Home for the Holidays Poster

Home for the Holidays (1972)

Drama | Horror | Mystery
Rayting:   6.5/10 1,000 votes
Country: United States
Language: English
Release date: November 28, 1972

An ailing man summons his four daughters home for Christmas and asks them to kill his new wife, who he suspects is poisoning him.

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

drownnnsoda 2 April 2007

"Home For The Holidays", originally a made-for-television horror movie, is a neat little horror mystery that came a little before it's time. The plot centers around the Morgan family. Benjamin Morgan (Walter Brennan), an dying man, summons his four estranged daughters back home on Christmas Eve. The sisters include Alex (Eleanor Parker), the oldest of the group who is already staying at her father's house; Frederica (Jessica Walter, of "Play Misty For Me"), a pill-popping alcoholic who blames her father for their mother's suicide; Joanna (Jill Haworth), a somewhat stuck-up party girl; and Christine (Sally Field), the innocent one, and the youngest of the family. When the girls arrive, their father reveals to them that his current wife, Elizabeth (Julie Harris, of "The Haunting"), who was suspected of her previous husband's death, is poisoning him slowly, and that he essentially wants his daughters to murder her. But it seems that the Morgan sisters have a surprise visitor - and it's not Santa Claus. A pitchfork wielding maniac in a rain slicker begins to stalk and murder the sisters - but who could it be? With the phones dead and the roads washed out due to a heavy rainstorm, the sisters are trapped there while the unseen killer begins to pick them off one by one.

I was really surprised at how good this film turned out to be. Originally aired on ABC in late November 1972, "Home For The Holidays" is a solid and suspenseful little made-for-TV movie. Probably the very first holiday-horror film, this one predates "Black Christmas" and all the other Christmas-set horror films that followed. The story is absolutely wonderful. Not only is it original (especially if you consider the time it was written), but it also provides a good amount of shocks and some great mysteries for the audience to try and solve themselves, along with a solid sustainment of suspense. It's no surprise that the writing is so good though, considering the film was written by Joseph Stefano, who wrote Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film classic, "Psycho". The script is excellent and there are some great horror set-ups (including a pretty lengthy chase scene with Sally Field through the woods), plus some nice plot twists that will keep you guessing.

The cast is made up of mostly female actresses, and they really are all great. Sally Field pulls off the innocent youngster of the girls (and the main heroine) well - her performing skills were wonderful, even in her early career. The great Julie Harris plays the mysterious, 'wicked stepmother', and does it precisely. We aren't sure if we should consider her a suspect or not, although quite a few things are pointing in her direction. Jessica Walter is the frantic, pill-popping sister who resents her father, and is also very good. All in all, the cast is great, and there are very few corny moments. Atmosphere is a big part of this film as well. The setting is a secluded mansion, perfect place to set a murder mystery. While the film takes place during Christmas, there are rainstorms rather than snowstorms - a bit of an edgy but nice decision from the filmmakers, the thunder and lightning add to the spookiness. The only real holiday scenery that we get is a grand Christmas tree in the center of the coiling staircase, and a wreathe on the front door - like in "Black Christmas", it is obvious that it is Christmastime, but the theme isn't too overdone. There are a couple of murders in the film, but keeping in

Rainey-Dawn 9 December 2019

Decent horror-thriller from the 1970s. Some of the acting is a bit over the top but I expect it from these older films. Worth watching - recommended

5/10

drownnnsoda 2 April 2007

"Home For The Holidays", originally a made-for-television horror movie, is a neat little horror mystery that came a little before it's time. The plot centers around the Morgan family. Benjamin Morgan (Walter Brennan), an dying man, summons his four estranged daughters back home on Christmas Eve. The sisters include Alex (Eleanor Parker), the oldest of the group who is already staying at her father's house; Frederica (Jessica Walter, of "Play Misty For Me"), a pill-popping alcoholic who blames her father for their mother's suicide; Joanna (Jill Haworth), a somewhat stuck-up party girl; and Christine (Sally Field), the innocent one, and the youngest of the family. When the girls arrive, their father reveals to them that his current wife, Elizabeth (Julie Harris, of "The Haunting"), who was suspected of her previous husband's death, is poisoning him slowly, and that he essentially wants his daughters to murder her. But it seems that the Morgan sisters have a surprise visitor - and it's not Santa Claus. A pitchfork wielding maniac in a rain slicker begins to stalk and murder the sisters - but who could it be? With the phones dead and the roads washed out due to a heavy rainstorm, the sisters are trapped there while the unseen killer begins to pick them off one by one.

