Circle of Fear: Season 1, Episode 11

Touch of Madness (8 Dec. 1972)
"Ghost Story" Touch of Madness (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Horror | Thriller
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 6 users  
Reviews: 1 user

Janet inherits her mother's house when her mother dies in a mental institution. When she first arrives at the house, she meets her cousins Hattie and Jonathon, who welcome her warmly. She ... See full summary »



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Title: Touch of Madness (08 Dec 1972)

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Episode cast overview:
Winston Essex
Lynn Loring ...
Richard Angarola ...
Stacy Harris ...
James Dillon
Jan Clayton ...
The Mother
George Wallace ...
The Sheriff
Harry Collins


Janet inherits her mother's house when her mother dies in a mental institution. When she first arrives at the house, she meets her cousins Hattie and Jonathon, who welcome her warmly. She decides to stay at the house and fix it up so that it won't be condemned. However, neither the house nor Hattie and Jonathon are what they seem to be, and Janet begins to fear for her own sanity as a terrifying past merges with an equally terrifying present. Written by Anonymous

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Horror | Thriller




Release Date:

8 December 1972 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Flawed but fun
23 July 2012 | by See all my reviews

Ah, now here's a great ghost story; I love these tales where you can't quite figure out what's going on, where the tale will lead. Geraldine Page and Rip Torn (who were married in real life) were great as the seemingly befuddled (but sharper than they looked) caretakers of the haunted house. Though---seeing the state it was in, I guess they weren't too good at their job!

Because yes, this is a sure-enough ghost-filled house; you might even say that the house is haunted by its own past self. And since it was possessed by its own vision of its former splendour, I suppose it's no wonder that the elderly siblings ignored their housekeeping; if they could always see it through the lens of the past, in pristine condition, why bother to do any upkeep? Now, this isn't a perfect episode---not everything made sense; the script perhaps was a little sloppy. For instance.... if the pair meant to keep the murders a complete secret, why on earth would they put up fake tombstones in the back yard? Anyone who saw them would wonder about the deceased; if it weren't for the stones, I daresay the two murder victims would have been completely forgotten... Also, why was the cement-block wall in the cellar half-way broken down? You'd think the siblings would have made absolutely sure that the tomb was sealed up with the wall appearing as inconspicuous as possible.

And yes, I'm afraid I have to say it---those two blazingly-white skeletons looked as fake as could be. You could even see the seam in the one skull, where the top was fastened on. But wasn't it creepy when that boney hand started moving? Despite a few nitpicks, I really did enjoy this one; it's in the best classic ghost story mold, and I thought it was very effective. (Heh, I got a kick out of Janet holding that rat while thinking it was a cat.) And Geraldine Page did her usual excellent work here; it was a pleasure watching her.

(Oh, that song Page sings was quite lovely, called "Golden Memories" by Ian Jack. Does anyone know if it was written specifically for this episode?)

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