Outrage (TVM 1973)


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Directed by Richard T. Heffron, written by William Wood, and starring the always reliable Robert Culp, Outrage is an ABC Movie of the Week that lives up to its name. While watching Culp fight a one man war against spoiled teenage punks hell bent on destroying his property along with his peace of mind, I was outraged as all get out.

Outrage is billed as based on a true story, apparently from a time when there were no laws against stalking and harassment in California. Culp plays Dr. Jim Kiler, a forty something veterinarian with a wife and two little kids who has just moved his family to what appears to be a small planned community; there is a mayor in the community, but the area is not patrolled by police full time because the residents have voted not to pay enough taxes to have police come by the neighborhood for more than 30 minutes per day. When teenage morons in muscle cars go tear-assing through the neighborhood fast enough to scare Dr. Kiler’s horses, the doc and his wife get a petition together to get some speed bumps and stop signs put in on the street. That makes the greasy brats slow down.

Just kidding. The teen menaces are so angry at the idea of having traffic laws in the neighborhood that they try to run the doctor over on his own front lawn. When he presses charges, the parents of the perps refuse to show up for court, so the judge continues the hearing for a few months until the parents can make time to be there. This gives the bad kids enough to time to harass the doctor’s family in creative and nefarious ways, including trying to burn his house down with rockets, and even killing his dog and leaving it on his front step. Now that is something you don’t do to any man, but most of all not to a veterinarian. Dr. Kiler finally has it up to here and goes on a neighborhood rampage of his own!

You may be thinking that violence never solved anything, but by the time the last ten minutes of Outrage roll around you will wish this was an X-rated grindhouse film so that Culp could do things to these overgrown manchildren that would make their neglectful mothers cry when they see their stinking corpses. But what we get is pretty satisfying prime-time revenge all the same. The outrage is real as you watch these kids, who apparently have nothing better to do, try to ruin this man’s life because he said it might be nice if they slowed their shitboxes down and maybe didn’t try to run over him, and you will be completely on his side when he snaps. It’s amazing that this may have been a true story, and that no one would do anything about these delinquents. When we first see them, they’re crashing through an old lady’s fence and dumping plants out of a dump truck into her swimming pool, because she “hassled” them. The leftover 60s slang, and the fact that these dorks think they’re cool, makes their crimes even worse!

Outrage is so well-paced and suspenseful that even my husband, who patiently tolerates my love of classic TV movies, was totally into the film. When Culp went into his Hulk smash mode my husband said, “This is what I’ve fucking been waiting for!” It’s too bad that if this movie came out today some viewers would blame society for the asshole kids, or even be on their side because Culp’s character is a moderately well-off doctor who has some nerve wanting a ranch house and a sweet living dog.

Although Outrage, like most 70s TV movies, isn’t officially available for purchase, I managed to get a copy and upload it, and I was allowed to leave it up on YouTube. Presumably whoever owns it is making ad revenue. I don’t have any of the movies on my channel monetized, since I didn’t make them, so you can enjoy this one guilt-free. Just be sure to have a stress ball to squeeze, and maybe a cold beer on hand, because you’re about to be OUTRAGED!


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