A Taste Of Evil CoverHave you ever wondered what evil actually tastes like? I mean, would it be sweet and tart? Or would it be putrid and vile? Better yet, would it be something omitted in huge quantities throughout this 72-minute movie made in 1971. Yeah. This one Directed by: John Llewellyn Moxey; and Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Parkins, and Roddy McDowall.

Her psychiatrist said it was possible, but can she actually do this? Can Susan Wilcox (Barbara Parkins) really remember the mysterious figure that attacked her as a child, resulting in her spending the last fifteen years in a mental asylum?

Now at the moment, she's pretty damn certain her attacker wasn't her mother, Miriam (Barbara Stanwyck). As it was this fine 'lady of leisure' who'd took her out of the asylum in the first place. Furthermore, Susan doesn't think it's the family gardener, John (Arthur O'Connell), either. He'd rather busy himself with taking care of the parental homestead.

But wait a minute! Maybe that nice chap with the big nose and turtleneck sweater can help Susan sort out her noggin? Yeah. You know. Dr. Michael Lomas (Roddy McDowall). Over time she could explain to him about hallucinating seeing her step-father, Harold (William Windom), as dead as Dillinger. Or why she keeps on feeling on edge, ever since she's come home.

If so, then that's most probably why what next transpires all takes a harsh nose dive when hallucinations come true. As a dark reality comes to light - a phone call causes an awful fright - a split is eventually on the cards - and please remember, folks, give prison my fondest regards.

The End. But only for some.

Now if I'm going to be completely honest with you, folks, I wasn't really expecting very much when I finally got the time to sit down and watch, 'A Taste of Evil'. Half of me presumed that this was going to be your usual bog standard run-of-the-mill made of television production. With your play it by numbers plot-line, sub-standard sets, and all that type of thing you'd normally attribute to this type of project.

A Taste Of Evil with Roddy McDowall
But I was wrong. In part I was very-very wrong.

Admittedly, I wasn't too enamoured by Barbara Parkins' performance, or how the first half of this flick seemed a bit dry and staged in execution. However, after the halfway stage, just before the brilliant twist occurred, this movie seemed to go into overdrive. Suddenly, out of the blue, the overall premise was injected with some much needed zeal and passion, directly transforming it from a nice film to a great film.

'And why was that?' you may ask yourself. Well, this was mainly because of the one and only mistress of Hollywood yesteryear, Barbara Stanwyck. My God, when it was her time to shine, did she ever shine. She took this tale by its proverbial horns, and drove it like a mad woman all the way to the finishing line, no holds bard. Never did I see her ham it up for the camera or convey something that wasn't bold and full off life. Heck, I'd go so far as to say she stole this film away from the rest of the people involved, as if it were a mere walk in the park.

A Taste Of Evil with Barbara Stanwyck and Barbara Parkins
Also, to aid her in this 'elevation', I have to give some to credit to Arthur O'Connell, who played John the gardener, and Roddy McDowall, who played Michael the doctor. One way of another, all three of these great actors gave this story some substance and credence, thus allowing us -- the audience -- to really engage with what was going on with the characters directly involved in it.

Hey! Don't get the wrong idea, folks. I'm not trying to imply that the main star of this movie, Barbara Parkins, wasn't any good in it at all. It's just that compared to the rest of the cast, I couldn't completely sympathize with her plight, due to the fact that her 'condition' wasn't associative or relayed in a tantalizing fashion.

A Taste Of Evil Poster
Anyway, before I say something I shouldn't, here, check out these filmic-facts. (1) This made for television production was first broadcast on the ABC television network, on the very same day that the rock and roll legend, Gene Vincent, passed away -- the 12th of October, 1971. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'A Touch of Evil' in Germany; 'Hallucinations' in Canada; and 'At the Boarders of Madness' in Finland. (3) John Llewellyn Moxey, who directed this flick, also directed such television shows as 'Murder, She Wrote', 'The Saint', and 'Magnum, P.I.'. (4) In the scene where Miriam and Susan are having breakfast together by the side of the pool, you can clearly see the boom poll in shot. Ops! Mistake. (5) The writer of this movie, Jimmy Sangter, admitted that its premise was very similar to another movie he created -- entitled, 'Scream of Fear' -- although the characters and the locations are rather different. (6) This film was briefly featured in a 1992 episode of 'Dateline NBC'. (7) Before appearing in this thriller, Roddy McDowall starred in the children's classic, 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks', whilst Barbara Stanwyck starred in another made for television production, called, 'The House That Would Not Die'. (8) OK. So if Susan was catatonic in a nut house since she was 13 years of age, how come she leaned how to drive in this picture? Ops! Movie plot-hole.

A Taste Of Evil with Barbara Parkins and Arthur O'Connell

Overall 'A Taste of Evil' was a fairly decent film. The first half was fine. The final half was fantastic. Plus the actors associated with it, were either outstanding, or just standing.

Ha! Say no more.