All the Kind Strangers (film #2 on Side B of Disc #7 of All Stars Collection DVD Megapack (Treeline Films, 2004)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

This 70s TV movie features Stacey Keach as a guy who picks up a little boy on a lonely country road and ends up in a creepy farmhouse with a family of parentless kids who, with the help of some guns and vicious dogs, force him and a woman who stumbled upon them earlier to be their “parents.” The movie manages to create a suitably creepy inbred feeling, yet it never quite comes up with anything really scary, in that TV movie wimp-out fashion. The basic concept is compelling, yet it doesn’t really seem to be well thought out. The kids seem to want parents, even in the sense of having them discipline them, yet they can’t have that and be in charge as well, which also seems to be the case. The ending is schmaltzy and unrealistic, but what do you expect? The movie is drenched in 70s clich├ęs, including a musical interlude where we hear a 70s folkie song on the soundtrack as the oldest kid wanders through a cornfield, a polyester shirt that Keach wears in the first scene that could stop traffic or inflame bulls, and Robby Benson in overalls with no shirt, playing an inbred farm teen (he’s also the one who sings the folkie songs on the soundtrack). All in all, this is a very typical 70s TV movie.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ***.

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