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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Don't Go To Sleep Retrospective- Part 1

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Don't Go To Sleep is a 1982 made-for-TV movie that was produced by Aaron Spelling and Douglas S. Cramer. The movie featured Dennis Weaver, Valerie Harper, Ruth Gordon, Robert Webber, and youngsters Kristin Cumming, Robin Ignico (fresh off of a supporting role in the film Annie) and Oliver Robins of Poltergeist fame.

Phillip Hogan, an aerospace engineer, his wife, Laura, and their two children, Mary and Kevin, are on the highway driving to their new home in the country. Phillip is a little edy, as he has a new job and a new home to contend with, as well as added responsibility of his senile mother in law, Bernice, who will be moving in with them. Phillip and Laura quarrel about Grandma, and Kevin teases Mary by dangling a spider in front of her. Mary screams and then experiences a flashback of a car crashing into a truck, a product of her memory. Phillip scolds Mary for screaming and, right away, you get the feeling that although this is an average middle class family, there are skeletons in the closet.

The Hogans arrive at their new home. Grandma is already there. The hostility between Phillip and Grandma is barely veiled. That evening, Mary is in bed tossing and turning restlessly. She begins to imagine things. A pile of clothing and boxes in the corner of the room become the figure of a man hunched over, watching her. A random arrangement of trees and branches become the head of a wolf. Her toys come alive and change shapes, moving each time she opens her shut eyes. And then, there is the sound of someone or something rapping gently on her bed frame, and a rasping voice is calling...this is real...maybe.

In the next room, Laura and Phillip are in bed talking when a piercing scream is emitted from Mary's room. Phillip runs into the room to find Mary's bed on fire. Mary is standing, horrified, in the middle of it. Phillip puts out the fire. Mary insists she heard something under the bed. Phillip comes out from under the bed with a frayed and slightly charred lamp cord in his hand, which makes him feel guilty because he has been talking about fixing it for six months.

Was it faulty wire, or something else... More tomorrow.


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