I was really surprised at how good this film turned out to be. Originally aired on ABC in late November 1972, "Home For The Holidays" is a solid and suspenseful little made-for-TV movie. Probably the very first holiday-horror film, this one predates "Black Christmas" and all the other Christmas-set horror films that followed. The story is absolutely wonderful. Not only is it original (especially if you consider the time it was written), but it also provides a good amount of shocks and some great mysteries for the audience to try and solve themselves, along with a solid sustainment of suspense. It's no surprise that the writing is so good though, considering the film was written by Joseph Stefano, who wrote Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film classic, "Psycho". The script is excellent and there are some great horror set-ups (including a pretty lengthy chase scene with Sally Field through the woods), plus some nice plot twists that will keep you guessing.

The cast is made up of mostly female actresses, and they really are all great. Sally Field pulls off the innocent youngster of the girls (and the main heroine) well - her performing skills were wonderful, even in her early career. The great Julie Harris plays the mysterious, 'wicked stepmother', and does it precisely. We aren't sure if we should consider her a suspect or not, although quite a few things are pointing in her direction. Jessica Walter is the frantic, pill-popping sister who resents her father, and is also very good. All in all, the cast is great, and there are very few corny moments. Atmosphere is a big part of this film as well. The setting is a secluded mansion, perfect place to set a murder mystery. While the film takes place during Christmas, there are rainstorms rather than snowstorms - a bit of an edgy but nice decision from the filmmakers, the thunder and lightning add to the spookiness. The only real holiday scenery that we get is a grand Christmas tree in the center of the coiling staircase, and a wreathe on the front door - like in "Black Christmas", it is obvious that it is Christmastime, but the theme isn't too overdone. There are a couple of murders in the film, but keeping in

Rainey-Dawn 9 December 2019

Decent horror-thriller from the 1970s. Some of the acting is a bit over the top but I expect it from these older films. Worth watching - recommended

5/10

azathothpwiggins 9 August 2018

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS is the story of the Morgan family, and their Christmas reunion. Patriarch, Benjamin Morgan (Walter Brennan) is near death, which is the only reason his daughters, Frederica (Jessica Walter), Joanna (Jill Haworth), Christine (Sally Field), and Alex (Eleanor Parker) have reunited.

The siblings have reason to believe that their father's current wife, Elizabeth (Julie Harris) just might be trying to speed up his departure. They already suspect that Elizabeth had something to do with their mother's untimely death, and are now asked to commit their own unspeakable act in order to save their father's life.

Stranded by a severe storm, with the phone line dead, what unfolds is a story of family dysfunction, bitterness, and insanity. Not surprisingly, nothing is quite as it appears, and no one is above suspicion! Oh, and there are murders as well! Several murders in fact.

Sort of an updated "old dark house" suspense / thriller, this made-for-TV movie is a wonderful example of the above average quality of such movies of the period. It also has a fairly menacing killer, straight out of a giallo! Annnnd, the final twist is perfectly... executed!...

trashgang 23 March 2011

This is made just before the slashers came out and it is a perfect example towards the slashers. Don't get me wrong, it's more an whodunit than a slasher but the first points to make it a slasher are visible. There are a few first person shots involved and we have a hero. They even try to mislead you by showing the killer's clothes a view times. On the point of gore or even blood well, there isn't any. It's somewhere between the Italian Giallo's and the, here we go again, slashers. But the acting is sublime and that's the reason why you keep watching. Up to this review it's only available on rental VHS in the US. And it doesn't go that cheap on the internet. Still for myself being a horror geek I enjoyed it. Even that it's low on the red stuff, but admit it, Texas Chainsaw and Halloween didn't had any blood too. If you are collection horror than this surely must be added in your collection.

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