The 70s was a interesting decade to grow up in. Ted Bundy, Jonestown, Elvis’s death, Kent State, Star Wars, The Godfather, Battle of the Sexes (Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs) etc. There was also a time when there was no cable and they ran almost anything on network TV….at least that how it seemed to me as a kid.
Those in the New York area must remember the 4;30 movie, the Sunday Night Movie, the Monday Night Movie and Chiller theater. After shaking up my memory and a few calls to my sister, I’ve sussed out a few TV horror movies I remember watching as a child. Here they are, presented in no particular order.
If you are a horror movie fan, surely you must have heard of this one. It’s Stephen Speilberg’s first movie about a killer truck with a grudge. It stars Dennis Weaver, who will appear again on the list. Duel is a thriller/horror that follows David Mann, a traveling businessman as he takes a routine road trip for sales, or something like that. He was doing fine until he runs into a rusted eighteen wheeler who doesn’t like being passed on the highway. (At least I think that’s what happened….I’ll be honest, it’s been a bit.” What started as road rage and revenge escalates into a life-or-death game that no one can help David with.
Recently, they tried a weak remake with Wrecker. It was….well, you can read my review here.
See Duel. No, it’s not full of blood and guts, but it’s a study in horror film making.
Don’t Go to Sleep:
Okay, this is acutally from the 80s, early 80s, but I had to include it. My sister and I talk about this one every time we talk about movies. It’s such a good movie: weird and terrible with a great horror ending. It was released in 1982, but such a memory from my childhood, I included it here.
Picture this: a heart-wrenching tale that starts with a family in the deepest throes of grief. Their youngest daughter, Jennifer, tragically loses her life in a car accident. Oh noes! Of course, Now, after such a tragedy, the family goes for that fresh start. But guess what? This place comes with more than just a change of scenery. Cue the eerie, spine-tingling stuff. Mysterious happenings that’ll give you goosebumps start creeping into their lives. Yeah. Don’t look under the bed, okay?
Secrets, lies, and tensions…as well as a pizza cutter. Yes. Just watch the film. It is a surprisingly good movie being ‘made for TV’. Get groovy and watch it. Hold on, it was made in 1982 so, I guess groovy isn’t the best term. Anyway, watch it. Enjoy.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Yes, this is the film remade by Guillermo Del Toro, but this original 70s version is just choice. Let’s take a quick look at the synopsis. A young couple inherits an old mansion (OH NO!) inhabited by small demon-like creatures who are determined to make the wife one of their own.
Well. I will tell you, the whispers and the sounds the creatures make gave me the chills. I don’t know…did I say this before? There’s something about 70s horror that gets you. Yes, some films are overacted and sort of corny, but then you get a movie like this that kinda gets under your skin. Give it a try, see if you like.
Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell
If you know 70s movies/TV, you know Richard Crenna. Best known, probably, as Colonel Trautman, from First Blood, he also portrayed a cop who was assaulted (in that way) by ex convicts in The Rape of Richard Beck. (I told you, in the 70s, EVERYTHING was on TV.)
This wonderful suburban nuclear family innocenlty adopts a German Shephard, who, if I recall correctly, is either possessed by or bred by Satan. The film stars Richard Crenna Yvette Mimieux (from Lipstick). Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann are the children. Fun fact: The two child actors previously played siblings in the Witch Mountain films from Walt Disney Productions, which I’ve also seen. Of course, the dog rolls up with their own agenda, which includes tormenting the family and trying to get them to harm themselves.
The kicker, though, is at the end, when the dog apparently evolves into its devil-form and…..wow. He looks like a back-projected low-rent Zuul with a fur collar. It’s not to be missed. Have fun with this one.
Horror at 37,000 Feet
What a great cast for this film. Paul Winfield, Buddy Ebsen, William Shatner, Chuck Connors. You horror fans know the drill: Some rich (or foolish) person takes a religious artifact from its proper place, and terrible things begin to happen. This time, it happens on a plane, where there is no escape for the innocent people. Basically, these druid demons wreak havoc on these poor passengers until they get what they want. Also, William Shatner!
If you want to find out where these films are streaming, if they are even streaming, drop “Movie Name streaming” into the search box and it’ll tell you all you need to know. I hesitate to delineate any specific streaming services, because those things change so quickly. Best bet? Get on eBay or a used DVD place and get the physical copy.