Someone’s Watching Me! (aKa High Rise) is a 1978 television horror film written & directed by John Carpenter (In the Mouth of Madness, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Starman, & Christine). NBC promoted it as a “Tales of the Unexpected special” implying that the film was related to the 1977 NBC television series “Quinn Martin’s Tales of the Unexpected” but it had no connection to that show. It first aired on NBC on November 29, 1978. John Carpenter was nominated for the 1979 Edgar Award of Best Television Feature or Miniseries for the film. It was referenced as “the lost Carpenter film” for many years considering it didn’t get a home video release until 2007!
A woman named Leigh Michaels (played by: Lauren Hutton from American Gigolo, Once Bitten, Fear, & 54) moves to Los Angeles after a bad break up. She finds a new job directing live television. She becomes friends with her new co-worker Sophie (played by: Adrienne Barbeau from The Fog, Escape from New York, Swamp Thing, & Creepshow) & meets a man named Paul Winkless (played by: David Birney from Tomorrow’s a Killer, Nightfall, The Long Journey Home, & Night of the Fox). She thinks things are starting to get better in her life with all these changes & new surroundings but she was wrong! A stranger is stalking her & watching her every move from near by. She gets weird phone calls & random gifts from the obsessed psycho. She goes to the police to report the harassment but Detective Gary Hunt (played by: Charles Cyphers from from Halloween 1/2, Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog, & Death Wish 2) says they can’t do anything since no threat was made. She takes matters in her own hands & plays a dangerous game with her biggest fan. Can she outsmart & stop this madness before it goes too far?
Someone’s Watching Me! is one of the most forgotten films that the master of horror John Carpenter directed in his career. It took almost 30 years for it to get an actual home video release here. So if you didn’t see it when it originally aired on television back in the day then you probably didn’t know it existed! This feature is more psychological than anything. Since it was a made for TV film, it’s a very tame effort & it doesn’t show much when it comes to violence. It’s built for suspense & thrills, it’s one of those productions you use your imagination to go deeper into it. It’s more thought provoking rather than visual. It’s clearly influenced by Hitchcock & it has a Rear Window vibe to it. It’s pretty cool to see what Carpenter was doing before he truly learned his craft & style with film making. He was more raw & experimental while directing this but you can clearly see his beginnings from how this was shot. It’s not his best work by any means but it’s one of the better horror television films made & it’s nice to see it get new life on this blu ray!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Scream Factory! This new 1080p transfer from a 2K scan from the interpositive has two different viewing options 1.33:1 & 1.85:1 which is very cool! It looks great for a late 70s made for TV film. It’s a huge upgrade over the 2007 DVD from Warner Bros. It has two different audio options which include English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono & English: Dolby Digital 2.0 on this blu ray disc. Just like the picture quality on here, the sound is a major improvement from the previous home video release. I am very impressed with the treatment this little known feature got from Scream Factory on this new release. It also has English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features on this disc from Scream Factory. Audio Commentary With Are You In The House Alone?: A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999 author Amanda Reyes. She gives a brief history & various facts about director John Carpenter. She goes into great detail about made for television films. She chats about the cast & she has plenty of information about them. She definitely knows her stuff about television movies & there’s non stop facts through out the whole track. “Adrienne Barbeau: Looking Back at Someone’s Watching Me!” is a little over 10 minute interview with the iconic actress & former wife of John Carpenter. She talks about first hearing about the director & getting the role. She talks about her character being a lesbian & that was a big deal for the late 70s on TV. She chats about this rarely being seen & not getting much exposure besides it’s one night premier. She says she learned a decent amount from this experience & talks a little about her relationship with Carpenter. “Carpenter’s Enforcer – An Interview With Charles Cyphers on His Career in John Carpenter’s Films” is an almost 10 minute interview with the Carpenter regular. The actor talks about meeting John Carpenter for the first time. He chats about working on other projects with the master of horror. He mentions the progression of director on each production. He goes into great detail about his experiences on them. He says he is surprised at the reactions he gets at horror conventions & he loves doing them.
“Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – A Look at the Film’s Locations Today” is a little over 7 minutes & it was a nice surprise because it wasn’t listed on the back of the artwork. Sean Clark returns with another entertaining look at all the locations used in this television feature from the late 70s. He also points out stuff used in They Live & Nick of Time. “John Carpenter: Director Rising” is a 6 minute interview with the legendary director & it’s carried over from the original 2007 DVD release. He talks about starting out as a screenwriter. He mentions this was his first real big opportunity when it came to directing. He chats about the cast & crew for the production. He brings up doing Halloween two weeks after finishing this. It says this influenced the iconic film. Last but not least, it includes promotional materials like various TV Spots & a Still Gallery. One of the most rarely seen films from John Carpenter finally gets some love & it’s definitely worth adding to your collection. It’s great to see Scream Factory go into the vaults of Warner Bros & resurrect some of their back catalog. Hopefully, all of the films that were in the previous Twisted Terror DVD box set will get upgraded to high definition soon! It’s available everywhere right now, RECOMMENDED for John Carpenter, Adrienne Barbeau, Television Horror, & Suspense Thrillers fans!!!!