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Summer of Fear (1978)

Stranger in Our House (original title)
A teenage girl's life is turned upside down after her cousin moves into her house, and as time goes by, she begins to suspect that she may be a practitioner of witchcraft.


Wes Craven


Lois Duncan (based on the novel by: "Summer of Fear"), Glenn M. Benest (teleplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Blair ... Rachel Bryant
Lee Purcell ... Julia Trent
Jeremy Slate ... Tom Bryant
Jeff McCracken ... Mike Gallagher
Jeff East ... Peter Bryant
Carol Lawrence ... Leslie Bryant
Macdonald Carey ... Professor Jarvis - Special appearance by
Fran Drescher ... Carolyn Baker
James Jarnigan James Jarnigan ... Bobby Bryant (as James Jarnagin)
Sierra Pecheur Sierra Pecheur ... Nurse Duncan
Billy Beck ... The Sheriff
Patricia Wilson ... Mrs. Gallagher
Gwil Richards Gwil Richards ... Dr. Morgan
Frederick Rule Frederick Rule ... The Mailman
Helena Mäkelä Helena Mäkelä ... Bev. Hills Lady (as Helena Makela)


A country family of five takes in cousin Julia, whose parents recently perished in a car crash. Julia extends her influence over the family and those around them, fooling all except for Rachel, the teenaged girl who knows her cousin is up to no good. Written by Brian J. Wright <tyrannorabbit@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Julia came to live with the Bryants. She claimed to be their cousin ... See more »


Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Fran Drescher's TV debut. See more »


The scene where Rachel says "What is it? What does she have that has you and Mike so enchanted? " Peter simply says "I guess some people are just special ". Then Peter starts walking toward the door but then turns around briefly and says "I like her.." Right after he says that he smiles right at the camera as if he is posing for a picture. See more »


Julia: [finds a picture of Rachel's boyfriend Mike] Is he your solid feller?
Rachel Bryant: I guess so...
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the Stranger In Our House (1978) TV-version, there are four extra minutes which were cut out for the VHS release Summer of Fear. Those extra minutes were put back for the Summer of Fear DVD release. See more »

User Reviews

Cheesy but entertaining '70s TV movie starring Scream Queen Linda Blair
26 April 2015 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

SUMMER OF FEAR started out as a 1978 made-for-TV movie, directed by LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT's Wes Craven and starring THE EXORCIST actress Linda Blair. Noting that it had performed surprisingly well in the schedules, the producers repackaged it as a theatrical movie, retitled it SUMMER OF FEAR, and released it in Europe.

How much you enjoy this one depends on your preference for American TV movies of the 1970s. I consider myself a huge fan, so I enjoyed this one, although the histrionic acting and cheesily dated nature of the production may be offputting to some; they were positives for me. The storyline is a straightforward 'cuckoo in the nest' type one, in which spoilt rich girl Linda Blair is put out of joint when her cousin joins the family after her parents are killed in a car accident.

It soon transpires that said cousin has been dabbling in witchcraft, something confirmed by a put-upon college professor (a welcome role for SHADOW OF A DOUBT's Macdonald Carey). It's one of those films where nobody believes Blair's character, forcing her to take matters into her own hands. You can hardly blame them: dressing in the frumpiest clothes imaginable and saddled with an appalling 'Afro' haircut, the Blair looks like an eyesore here and her character's a real whiner.

The supernatural elements of the narrative are limited, but there's some good stuff with spooked horses and an action-packed climax that involves car chases and cat-fights, all well handled on a low budget. The twist ending was inevitable after the release of CARRIE. Watch out for some SALEM'S LOT-style effects involving cool contact lenses. SUMMER OF FEAR may not be a great film but it sure is a fun one.

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Release Date:

31 October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Summer of Fear See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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