Blu-ray Review: John Carpenter’s Someone’s Watching Me!

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Movie critics always end up dismissing TV movies done in a director’s career as not really counting as “movies.” Why the hate? Take for example Peyton Reed (Ant-Man and Wasp). What’s his first film? Most people reviewing will immediately declare it was the cheerleader epic Bring It On. But he made two made for tv movies before that including a remake of The Computer That Wore Tennis Shoes with Kirk Cameron and The Love Bug starring Bruce Campbell. But they get dismissed as his first feature films. Why is Peyton’s The Love Bug not given the same “love” as Lindsay Lohan’s Herbie Fully Loaded? You make a TV movie with the same camera and film as a “theatrically released” movie. Even John Carpenter made a few of them and now his Someone’s Watching Me! is on Blu-ray.

Leigh Michaels (American Gigolo‘s Lauren Hutton) moves to Los Angeles and moves into a high rise apartment with a great view of the city. What she doesn’t know is someone nearby has a great view of her. While she’s at the studio director television shows, her eyeballing neighbor gets obsessed with her. He starts to call her claiming to be from “Excursions Unlimited.” The pervert begins breaking into her place and leaving her surprise gifts. The police refuse to do anything since her life hasn’t been threatened. She has to investigate herself with the help of her work pal Sophie (Maude‘s Adrienne Barbeau) and boyfriend Paul Winkless (David Birney’s Bridget Loves Bernie). Can they spot the stranger that’s staring across the way at Leigh?

While Carpenter made Someone’s Watching Me! before he embarked on Halloween, the network didn’t run the movie until after Halloween became a hit at the box office. This was a smart move since the home audience was set up for a suspenseful film about a woman being stalked. Of course since this was TV movie and not a movie theater, viewers knew that they weren’t going to see a bunch of blood and guts across the screen. But Carpenter cranks up the tension so that viewers would immediately race to close all the curtains in their house during a commercial break. Someone’s Watching Me! is simply a fine film even if you only had to turn on your TV and turn the dial to the right channel.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. You can also watch the movie in 1.33:1 full frame like they did on TV in 1978. The transfer brings out the creepy voyeurism angles. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio Mono. The mix brings out the stalkery elements. The movie is subtitled

Audio Commentary With Author Amanda Reyes (Are You In The House Alone?: A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999) covers Carpenter’s career in TV. She also points out Carpenter’s references in elements in the film including character names.

Adrienne Barbeau: Looking Back At Someone’s Watching Me (10:32) has her recollections of the film that introduced her to John Carpenter. There’s a cute moment when she thinks her future husband wasn’t into women. She recounts how the movie was shot in 10 days. She didn’t start dating him until after her last date on the shoot.

Carpenter’s Enforcer (9:43) interviews Charles Cyphers on his career in John Carpenter’s Films. He started with John on Assault on Precinct 13.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (7:12) has Sean Clark visit the locations today. He ties one location on Olive Street to They Live.

John Carpenter: Director Rising (6:14) has Carpenter talking about the true story that inspired the script. He was hired by Warner Bros to write it as a feature in 1977. He was named producer when the Made for TV division picked it up. He learned how to work with a union crew.

TV Promo (1:01) are two ads that promise a bunch of scares on Wednesday on NBC. Sounds like Casey Kasem (American Top 40) as the narrator.

Still Gallery (1:19) are production photos.

Scream Factory presents John Carpenter’s Someone’s Watching Me!. Directed by John Carpenter. Screenplay by: John Carpenter. Starring: Lauren Hutton, David Birney, Adrienne Barbeau and Charles Cyphers . Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 97 minutes. Released: August 7, 2018.

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