Television movies served primarily one duty, time filler, with a little entertainment factor, nothing too serious, although The Day After (1983) was panic ensuing for many, but that’d something to discuss at another time, especially since it is not in the horror genre, however the horrors of a nuclear holocaust war are. Let’s refocus, on this film which premiered on October 25, 1987, a Sunday, on the NBC and was originally called Bay Cove, but wiser minds choose Coven leading everyone to clearly understand it’s about witches (oh, scary), this also helped with marketing as parental groups slammed it under the grounds of influencing children into the Black Arts (seriously) and destroying family moral values. Carl Schenkel (The Surgeon ) directed the project, from screenwriter Tim Kring, his only horror film related project, some of the dialogue is a little goofy, but face it what else to expect from a movie intended for the small screen, clearly it does show his influences with references to Rosemary’s Baby  and a little to The Wicker Man . The movie was eventually released by several companies and slapped the wording of “From the executive producers of Unbreakable and Batman”, which was true Peter Guber and Jon Peters did Batman and Roger Birnbaum would produce Unbreakable, but this movie is definitely not in the same wheelhouse as those productions.
The viewers are given an ominous opening accompanied by spooky music, a raging thunderstorm and one deadly bolt of lightning, followed by a quick transition to a law firm where we meet Linda Lebon (Pamela Sue Martin (The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries)) who has everything going for her, a new promotion and married to Jerry (Tim Matheson (Child’s Play )), who hates wearing suits and wants to return to the blue-collar construction job rather than running it, oh they also have a dog; too. Later at a club our duo meet up with Josh and Debbi McGwin (Jeff Conaway, best remembered for his role in Grease (1978) and Susan Ruttan (Dead Air )), they tell them about an isolated community living on island Devlin Island, close to 45-minutes away from the Massachusetts coast. Already an issue is not clear how they all met, as nothing beforehand informed anyone of meeting these strangers, but that’ll be discovered much later; but at least we meet Slater (Woody Harrelson (Zombieland )). Of course, the couple take the trip and do in fact purchase the house, from a recently widowed Beatrice (Barbara Billingsley), who shall live in the cottage on the grounds, but does make herself quite intrusive. Linda soon enough pulls out the Nancy Drew detective card and starts sleuthing on numerous trivial details, about her neighbors Nicholas and Matty Kline (James Sikking and Inga Swenson). Jerry begins to change, tossing memorabilia and considers other collections once personable now worthless, his attitude shifts (a borrowed trait from The Amityville Horror [1979}. It’s obvious their dog, Rufus is destined for pooch heaven, and Slater starts uncovering truths but he’s going to have a problem staying in the script. One learns of the history of the 300-year-old community, their pact, and of a coven, which doesn’t display the inverted pentagram for infernal majesty either because the costume department didn’t know, or television executives censored the maneuver.
A common trend in television movies regardless of when they were made, they have a few themes familiar with the production such as featuring actors known for other tv-roles whether in in comedy or drama, it often attracts viewers who fans of their shows. Then the filming follows the pattern of providing cliffhangers for those pesky scheduled commercials, but that is what is required for those movies, which means in the editing room plot holes find themselves easily created. In addition, there’s two other points that puts Bay Cove on the level with many other made-for-television flicks, first it contains a mediocre score which is very similar to that of fame Toccata organ music often used in Dracula inspired productions and secondly how it concludes the show very abruptly, quick action and fast credits. Lastly, some individuals point (incorrectly) that dogs are always killed in the occult themed movies, because they sense things easier than other animals, I disagree a quick reference to The Omen , Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell , or even Kolchak: The Night Stalker, episode The Devil’s Platform  show the possessed pooches doing some evil business.
Overall, it’s a tiresome production, that fails to incorporate any original ideas, not stating that it sluggish or so bad of a movie, the acting is typical for television and there’s no special effects to mention. It’s just overcoming the borrowing-effect, not necessary a rip-off but using possession of a younger person to united the coven with proper number, or hinting to scenes from Crowhaven Farm , The Stepford Wives  and definitely a heavy dose from Rosemary’s Baby . Although, the best part I suppose is watching a young Woody Harrelson star in the film, noting his huge career lies not too far in the future.
A demonic presence. An empty graveyard. A deadly secret.
Something wicked this way comes.
IMDb Rating: 5.1/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10
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