I’m a little bit late out the gate, but here we are! Made-for-TV March is back, baby!
And what better way to begin the month than with the star-studded soapy drama: Death at Love House.
In the starring roles are TV icons Robert Wagner and Kate Jackson. They play young couple Joel and Donna Gregory, visiting Hollywood to write a book on an actress who had a love affair with Joel’s father. The actress, Lorna Love (played by Marianna Hill of Messiah of Evil), supposedly died young. Her body is preserved in a tomb/shrine in her backyard.
When the couple arrives, they meet agent Oscar and housekeeper Clara. They’re shown around Lorna’s house when they see a portrait of her. They both are pulled to it, but Joel much more so.
Their first day, Donna sees a woman in 1930s clothing in the garden. When she tries to find the woman, no one is to be found.
The couple meets with several people: a director who worked with Lorna, a former rival of hers, and the leader of her fan club. Joel and Donna begin to unpick the mysteries of Lorna’s life, soon discovering she was into the occult with hopes of staying young forever.
In the home is a hooded figure. The figure targets the director, killing him. The figure also tries to kill Donna by carbon monoxide poisoning.
While Donna becomes increasingly upset with living in the home, Joel becomes more and more obsessed. When things come to a head and she realises the truth of Lorna Love’s fate, Donna must race to save her husband or lose him to the house and Lorna forever.
This is a pretty weird one. On one hand, it’s got everything I love in a TV movie: a big beautiful home that’s a bit haunted, an unseen figure messing with people, a Sunset Boulevard rip-off plot. The calibre of the supporting cast here is just incredible (Sylvia Sidney is here along with a slew of old Hollywood icons). They easily outshine the two leads.
And yet…it’s pretty forgettable as far as TV movies go. It plots along most of the time. Loads of dialogue about Lorna Love that isn’t terribly interesting.
That being said… I LOVE the twist ending. It’s so soap opera-y. So dramatic and, technically, a bit stupid. This is what I demand of my TV movies. Give me all of the drama!