On the podcast Sam Pancake Presents the Monday Afternoon Movie, hosted by one of our favorite openly gay actors (Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, Will & Grace), listeners are treated to a dissection of one of the many made-for-TV horror movies of the 1970s. Each time we get to hear Sam Pancake and one of his famous friends dissect campy plots and crazy backstories. But the podcast’s latest episode — all about the 1972 holiday horror film Home for the Holidays (not to be confused with 1995’s Jodie Foster-directed, Holly Hunter-starring comedy) — offers a truly special treat. Because the TV flick stars Sally Field, Pancake’s guest is none other than Sam Greisman, Sally Field’s son.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect specimen for the podcast than Home for the Holidays, as the film comes with a perfect Hollywood pedigree and just the right amount — way too much — of campy melodrama. Starring Sally Field, Jessica Walter (Arrested Development), Eleanor Parker (The Sound of Music), Jill Haworth (the original Sally Bowles in Cabaret) and Julie Harris (of the original The Haunting), it’s the story of four sisters who come home to the old mansion where they grew up. And in true Christmas spirit, they find themselves being murdered one at a time by a raincoat-wearing, pitchfork-wielding murderer!
The film was produced by TV master Aaron Spelling and written by Joseph Stefano, who’s responsible for the screenplay of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho. Brilliantly over the top, the film’s most notorious scene sees Sally Field hit with a shovel by the baroness from The Sound of Music and knocked into a ravine. What more could you ask for?
Home for the Holidays is available in full on YouTube, here:
Sally Field’s son Sam Greisman adds some interesting insight to the film, which he describes as “a true classic piece of work.”
When it’s pointed out that Sally Field doesn’t mention Home for the Holidays in her recent memoir, In Pieces, Greisman says this of how his mother recalls the made-for-TV film: “She said it was an amazing cast, and it was a piece of shit.”
One of the most interesting things that Sally Field’s son points out is that his mother’s co-star Julie Harris had previously played Mary Todd Lincoln onstage and in the film The Last of Mrs. Lincoln. And it was actually Harris who encouraged Sally Field to play the American president’s wife, which she eventually did 40 years later in the Steven Spielberg-directed Lincoln. “That piece of information stuck with her until the 2000s,” Greisman says.
As for watching his mother in a camp-tastic holiday horror film, that fact alone is something that’s sure to stick with Greisman. “I will probably be home for the holidays with her,” he says, “and now I’m a little frightened.”