Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Stranger Within (1974) - TV Movie

Country: USA

Original Transmission Date - 01/10/1974

Whilst Richard Matheson is still chiefly known for his novel I am Legend (1954) and the ensuing film adaptations of it that followed in 1964, 1971, and 2007, and for his screenwriting work for cinema in the 1960s (highlights include House of Usher [1960], Night of the Eagle [1962], The Raven [1963] and The Devil Rides Out [1968] his work for American network television in the 1970’s remains as equally interesting, in spite of the relative lack of column inches it receives. This lack of attention may be due to the fact that a number of his teleplays were overshadowed by the men who directed and/or produced the movies. Duel (1971) for example is rarely discussed as a Richard Matheson film despite the fact that he wrote the teleplay and the short story it was based on. Film scholarship has chosen to make Steven Spielberg the main man. His teleplays The Night Stalker (1972), The Night Strangler (1973), Scream of the Wolf (1974), Dracula (1974), Trilogy of Terror (1975), and Dead of Night (1977) were all presided over by director/producer Dan Curtis. For some Curtis is an ‘auteur’, and the films previously mentioned are almost always discussed as part of his oeuvre rather than Matheson’s. In my opinion it is Matheson’s world view that informs these productions, and this state of affairs only goes to highlight an institutional and scholarly lack when it comes too appreciating the contribution of the screenwriter.

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