The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver (1977, directed by Gordon Hessler)


Miriam Oliver (Karen Black) is a prim housewife who always keep her hair in a tight bun and who wears eyeglasses.  After she starts to have dreams about going to her own funeral, Mrs. Oliver’s personality starts to change.  Her husband, Greg (George Hamilton), can only watch as Mrs. Oliver puts on a blonde wig, ditches her eyeglasses, and starts to dress in revealing clothes.  Greg wants to concentrate on starting a family but the new Mrs. Oliver only cares about going out and partying all night.  She also wants to move into a new house, one that was previously owned by a woman named Sandy.  Sandy, who was a student of the occult, died in a mysterious fire.

The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver is a good made-for-TV movie that gives viewers two Karen Blacks for the price of one!  Black is undeniably sexy, whether she’s playing the prim Mrs. Oliver or the wild Sandy.  But she also delivers a really good performance as she switches back and forth from being Mrs. Oliver and being Sandy.  Richard Matheson provides an intelligent script while Gordon Hessler’s direction keeps you guessing as to whether Mrs. Oliver is truly possessed or if she’s just having a mental breakdown of some sort.  This is an enjoyably twisty thriller with a good ending and a knockout performance from Karen Black.

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