her social circle that might be another reason.
The surprise resolution to the mystery is mildly jarring to the viewer but considerably more so to the heroine/potential next victim.
Though less than brilliant this goofy but fun CBS TV movie has real appeal not merely for its distinguished cast but also for the fact that it tells us a story rather than giving us a lecture. Far too many made-for-TV movies produced at that time and since featured a serious social issue plot and 'Based on a true story' pedigrees. An old-fashioned movie with a fictionalized narrative was becoming rare in made-for-TV cinema.
The script for this production could have been made into a low-budget feature. Because it was on television it offered the viewer a movie night without leaving the comfort of home or incurring the expense and hassle of going to the cinema.
Seriously though, this isn't a bad movie. OK, so it's formulaic of it's
time and you can pretty much guess where it's going and who the killer
is, and who the killer is not! Lynda Carter is good as the heroine of
the piece and doesn't do a bad job. Steve Forrest's character is such a
lonely soul in it that he can literally break your heart with a tone of
voice and a look - he is such an under-rated actor, he's just
brilliant, and I'm slowly going broke collecting all his movies;
especially rarities like this one!
Also, a surprise to see fellow Brit Julian Fellowes as a store owner called Leo (with hair) - that was a hoot.
All in all, not a bad film as I said earlier, I'm guessing at the time it was made in 1982 it would have been suspenseful but by today's standards it's pretty tame but great to watch on a dark rainy night - make sure your doors are all locked though (just in case).
This is perhaps Lynda Carter's scariest movie in her long sucession of thrillers. I bought this on video and it is now considered vintage. I don't believe you can purchase it anymore. I have been in love with Lynda Carter since I first saw her crowned as Miss America back in 1973. I simply watched this one on Halloween night back in 82 because she starred in it. To my surprize, Lynda was finally given a good script. Up until then her she had been given lousy movies to work with. The only consolation to some of her earlier films was that she was always brilliant eye candy and still is even now. If anyone is given the opportunity to see Hotline I suggest you watch this one. It is perhaps the most terriying made for tv movie ever. Too bad Lynda is not really Wonder Woman for this film!!! You'll love the diabolical finale!!!
Wonder Woman Lynda Carter swaps her hotpants for a hotline in this unintentionally hilarious made-for-TV hokum about a Samaritans style crisis helpline gal attracting the unwanted attentions of the fabulously monickered serial killer, The Barber (so-called because of his penchant for hacking off his victims locks), who delights in feeding her cryptic nursery rhyme style riddles when planning his next murder. Predictably, the too-clever-by-half loon makes the mistake of targeting Ms Carter as that next corpse-to-be and the result is seldom in doubt thereafter.
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