Someone’s Watching Me – The Equaliser – Wogan – tape 406

Before we really get started, Victoria Crawford, our in-vision presenter, reads the headlines.

Victoria Crawford

Then she introduces tonight’s movie, Someone’s Watching Me. It’s a made for TV movie, notable for being written and directed by John Carpenter.

Someone is spying on the tenants of a high-rise apartment building, and making scary phonecalls, as we learn in the pre-credits sequence. Then we get the credits, which is a shameless ‘homage’ to Hitchcock’s North By Northwest.

Lauren Hutton is a TV director, moving from New York to LA, starting a new job, and moving into the apartment building. Pretty soon, our voyeur has latched on to her, but she’s unaware for a while.

Her colleague at the new TV station is Adrienne Barbeau, Carpenter regular and a familiar from many genre pictures.

Adrienne Barbeau in Someone's Watching Me

Hutton goes about her business, unaware of the shadowy figure stalking her. And she has to deal with the usual problem of men hitting on her, both in the office and as soon as she sits down in a bar. But she’s confident enough to bat them away, and also make her own approach when she sees a man she actually likes.

Her pursuer has a strange way of terrorising her. He sends her gifts, supposedly as part of a competition to win a six month holiday. First is a telescope, which might come in handy to spot him spying on her with his huge telescope. Next is a bikini.

If he’s genuinely trying to pretend it’s  a real competition, maybe he shouldn’t make his telephone voice sound exactly like a creepy stalker when he phones to tell her the present has arrived. Where’s 1471 when you need it? (*69 for any US readers).

But naturally, things escalate, and, this being the 70s and telephones being a modern new fangled thing, the police don’t seem to know how to deal with threatening callers – especially when the caller has never actually threatened anything.

The film moves into pure Hitchcock homage when Hutton finds the apartment of her stalker, and goes to visit while Barbeau watches from her apartment on the telescope helpfully provided earlier. But then Barbeau is seemingly killed, but still the police do nothing because she was due to fly to Fort Worth to start a new job, and the police assume that’s where she is.

No One Believes You

For all its TV movie aesthetics, this is a fine movie. Hutton is a fine heroine, her relationship with Barbeau (playing a lesbian, which can’t have been common in 1978) is sparky, her boyfriend is a bit bland, but at least he’s helpful.

But best of all, she doesn’t need anyone to come riding to her rescue at the end.

I also like the fact that the identity of the killer isn’t really an issue, and he’s anonymous right up to the end. This is all about the ‘victim’ and when Carpenter starts using his trademark subjective camera towards the end, it’s to put us in her place, not the killer’s.

After this, recording switches to an episode of The Equalizer, the Edward Woodward vigilante series. This episode is called Carnal Persuasion which sounds charming.

Maria Holvoe plays Lisa Hughes, whose husband is arrested by the drug squad just as he’s returning from a stint on a fishing vessel. When she asks the judge for leniency, he basically tells her he’ll go easy on her husband if she sleeps with him. He’s very icky.

John Cullum

She enlists Edward Woodward, and the level of crookedness of the judge and the people he works for is revealed. It doesn’t end well for the judge.

Then recording switches again, to Wogan, and the very end of an interview with Barry Norman. Then he interviews Glenn Close, and John Boorman.

I can’t locate this accurately in Genome, since Wogan listings rarely list the actual guests, and the only clue afterwards is a truncated trail for the Russ Abbot Show.

After this, recording stops, and underneath there’s the end of New At Ten, presumably from the Equalizer recording.

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One comment

  1. That Wogan episode – 02/09/1987.

    Equalizer – 27/08/1987. The Times synopsis: “An allegedly less violent episode has been substituted for the one billed in view of current sensitivities. Whether these sensitivities will be reassured by the title of the new episode – Carnal Persuasion – is perhaps open to doubt….”

    Someone’s Watching Me – possibly late night 30/06/1987. Thames, right?

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