Teenage twins separated at birth who kill their adoptive parents — the subject of today’s “Geraldo?” A USA telepic, actually, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
“Tainted Blood” is daytime trash dramatized for nighttime ratings. Raquel Welch is the bait on the marquee as Elizabeth Kane, a world-renowned “investigative reporter” who specializes in sleaze.
Writers Kathleen Rowell and Ginny Cerrella’s story is about a couple of terrible twins who supposedly have been genetically programmed to kill their adoptive parents for no good reason — just like their nutty mom did before she gave birth to them in an insane asylum.
The boy twin, an all-American in Oklahoma, murders the people who adopted him and kills himself. Kane, hearing about that case, decides to find the boy’s long-lost twin sister.
That trail leads the designer-dressed reporter to two teenage girls who live across the street from each other, both of whom were adopted. The trick is to figure out which one is the Oklahoma boy’s evil twin.
The choice is between Lissa Drew (Natasha Gregson Wagner), who is smart, sensitive, troubled and mortified by her trashy lush mom (Joan Van Ark, hamming severely).
Tori Pattersen (veteran teen Kerri Green) is a sassy troublemaker with a perfect mom (motherhood pro Alley Mills of “The Wonder Years”).
Both girls are going through an adopted-kid identity crisis.
So which one carries the bad seed? Therein lies the mystery.
In Welch lies most of the bad acting — as she incredibly evolves under Matthew Patrick’s telegraphed direction from callous and uncaring to concerned and responsible.
The surprise in it all is Wagner.
The offspring of Natalie Wood has the strong resemblance to her mom to live up to.
But she manages to pull off a cheesy part without stinking herself.