Made for TV Horror / Thriller Films of the 70s & 80s

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.  Here is a list of some of my favorites in no particular order:

Crowhaven Farm:  

A young couple inherits a farm. Hoping that the rural location might help to patch up their strained marriage, they move into it, only to be confronted by the supernatural forces that inhabit it.  Starring: Hope Lange, Paul Burke and Lloyd Bochner (1970).  See the full blog entry here.

A Howling in the Woods: 

A disillusioned housewife on a vacation in the woods is disturbed by her husband continually trying to get her to come home and, more ominously, a mysterious howling at night.  Starring: Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman and John Rubinstein (1971).  See full review here.

Out of Contention (AKA The Victim)

A wealthy woman is trapped during a storm in a house with no electricity or phone. A killer has murdered her sister, stuffed the body in the basement, and is now after her. Starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Eileen Heckart and Sue Ane Langdon (1972).  See my short review here.

The Night Stalker

Kolchak, a reporter for a newspaper in Las Vegas, comes to believe that a series of murders in the city is the result of a vampire living amongst them.  Now he has to try to persuade the city officials and law enforcement to take him seriously. Starring: Darren McGavin, Carol Lynley and Simon Oakland (1972)

The House that Would Not Die:

 Two women move into a haunted house in rural Pennsylvania. Starring:   Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Egan and Michael Anderson Jr. (1970).  See full review here.

Something Evil: 

A young couple moves into a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania. What they don't know is that there is an unseen presence in the house, and that it wants to take possession of the wife. Starring: Darren McGavin, Sandy Dennis and Ralph Bellamy.  Directed by  Steven Spielberg. (1972)

Salem's Lot: 

Vampires are invading a small New England town. It's up to a novelist and a young horror fan to save it. Starring: David Soul, James Mason and Lance Kerwin. (1979)

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark:

A young couple inherits an old mansion inhabited by small demon-like creatures who are determined to make the wife one of their own. Starring: Kim Darby, Jim Hutton and Barbara Anderson. (74 mins.)

Dark Secret of Harvest Home: 

A young couple moves to a quiet New England village, only to soon find themselves mixed up in mysterious rituals.  Starring: Bette Davis, David Ackroyd and Rosanna Arquette (1978)

This House Possessed:  

After having a nervous breakdown, a rock singer buys a strange house and hires a nurse to take care of him. Starring Parker Stevenson, Lisa Eilbacher and Joan Bennett (1981).  See my full review in the blog.

Trilogy of Terror: 

Three bizarre horror stories all of which star Karen Black in four different roles playing tormented women. Starring: Karen Black, Robert Burton and John Karlen (1975)

The Norliss Tapes:

An investigative reporter stumbles onto a group of modern-day vampires. Starring: Roy Thinnes, Don Porter and Angie Dickinson (1973)

The Screaming Woman: 

A wealthy former mental patient goes home to her estate to rest and recuperate. While walking the grounds she hears a woman who has been buried alive.  No one will believe her.  Starring Olivia de Havilland, Ed Nelson and Laraine Stephens (1972)

The Strange and Deadly Occurrence:

A family moves into a new home in an isolated area, and soon realizes that someone--or something--doesn't want them there. Starring: Robert Stack, Vera Miles and L.Q. Jones (1974)

Summer of Fear (AKA Stranger in Our House):

A teenage girl's life is turned upside down after her cousin moves into her house, and as time goes by, she begins to suspect that she may be a practitioner of witchcraft. Starring: Linda Blair, Lee Purcell and Jeremy Slate.  Directed by Wes Craven.  (1978)

A Taste of Evil:

On her way home from a stay at a mental institution after a traumatic rape, a woman realizes that someone is deliberately trying to drive her insane. Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Parkins and Roddy McDowall (1971)

When Michael Calls (AKA Shattered Silence):

Helen keeps on receiving phone calls from a child, who claims to be her nephew Michael - but Michael died 15 years ago! In these calls he scolds  acquaintances who then die in suspicious accidents. Soon Helen fears she will be the next victim. Starring Ben Gazzara, Elizabeth Ashley and Michael Douglas (1972)

Satan's School for Girls:

A young woman investigating her sister's suicide at a private girls' school finds herself battling a satanic cult.  Starring: Pamela Franklin, Kate Jackson and Lloyd Bochner (1973)

The Spell:

A teenaged girl, taunted by her schoolmates because she's overweight, uses her supernatural powers to take revenge.  Starring: Lee Grant, Susan Myers, Helen Hunt and Lelia Goldoni  (1977)

Cry for the Strangers:

The little coastal town of Clark's Harbor seems like the perfect place for psychiatrist Brad Russell and his wife to get a little peace and spend more time with each other. But the locals don't seem very friendly and, every time a storm rolls in, another mysterious death occurs... Could an ancient Indian legend of ghostly tribes and human sacrifice have anything to do with it?  Starring Patrick Duffy, Cindy Pickett and Lawrence Pressman  (1982)

Dark Mansions:

A woman hired to write the history of a wealthy family stays at the family's estate in Seattle, Washington. She discovers that she strongly resembles a long-dead ancestor in the family, and finds things happening to her that happened to--and led to the death of--that woman.  Starring: Joan Fontaine, Michael York, Melissa Sue Anderson and Paul Shenar  (1986).  See full review here.

