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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Made for T.V. Mayhem recap

It was time for another themed marathon for the Horror Dude Blog. This time I thought it would be fun to spend some time tracking down and watching made for T.V. movies. Back in the ‘70s and early ‘80s the big three networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) had time to fill and ended up creating some original movies. This became a breeding ground for talent on the way up and a paycheck for those on the way down. Time for some Made for T.V. marathon! Click the links to see the full review.

1.     Ghost of Flight 401 (1978) – I thought that I’d start off the marathon with a cool old ghost story. Here we have Ernest Borgnine starring as Dom, an airline pilot that everyone loves. He is a nice guy that cares about his family and friends. That makes it especially sad when he is killed in an airplane crash. But does he know he died?
2.     Spectre (1977) – Next up I chose to check out this Gene Roddenberry project that stars Robert Culp as a brilliant criminal investigator who has discovered that the supernatural is real! He is cursed and in need of a doctor, so he recruits a former friend to monitor his heart and heads off to do battle with a demon! Got to love the ‘70s.
3.     Death Cruise (1974) – Time for a little something different. Don’t worry there will be killings, but this is more of a murder mystery than it is a horror flick. Kate Jackson and Edward Albert star as a couple who end up on a cruise ship with some others who have all won a contest. Only thing is everyone that won the free trip is getting knocked off… Who is doing it and why? Good times.
4.     The Midnight Hour (1985) – Hey we have one from the ‘80s! What happens when a bunch of damn kids decide to break into a museum and read a spooky old scroll in a graveyard? Well it isn’t good I can tell you that. This one is fun and has a lot of faces that would get famous a few years later. Also, Dick Van Patten is a vampire dentist… Hells Yeah!
5.     Killer Bees (1974) – Well ’74 must have been the year of Kate Jackson and Edward Albert because they are back playing another couple. This time they aren’t married yet but are headed to Albert’s family winery to announce their engagement. The family isn’t too happy about it, but hey that happens. Only not everyone’s in-laws have a hive of Killer Bees at their beck and call!
6.     A Cold Night’s Death (1973) – Robert Culp makes his second appearance in the marathon. This time he and co-star Eli Wallach have to carry the movie as they portray scientists sent to finish and experiment at an isolated mountain lab. Of course, after arriving a big storm blows in and cuts them off from the rest of the world. Creepiness ensues.
7.     Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo (1977) – So far, we have had Killer Bees on the made for T.V. marathon but I know we can do better. How about some creepy spiders crawling around? Yeah that is the ticket. This movie has a great cast including Tom Atkins in a small role. That dude is awesome.
8.     Scream of the Wolf (1974) – I can’t believe I’m eight movies into the marathon and this is the first time I’m mentioning Dan Curtis! I mean the man was the master of made for T.V. genre flicks with Kolchak, The Norliss Tapes, and Trilogy of Terror coming immediately to my mind. Scream of the Wolf is one that I’ve never seen before, but stars Peter Graves and Clint Walker (who we shall see again shortly on this list). This is a great werewolf movie that keeps the audience guessing until the very end. Check out the full review for more details.
9.     Killdozer (1974) – Any marathon or list of made for T.V. horror/sci-fi movies wouldn’t be complete without Killdozer. This might be the most absurd of the bunch, but it is also awesome. Clint Walker appears on the list again. This time he is playing a construction foreman that has to do battle with a Bulldozer possessed by an alien! Classic bit of ‘70s cheese.
10.  Satan’s Triangle (1975) – Now this is an interesting one. When I was considering my next big theme at the Horror Dude Blog this movie inspired me to do a made for T.V. marathon. I had always remembered being freaked out by the final scene of Doug McClure treading water in the ocean with a creepy look on his face. I hadn’t seen this one in years but found it quickly enough on YouTube. So, what did I think? Check out the link to my review above to find out.
11.  The Night Stalker (1972) – Well you can’t have a made for T.V. marathon without eventually talking some Kolchak. It honestly doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to genre movies made for the small screen. This is also Dan Curtis’s second mention in the marathon, but it won’t’ be his last. And since I covered The Night Stalker I should go ahead and talk about…
12.  The Night Strangler (1973) – …the sequel to the Night Stalker. Here Carl Kolchak is now located in Seattle after having been run out of Las Vegas. Dan Curtis directs this second movie that would then spawn a short-lived television series. Instead of a vampire our intrepid reporter is chasing down a killer that is targeting women. Of course, things take a strange twist. I wonder if we will see Dan Curtis on the list again? Spoilers… yes!
13.  Salem’s Lot (1979) – No made for television marathon could be complete without this amazing effort from director Tobe Hooper based on an equally amazing book from Stephen King. Not only is this a great movie but it has also held a special place in my heart as my first exposure to King’s scary universe. I’ve been hooked ever since.
14.  Gargoyles (1972) – So the previous three entries on the list have been better known to what I’d consider casual horror fans. This is a great example of what can be done with a smaller budget and under the constraints of the censors. Gargoyles is still very scary with cool creature effects work from the late great Stan Winston.
15.  Moon of the Wolf (1972) – Well we have had a werewolf movie that didn’t actually have a werewolf in it so maybe it is time to actually get our Lycanthropy on! Here you have veteran actor David Jansen from the classic Fugitive series doing battle with a Loup Garou. Which is French for werewolf… Toss in some romance and Geoffrey Lewis being a victim to another classic monster (vampire got him in Salem’s Lot) for some fun.
16.  Snowbeast (1977) – It is crazy that it has taken me this long to get to a Bigfoot movie. I mean the hairy fella was a big deal in the ‘70s and made several appearances on the small screen. Here we have the Snowbeast (Bigfoot) preying on some people who are out for some harmless fun with winter sports. Lucky for the potential victims Bo Svenson is there to do battle with the creature. Much fun ensues.
17.  The Norliss Tapes (1973) – Dan Curtis mines familiar territory with another movie about a writer investigating rumors of the supernatural. Here our main character is David Norliss a novelist who is working on a new book to debunk tales of ghosts and their ilk. During his research he finds himself stuck in the middle of a situation he can’t explain. Good times are had.
18.  Ants! (1977) – Time for things to get creepy and crawly here at the marathon. Ants! was one of those movies that I remember freaking me the heck out when I was a kid. I can honestly say that this one still gets to me. But I had a bad experience with ants in my childhood so that might be why it is still effective…
19.  The Savage Bees (1976) – I hadn’t seen this one in years and honestly had forgotten all about it until I started putting my list together for this marathon. Michael Parks plays one of our leads and does battle with a hive of Africanized Bees that are trying to ruin Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Maybe one of the goofiest but most entertaining endings of any of the movies on this list.
20.  Terror out of the Sky (1978) – This sequel to The Savage Bees picks up with the lady friend of Michael Parks character working for a company that breeds queen bees. They do this to make the hives more resistant to the killer bees, but of course something goes wrong, and they ship killer queens to the public!

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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