I Always Feel Like (Someone’s Watching Me!, 1978)
The same year Carpenter unleashed Halloween, he wrote and directed this television thriller. Lauren Hutton is Leigh Michaels, a television producer, new to Los Angeles. She moves into a high-rise apartment and then starts to receive ominous calls from a creepy voiced stranger who seems to know a lot about her. She has an ex who won’t give up and is trying to start a relationship up with a new man.
As the calls escalate (even after changing her number) and she is receiving mystery gifts, the Police let her know there is nothing they can do. Leigh retorts “Well, if he kills me, you will be the first to know!” As plots go, Someone is Watching Me is pretty pedestrian. And considering there are many true crime shows dedicated to stalking now, well, this probably seemed a bit freakier in a time when people were not really talking about stalking. It also becomes a bit like a reverse Rear Window.
It has a strong core cast with Hutton, Adrienne Barbeau and David Birney. Barbeau plays Hutton’s lesbian co-worker. I only note this because the film plays it off as merely another aspect of who she is. It is neither played as a joke or a sign of her being a suspicious individual.
Not unlike Halloween, Carpenter spends much of his time establishing the characters and building tension until the final twenty minutes or so when her stalker gets murderous and she struggles to convince her boyfriend and the authorities she is not making this all up.
Overall, you can see the spark of Carpenter’s film-making gifts. He takes a standard TV movie plot and manages to give his characters personality and build tension, throughout the film.