Friday, March 5, 2010

The Babysitter - a toupological analysis.

The Babysitter is a 1980 TV movie starring Patty Duke, William Shatner and Stephanie Zimbalist.

A middle-aged couple is persuaded by their twelve-year-old daughter to hire a teenage girl, who has seemingly come out of nowhere, as the family's babysitter.

The couple is in the midst of a marital crisis, fuelled by the husband's workaholic nature and the wife's alcoholism.

Bill Shatner plays a dentist...

The family's new babysitter moves in and, with great skill, proceeds to manipulate daughter against parents, husband against wife, wife against husband, the latter of whom she also tries her hardest to seduce.

As if that wasn't enough, she also sets about persuading the alcoholic wife to start drinking again.

Meanwhile, a suspicious neighbor tries his best to investigate this mysterious girl, who seems to have no verifiable past.

The family appears completely oblivious to the fact that their babysitter is turning the entire family's lives into a nightmare.

But the babysitter's facade of normality finally begins to crumble after she beats a fish to death (you'll have to watch the movie).

Therein a killing spree follows.

Until the bitter end...

On the surface, The Babysitter is somewhat similar to The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, made twelve years later. There are also echoes of 1976's Carrie.

While this TV movie could have easily used a little more blood and gore and other R-rated shocks and thrills, we felt that it was nonetheless very engrossing and entertaining as a moody, atmospheric chiller.

The direction was bold, while the music score was also particularly dynamic - all of this was especially surprising and rare for a 1980s TV movie. The script was well-written and one can't help but feel that in his heyday Alfred Hitchcock might easily have been interested in making a movie just like this.

Now, to the hair...

This movie was made between the first two Star Trek movies, and as such, Bill Shatner is wearing his stage one "TJ Curly" weave. This weave was far sturdier and less prone to toupological "moments" than anything Bill Shatner had worn before. This would become even more true a few years later as Bill Shatner shifted to the stage two "TJ curly" toup which went all the way down the sides.

Nontheless, there are a few interesting toupological moments in The Babysitter. One of the weaknesses of this particular hair was a tendency to become slightly misshapen:

Bill Shatner as Elvis.

There's an interesting windy hair moment at one point:

While Bill Shatner also reveals...

... a hat:

The actor's hair is also knocked about a little during the movie's climax.

The Babysitter is a slightly silly, but nonetheless very entertaining movie and we don't hesitate to recommend it. Sadly, it isn't available on DVD (surely it will be eventually) but is available on second-hand VHS. At present, the movie is also up on YouTube in its entirety.


  1. Excuse me while I die of laughter at the third picture down.

    Definitely giving this a watch today, and now I can watch it with the added topological insight provided in this post. It isn't his best toup, but certainly not among his worst either.

  2. Stephanie Zimbalist was hot! What happened to her?

  3. Is this a toupee or a helmet?

  4. With this hifh poupadour, Mr. Shatner looks more like Robert Tilton, the Farting Preacher

  5. His hair looks good in profile in picture five.

  6. chrome(dome) magnonNovember 5, 2016 at 10:44 PM

    In the third picture down, Patty Duke seems unable to avert her gaze from Bill's toup. Could it be that she has seen a gap between faux hair and true follicles, or, could it be she's thinking 'Bill, in the name of all that's holy, that's not going to fool anyone!'?