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A made-for-TV slasher set at a serene lake house, “The People Across the Lake” features an all-star cast of early nineties sitcom stars.

A family flees the city for the quiet sounds of lake life only to find themselves surrounded by dead bodies and crazy murderous locals. Let’s dig into 1988’s “The People Across the Lake”, directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman!

As I See It

We go from the most uneventful opening kill in film history to the most privileged well-to-do family imaginable. With the snap of their fingers, the Yoman’s house is surrounded by Cop cars and helicopters — all because of a nosy neighbor.

Unable to cope with the untenable city life, they spring for the woods and buy a lake house, sight unseen.

Buckle your seat belt because you’re in for the most exhilarating windsurfing scene of all time. Chuck really adopts life at the lake as he starts a new business in the blink of an eye, building windsurfing boards for a community that has no idea what the hell they are.

While Chuck jumps in for a swim in his tighty whities, he snags on a severed arm, which disappears when he brings the authorities around. Bodies pop up all over the property and the true culprit can be seen from a mile away.

For some reason, amidst the murder and mayhem, they decide to do a family photoshoot in random innocuous locations.

A predictable ending is highlighted by the killer’s cacoethes of collecting corpses in the basement, including his wife.

Famous Faces

Before it became The Hogan Family and launched Jason Bateman’s career, which endures with fervor today, the show was called Valerie, named after star Valerie Harper (Rachel). She left after just two seasons, citing creative differences.

Another TV show from my youth, Gerald McRaney (Chuck), starred as Major Dad, a show I had virtually no interest in but still watched whenever it was on (along with Coach, weird taste).

Barry Corbin (Malcolm) had roles in Dead & Buried (1981) and Critters 2, but it’s his performance as General Beringer in WarGames, the original hacker movie, that I remember most.

It’s a bit part, but it was memorable enough that I recognized him right away: Daryl Anderson (Link) played one of the pilots at the beginning of The Monster Squad, which is by far the most re-watchable film in my queue.

Of Gratuitous Nature

For a made-for-TV movie, it’s a bit more gruesome than you would expect. The gore isn’t spilling over, but there is enough macabre imagery to satiate.

Heartthrob

The scenery is as recognizable as any known actor; it’s Vancouver. Truly one of the most beautiful wilderness settings in the world.

Ripe for a Remake

Lakehouse + woods + family + mysterious killer = success. Make it fresh, get creative with the kills, and it’s a watchable film any day of the week.

Spawns

No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

This will be really hard to track down. DVD or VHS are your only options, though the film may or may not exist on that big video hosting site.


THE DAILY DIG
The Daily Dig brings you hidden genre gems from the 1970s and 80s you may have not yet discovered. You’ll get a brief rundown of everything you need to know, including where to watch each title for yourself. Come back each day, Mon-Fri, for new featured titles. CLICK HERE FOR A TIMELINE OF DAILY DIG COVERAGE.

3 Comments

3 Records

  1. on March 19, 2024 at 1:01 pm
    Karen Tench wrote:
    Not THAT bad. Pretty good actually. I agree with opening murder scene being bizarre and badly done, who just turns around slowly and let's someone kill you. The footwork is bad. BUT, all in all I like the movie. You can find it on cinevault.
    Reply
  2. on April 24, 2024 at 1:37 am
    Kenny Rossignol wrote:
    Nice flick when sick (that fuzzy flu head) I digged it in the state i was in. I like watching some good ole 80's popcorn b-movies when i'm sick in bed feeling like a corpse myself. What struck me most about this one was the nostalgia hit when the soundtrack played in the more chill parts (with the flute). I definitely heard that one before but the movie i've never seen. I wonder if it played on the radio early 80's? Or maybe another movie, cartoon or series used it? I tried to find something about it but on YT the credits are cut off on both uploads there. Tried googling for the OST but no help :(
    Reply
    • on April 24, 2024 at 4:10 pm
      Bobby Lisse wrote:

      The composer was Dana Kaproff who has some 80’s genre flicks to his credit as well as When A Stranger Calls (1979) and the TV series Starman which followed the 1984 film. Maybe he’s got a distinct style that caught your ear. It’s also possible, since it was an NBC TV film, that they recycled some other licensed tracks. I haven’t been able to dig up anything further on it either.
      Thanks for reading.

      Reply

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