This made-for-tv thriller's towering 1980s hair-dos are far more frightening than its limp story about satanic possession. A challenging new job at Micro-Digitech and a swell new home in California complete the American Dream for Midwesterner Matt Winslow (Robert Urich). Having supported Matt during the lean and hungry years, Matt's wife Pat (Joanna Cassidy), hopes this new high-tech position will be the ticket to the good life for their children, Chrissy (Soleil Moon Frye) and Robbie (Barret Oliver). Matt's old college buddy, Tom Peterson (Joe Regalbuto), works for the same firm and sings the praises of nearby Steaming Springs Country Club. Pat, who envies Tom's lifestyle, badgers Matt to keep up with the Petersons but the workaholic Matt is more interested in his design for a spacesuit whose fabric withstands intense temperatures and whose helmet can identify non-human species. Matt also has a general aversion to conformity and gets a particularly bad vibe from Steaming Springs. But club manager Jessica Jones (longtime All My Children star Susan Lucci) grants Matt's family membership behind his back and, to Matt's disgust, his wife and children start acting like the Stepford family. Jones pressures Matt to join, vamping him aggressively and promising untold pleasures once he steps into her spa room. Hoping to discover what's afoot, Matt disguises himself in his space outfit and crashes the club's masquerade party. To his horror, Matt learns that Steaming Springs Resort's inner sanctum doesn't hold massage tables or hot tubs: The swank club is an offshoot of Hell, where materialists lose their souls and burn, baby, burn. While facing the scorching censure of Miss Jones, Matt resolves to rescue his family from a fate worse than suburbia. Although horror veteran Wes Craven's made-for-TV SUMMER OF FEAR (1978) is a minor genre classic, this chiller doesn't make the grade. Screenwriter Richard Rothstein pits the materialistic, hell-bound social climbers against a family of unlikable characters whom Craven himself treats with such derision that it's hard to care what happens to them.
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- Released: 1984
- Rating: NR
- Review: This made-for-tv thriller's towering 1980s hair-dos are far more frightening than its limp story about satanic possession. A challenging new job at Micro-Digitech and a swell new home in California complete the American Dream for Midwesterner Matt Winslow… (more)