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The Appointment (1981): The Polyethylene Man

The Appointment (Lindsey C. Vickers, 1981)


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Blackened roses over an empty grave. (And if you get THAT reference you get a hundred points, and I will buy the album from you!)

1981’s The Appointment marked Edward Woodward’s return to the horror film, and it should have been a stunner; after all, his last horror appearance was The Wicker Man, one of the genre’s enduring classics. Which makes me think even more that this film would have been more aptly named The Disappointment. I can’t be the only one who thinks so; while Vickers would produce a few things later on in the eighties, The Appointment, her first feature as a director, would also be her last.


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I could never quite tell if this was the villain or a red herring.

Woodward plays Ian, the long-suffering lawyer father of sullen teen Joanne (Mr. Selkie‘s Samantha Weysom in her final feature appearance), an aspiring orchestral performer (though, we find out, not by her own choice—she charges at one point that Ian “made her take the course”, and he does not deny it) with an upcoming recital. The night before, Ian gets a call that summons him to London to take over a case for his partner, who has been called away after his wife is taken ill. This news is received with dismay by his wife Dianna (The Lion in Winter‘s Jane Merrow, who made one more feature—are you sensing a pattern here?) and anger by Joanne, who may or may not be calling on supernatural forces in a fit of pique. You see, another local girl, also a member of the school orchestra (Hidden City‘s Auriol Goldingham, who after appearing briefly in this movie would not be seen on a screen again for six years), went missing three years previous and is presumed dead; Joanne, who walks past the site of her disappearance every day, stops and converses with… the child’s ghost? Or her own demons?…on her way home from school.

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“Hi, my name is Ed Woodward. Tell me, do you have a moment for me to talk to you about your life insurance situation?”


The rest of the film, which is its bulk, shows the following night and morning. Ian and Dianna are plagued by complementary nightmares, but Ian sets out for London the following day, and any suspense the film tries to build is centered around whether those dreams were prophetic or not. Unfortunately, Vickers’ script is not nearly coherent enough to build said suspense, leaving us with a series of incidents that can’t even really be called interesting. This is one to give a miss unless you are a hardcore Woodward fan. * ½


Part 1 of the full film (complete on Youtube in seven parts)


About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Road Train (2010): Precious Cargo | Popcorn for Breakfast

  2. Pingback: PfB 1000: “You will simply never understand the true nature of sacrifice.” | Popcorn for Breakfast

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