Saturday, March 17, 2012

Out of Contention, AKA The Victim

I found a great 70s made for TV movie that I watched today called "Out of Contention" (1972).  It was originally released under the title of "The Victim".  It's a great mystery/thriller starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Eileen Heckart and Sue Ane Langdon. Elizabeth Montgomery plays Kate Wainwright the sister of a woman that is murdered at the beginning of the film and stuffed in a basket in her basement.  The audience never sees who did it.

Not able to reach her sister by phone she gets worried and travels unannounced to her sister's house in Northern California.  She arrives to a seemingly empty house during a horrible thunderstorm.  Elizabeth Montgomery does an excellent job playing the concerned sister just trying to figure out what is going on.  For most of the movie it's just her trapped in the house during a storm with no phone or electricity.  But the murderer is lurking around.  Is it the possessive maid that the sister previously fired, the husband who the sister wanted to divorce, or someone else?  Dark house, rain, thunder & lightning, strange noises in the basement, eerie music - loads of atmosphere in this one! This is one of those classic made for TV thrillers that I love and I have now added it to my favorites on my Made for TV Horror/Thriller page.

Recently Seen 70s Fright Movies

YouTube has been getting a workout lately while I discover some "new to me" made for TV (mostly) films from the 70s.

  • She Waits (1972), starring Patty Duke, David McCallum and Dorothy McGuire:  A murdered woman seeks revenge, possesses her husband's new wife.  Nice atmosphere and good job by Patty Duke playing the innocent new wife.
  • Reflections of Murder (1974), starring Tuesday Weld, Joan Hackett and Sam Waterston: The wife and mistress of the abusive headmaster of a boy's school plot and carry out his murder.  Takes place in and around Seattle.  Good plot twists that keep you guessing.
  • Scream of the Wolf (1974), starring Peter Graves, Clint Walker and Jo Ann Pflug:  A big-game hunter comes out of retirement to help track down a killer wolf, and begins to suspect that it isn't a wolf but an animal that can take human form.  One of Dan Curtis' made for TV movies.  Couldn't quite hold my attention.
  • Haunts of the Very Rich (1972), starring Lloyd Bridges, Cloris Leachman, Edward Asner, Donna Mills and several more famous actors: A group of rich people are lured to a secret new resort.  It seems like paradise at first but then things start to go wrong. Kind of a mash up of Fantasy Island and Twilight Zone.
  • The Uncanny (1977) [not made for TV], starring Peter Cushing, Samantha Eggar and Ray Milland: Wilbur Gray, a horror writer, has stumbled upon a terrible secret, that cats are supernatural creatures who really call the shots. In a desperate attempt to get others to believe him, Wilbur spews three tales of feline horror. The first story of the old lady, her many cats, her devious maid and nephew was my favorite.  After that, they kind of went downhill.
  • The Eyes of Charles Sand (1972), starring Peter Haskell, Joan Bennett and Barbara Rush: When his father dies, Charles inherits the Sand family legacy, the ability to see visions beyond the grave. He helps a girl investigate her brother's alleged murder. Very slow to start but had a fast paced last third.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Kolchak Kind of Day

Yesterday I watched a double feature of Carl Kolchak made for TV movies: Night Stalker & Night Strangler.  Kolchak is a pushy newpaper reporter who keeps getting into trouble in each city he lives and has to leave town.  The Night Stalker takes place in Las Vegas where a vampire is on the loose and no one in the city will believe Kolchak.  Classic 70s telefright film that I have added to my Made for TV list as a favorite.

The Night Strangler is a sequel that takes place in his new city, Seattle.  Here also there is a string of murders, women being strangled and blood being taken, but it's not a vampire who is to blame this time.  Not quite as good as the original but great to see my city from the 70s on the screen.

Both films directed by Dan Curtis who made a lot of these types of movies during the 70s, including my favorite Burnt Offerings.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

2 Movies Added to My Favorites

Last night was a good night to watch a couple of horror movies.

I started with a new movie, "The Innkeepers" which was released in 2011.  This movie takes place in a haunted hotel called the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Connecticut - which is a real life hotel.  Talk about a slow build-up of terror but it all pays off in the end.  Lots of wandering around this old hotel listening for spirits.  Just don't go into the cellar!  Added to my Haunted House movie page.

I finished with a late night viewing of "Night Watch" from 1973 starring Elizabeth Taylor.  I just recently found this movie on Amazon and received the DVD yesterday.  This movie has elements of horror, mystery and thrillers.  It has many of the elements I love about atmospheric horror movies:  spooky dilapidated house next door, lots of rain, thunder and lightning, peeking through the window out into the dark and lots of suspense.  Elizabeth Taylor is fantastic in her roll of the wife who is seemingly going mad.  A great find and addition to my favorites on my "Atmospheric Horror Movie" page.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Atmospheric Horror Movies

Loaded with lots of suspense and eerie atmosphere including: foggy moonlit nights, candles glowing in the window of a large house, creaking staircases, unexplainable sounds, dark woods and strange and creepy characters.  A few of my favorites on my Haunted House Movies page fit well here too but I won't list them twice. See some of my favorites on my Atmospheric Horror Movies page.

Haunted House Movies

Haunted house movies are one of my favorite sub genres of horror.  They have large scary looking houses, run-down estates with graveyards, hidden passages, creepy characters, ghosts and lots of atmosphere.  To see some of my favorites, visit my Haunted House Movies page.

Classic Disney Thrillers

Walt Disney used to make some good thrillers aimed at the younger audience.   For a few of my favorites, see my Classic Disney Thrillers page.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book about 70s Made for TV Thrillers

Television Fright Films of the 1970s by David Deal is now available as an ebook for kindle.  It has a rather exhaustive list of all the 70s made for TV fright films.  Each film is summarized and reviewed.  I highly recommend this book!  It has been very helpful to find more info on these forgotten films.

Made for TV Horror / Trillers

There's something about made for TV movies of the 70s and 80s that I just love.  They bring back fond memories of evenings or rainy Saturday afternoons being immersed in a tale of terror.  See a list of some of my favorites on my Made for TV page.

Welcome to the Haunting on the Screen Blog

This blog is for me to keep track of some of my favorite horror movies.  My interests in the horror genre tend to the more old school, atmospheric horror or terror instead of the movies filled with blood and gore.  Give me a movie filled with hauntings, walks through the foggy graveyard, wind and lightning filled nights and eerie music as someone walks up the stairs into the dark attic over a slasher film anytime.  I especially have an affinity toward haunted houses and made for TV terror films especially of the 70s.  I hope if you find this blog that you will find some of your old favorites also.  See the full blog here.