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Terror in the Shadows

Other daytime headliners, who are barely "Terror"-ized, include Leigh J. McCloskey ("GH") as Francis' good-guy hubby and Victoria Wyndham (NBC's "Another World") as her best friend.

Other daytime headliners, who are barely “Terror”-ized, include Leigh J. McCloskey (“GH”) as Francis’ good-guy hubby and Victoria Wyndham (NBC’s “Another World”) as her best friend.

“Terror” launches in high gear, as delusional Christine (Walker) — her utter evilness established immediately — murders her way out of a mental hospital in order to be reunited with her son, whom she had given up for adoption, although she insists the baby was kidnapped. She believes Alex Williams (McCloskey) had stolen her child five years earlier, although Alex and his former wife were really the baby’s adoptive parents.

An early scene exposes the tragedy that sent Christine to the mental hospital and the reason Alex is remarried to Sarah (Francis).

Convenient, simplistic plotting allows viewers to ask, “Gee, how did she find that out?” as the twisted Christine tracks down the too-good-to-be-true Williams clan in order to kill the happy couple and reclaim her child.

Obviously, the terror is supposed to begin here, but the script’s short on real thrills, resorting to “Oh! It’s just the cat!” types of scares with no payoff.

But “Terror” is not altogether unenjoyable. Francis takes the Sarah Williams shell she’s been given and turns her into a sympathetic character, which, it can be argued, is easy enough when Walker’s Christine is around — a picture of subtly played, nutty evil.

Rest of soap stars are wasted, with barely any screen time.

Director of photography Robert Steadman gives telepic creepy quality in daytime and night. Rest of tech credits are good.

Terror in the Shadows

(Mon. (16), 9-11 p.m., NBC)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Freyda Rothstein Prods. and Lois Luger Prods. in association with Hearst Entertainment. Executive producers, Lois Luger, Freyda Rothstein. Associate producer, Richard M. Rothstein; teleplay, Matt Dorff, based on the book "Night of the Reunion" by Michael Allegretto; director, William Graham; camera, Robert Steadman; editor, Drake Silliman; production designer, Michael Helmy; sound, Jay Patterson; music, Chris Boardman. Telepic's gimmick pits soap stars Francis (Laura Spencer on ABC's "General Hospital") and Walker (who's making a splashy return to Pine Valley as the manipulative Liza Colby on ABC's "All My Children") in a good-vs.-evil battle.

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