This spooky made-for–TV psychological thriller rode in on the coattails of ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968) but put its own spin on modern-day tales of ancient witchcraft and beleaguered young wives. Legal secretary Maggie Porter (Hope Lange) inherits a huge property in Brampton, Mass., from a distant cousin after the original inheritor dies in a car accident. Maggie and her husband, Ben (Paul Burke), are going through a rough patch in their marriage: He's a painter whose career is going nowhere and she's unable to conceive the baby they both want. Though the farm is beautiful, Maggie gets as chill the first time she sets foot in the house; she wants to leave but stays because Ben falls in love with the space and light. Once they're settled in, Ben's career begins to thrive while Maggie is haunted by nightmares and waking visions of puritan witch hunters, including a terrifying dream of being suffocated under a board piled high with stones. She hears a child sobbing in the night and knows her away around the house and grounds as though she'd lived there before. Local historian Harold Dane (Cyril Delevanti) tells her about Brampton's 17th-century trials, "nothing quite so spectacular as Salem," he assures her, during which eight local women were killed: Seven hanged and one pressed to death. After confiding her psychological unease to the local doctor (Milton Selzer), he suggests that it's rooted in Maggie's desperate desire for a child and arranges a meeting with one of his patients, Mercy Lewis (Virginia Gregg), who's terminally ill and trying to arrange a home for her orphaned ten-year-old niece, Jennifer (Cindy Eilbacher). Ben and Maggie adopt the girl and Maggie becomes pregnant soon after, but Ben's jealousy — especially of sleek, cad-about-town Kevin Pierce (Lloyd Bochner), whom he suspects of trying to seduce Maggie — and Maggie's growing nervousness drive a further wedge between them. The combined TV credits of Walter Grauman and John McGreevey number in the hundreds, but their only movie together is one of the most vividly remembered films of the golden age of made-for-TV horror films: It has fewer shocks than contemporaries like TRILOGY OF TERROR (1974) and DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (1973), but its creepy atmosphere and dark twist ending ensured it a permanent place in viewers' memories.
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