Made For TV Horror Movies

So Episode 55 was going to be Our Favorite Made For TV Horror Movies. But early that week, I got a text from Jorge saying he was having some trouble coming up with a list of 5 because he hadn’t seen most of the movies that came up when he did a search for them.

That’s pretty understandable, and no opprobrium whatsoever should be attached to it. For one thing, Jorge is a good 13 years younger than I am and hasn’t wasted nearly as much had as much time on this earth to squander devote to watching as many horror movies as I have.

But fear not, true believers. I’m still going to regale you with a few highlights from my list. Here we go.

Dark Night Of The Scarecrow

We discussed this movie extensively in Episode 21 as a double feature with Dark Night Of The Scarecrow 2: Straweyes. the sequel had just come out, so we decided to sit down, watch it, and then discuss it on the spot (interested parties can click below to listen).

Let me begin by expressing how very much I was looking forward to this. I couldn’t wait to buy the DVD (because Long Live Physical Media!) and get Jorge a copy as well.

What can I say? I’m a giver.

Well, it was bad, and if your misguided sense of curiosity compels you to find out how bad, check out the aforementioned episode of Podferatu. The original, however, retains a special place in the cold, dark pit where my heart should be.

First of all, Charles Durning. No matter what he shows up in, at least everything I’ve ever seen, he brings an air of sleaze to whatever character he’s playing.

Second, Larry Drake (L.A. Law, Darkman, Dr. Giggles) is Bubba, the victim of Charles Durning’s Otis and friends. If you haven’t checked this one out, treat yourself. Some good ol’ fashioned revenge creepiness with supernatural undertones. Surprisingly effective for made-for-TV fare.

Episode 21: Dark Night Of The Scarecrow Double Feature! Podferatu

The Dark Secret Of Harvest Home

This was a 1979 NBC miniseries with a noteworthy cast, not the least of which was Bette Davis. But we also had a very young Rosanna Arquette, René Auberjonois, Norman Lloyd, Joanna Miles, Michael O’Keefe, and a pre-Growing Pains Tracey Gold. Oh and you might recognize a mighty strappin’ John Calvin from his later appearance in Critters 3.

Okay yeah you might not.

First things first. This is relatively track-down-able on DVD. There’s also a $75 VHS on Amazon. I’d recommend the DVD myself as the only streaming version I could find was on The YouTubes, and its quality is less than ideal. Totally watchable, but could be loads better.

That said, at 3 hours 48 minutes, be ready for a slow burn. Things take a bit to start movin’ along, but once they do, the tension and creep factor both continue to pile up layer upon layer. Highly effective for a TV miniseries.

Trilogy Of Terror

Is this the best movie ever made? No. Best horror anthology? Again, no. Best made-for-TV horror movie? Not even that. But one of my very most favorites? Forever and always. It’s a perennial go-to, nay, an all-time classic, nay, a major deity in my pantheon of horror movie gods.

It’s got a lot going for it as made-for-TV flicks go. Let’s see. Karen Black before she became the matriarch of the Firefly clan. Not enough? Okay, directed by Dan “Dark Shadows/Night Stalker” Curtis. Still not satisfied? Put that checkbook away; there’s more. How about all based on stories written by Richard Matheson? Yes please.

This one runs quite the gamut: evil twins, psychosis, predatory women, all played by Karen Black. The highlight, of course, is “Amelia” and that ultracreepazoidonal Zuni fetish doll.

Add to this the fact that I saw this very ad in the trusty ol’ TV Guide as a wee lad back in 1975. Freaked me right the hell out. That thing unnerves me to this day. Cuz dolls.

Always. Creepy.

It’s a rule.

5 thoughts on “Made For TV Horror Movies

  1. I watched Dark Night if the Scarecrow way too young. Bubba’s murder devastated me.

    I just finished listening to Harvest Home last week. I thought it was a brilliant slow-burn. I was thinking about watching this mini-series. I’m worried it would make me super angry.


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