Triple Movie Mini-Reviews #7 - True Crime Edition: Sins of the Mother / Deadly Intentions / The Rideout Case

It seems we are in a true crime boom at the moment, and although I do not want to glorify the evil things humans do to each other, I recently watched a whole slew of made-for-TV movies all based on true crime stories, and wanted to share some of the these gems with you, as they all contain familiar faces and may have slipped under your radar. There are so many based-on-a-true-story films to be seen, it will take an eternity to see them all. Here we go...

 SINS OF THE MOTHER - 1991 

Based on the book Son by Jack Olsen, telling the true story of the well-to-do Coe family in Spokane, Washington whose son Kevin was convicted of a string of brutal rapes. What's most difficult is trying to decide who is worse; the son, played here by Dale Midkiff, or the mother played brilliantly and chillingly by Elizabeth Montgomery. Vicious, downright VICIOUS I tell you!

If there's even a grain of truth in how incompetently the police handled this case, my heart breaks for the victims and their families. The flippancy that is used in the film around the issue of rape is absolutely shocking--but not just from the police chief, from The Mother. A delicate subject, to be sure, but a valid point is made here about our history.

For those with sensitivity toward the visuals of rape, you need not worry. All violent scenes are very short and show only what is absolutely necessary to get the point across. In this case, it's all about what you don't see.

       DEADLY INTENTIONS - 1985

Twisted, insidious insanity HOLY CRAP! One thing I really appreciate about films from the past are their subtleties--every dramatic scene is not brutally slammed into our faces the way they are today. In some ways, what you might imagine is even more disturbing.

This is a story based on the book of the same name by William Randolph Stevens about a sometimes demented Doctor husband, played by the usually lovable Michael Biehn and his naive but well-meaning wife played by Madolyn Smith. The wonderful Cloris Leachman is the wicked mother, but we don't see the full extent of her evilness until over halfway through the film (which, by the way is a whopping 3 hours and 20 minutes in length).

The Doctor delights in taking photographs of his wife in her most terrified moments, only to watch them on slides while giggling maniacally to himself in the attic. This is probably his most benign act. And it doesn't stop there. Yep.

RAPE & MARRIAGE: THE RIDEOUT CASE - 1980

Ok, I'll admit I was reluctant to include a second film involving rape, but there are no brutal visuals shown here. I couldn't resist this obscure gem with both Linda Hamilton and Mickey Rourke. Even though it's a bit gritty and of its time, both play their parts so effectively, years before the height of either actor's stardom. There are several other familiar faces in this made for TV film, my favorite being fabulous character actress Conchata Ferrell.

Without getting too heavy, it's interesting to note that when the real case occurred in 1978, a man couldn't be arrested and convicted of raping his own wife. Also interesting is that as recent as 2016, the real John Rideout went back on trial for raping two more women. Old habits die hard.

In today's #metoo climate, this film is really important because the incident broke new ground at the time, and incited a new law, one that is now upheld in every state in the US. According to Mrs. Rideout, the film's depiction of her case was very accurate. One can only hope that someday we'll see these kinds of incidences as barbaric and unheard of in future times.