Who can resist a Lynda Carter slasher movie? Unfortunately, HOTLINE was made for CBS in 1982, which eliminates any chance of nudity or bloody violence (even if the writer’s last name is Peckinpah—David Peckinpah, Bloody Sam’s nephew). It does contain other standard elements of the genre, such as a shower scene (I reiterate—no boobs), killer POV shots, and several guys acting creepy for no other reason than to be red herrings.
Less believable than anything else is the former Wonder Woman as an artist, a student, a bartender, and a telephone counselor working a crisis hotline for psychiatrist Justin Price (Granville Van Dusen, probably the busiest 1970s television leading man whom nobody has heard of). She also drives a cool vintage convertible and lives in a lavish beach house, so bartending four nights a week must pay great (she says she’s house-sitting for someone, but Peckinpah and director Jameson fail to elaborate).
Carter’s fab Brianne (pronounced “Brian”—who knew?) starts getting weird phone calls at work from a whispering maniac calling himself “the Barber” who may be a serial killer with victims dating back twelve years. Justin seems sketchy to us, but not to Brianne, who strikes up a romance with him.
Two other suspects are Tom Hunter (S.W.A.T.'s Steve Forrest), an Oscar-winning cowboy star, and Kyle Durham (Monte Markham), who used to be Tom’s stunt double until suffering a crippling injury. The two men are supposed to be best friends, but they clearly hate one another, which may or may not be part of the mystery.
There’s nothing particularly special about HOTLINE, except that it gives Carter a chance to play sleuth, stalkee, and Final Girl opposite what turns out to be a really weird (but unsurprising) killer. She’s up to the task, even if the simple script and routine direction aren’t.