The Woman in Black:

When a friendless old widow dies in the seaside town of Crythin, a young solicitor is sent by his firm to settle the estate. The lawyer finds the townspeople reluctant to talk about or go near the woman's dreary home and no one will explain or even acknowledge the menacing woman in black he keeps seeing. Ignoring the towns-people's cryptic warnings, he goes to the house where he discovers its horrible history and becomes ensnared in its even more horrible legacy.  Starring: Adrian Rawlins, Bernard Hepton and David Daker (1989)

Buy DVD at

 A suburban family adopts a dog that has been possessed by the devil.  Slowly the sweet, suburban family turns corrupt and mean.  Only the dad is not susceptible to the dog's powers. See my full review in the blog.  Starring:  Richard Crenna, Yvette Mimieux, Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards (1978). 


  1. Hello. My name is Hugo Reynoso. Thank you for a lot of remembers. Sorry, my english is not very good. I'm from Argentine, but after married, I stayed in USA. I watch that tv movies en 70'. Now, may be you know that tv movie. I can't remember nothing excep something about the plot. A psycopata is out of an institucion but with a pquiatric woman look after him. He escape deceiving her and get into an apartment y take like prisoners to five o six woman. That man look for rape one by one, but a woman of the group, tie-up, throw by her self against the glass of the balcony and the crash call the atention from the neiborhood. If you remenber and knows the title or the name of an actor or actrees, I'm very glad. Thank you for your time. Here find a lot of films that I did remember nothin at all, until now. REALLY, THANK YOU A LOT!. And you're right, the horror tv movies had something special. Hugo Reynoso.

    1. Hi Hugo. Thanks for checking out my blog. I don't recognize the movie that you are asking about. Maybe I'll run into it one of these days as I discover all kinds of obscure TV movies from the 70s! Take care.

  2. Hi, great list. I remember watching a movie when I was a kid, this would have been about '74 or '75 I think. I was in second grade. The movie dealt with a scientist ( or somebody like that) going out to a remote island and being stalked by a monster. The only way to kill the monster was by immersing him in salt, so at the end, the scientist gets the monster to fall into the ocean bay and the monster dissolves immediately. Also, there was another early 70's movie about a meteor or strange light that would pass over the sun, and if you looked right at it, you would turn into dust. Can you recall these films?

    1. Hi Aaron,
      Thanks for checking out my site. I don't recognize the first movie you mention about the monster that dissolves in salt water but a quick google search suggested maybe "Day of the Triffids". As for the movie about people turning into dust because of the sun, the only ones I can think of are "Where Have All The People Gone" where all the people turn to dust because of solar flares ( or "Night of the Comet". Good luck finding your long lost movies!

  3. I have asked so many people about two made for tv movies that I watched with my dad in the late 70's and early 80's the one in 1976-77 had a similar scenario to cape fear. the family was being stalked by an ex con wronged by the lawyer / father off the family. The opening scene was a delivery of flowers that had an ARM in the box with a ring on the finger that belonged to the lawyers son! it wasn't real, but that was the first scary thing that he did. The other movie was about 3 boys who raped and killed a girl on the night of a homecoming dance, they made a pact never to speak of it. The most evil of the trio seen many years later became a famous evangelist who discovered an angelic voiced singer in his choir who turns out to be the girl that they thought they killed years ago. I think this movie was aired in two parts. Any info? others have remembered these movies but no one remembers the name or the actors that were in them.

    1. I believe the first movie you are asking about is part of "Tales of the Unexpected" - a movie length episode called "Force of Evil" from 1977 starring Lloyd Bridges and Eve Plumb. You can find it on Youtube and I actually had it on my watch list but haven't seen it yet. It appears the main character is a doctor, not a lawyer and the arm in the box scene you were talking about is not the opening scene but 1 hour & 5 minutes into the movie. I hope that is the one you were looking for - as I know how maddening it is to remember scenes from a childhood movie and not be able to find it. As for the other movie you mentioned, I can't place that one but if I run across it, I will let you know. Thanks for visiting A Haunting on the Screen!

    2. The second movie you've asked about is 'Celebrity', a miniseries from 1984.

  4. There was a movie in the 80's not really sure if it was only for TV. Maybe you could help me, all I remember is a cheerleader, and a guy, I think either the guy was previously dead and came back to life or the cheerleader did but they are walking, and she has a red outfit, and he has a Letterman Jacket from 50's. Its not The midnight hour. I thought there was a red old caddy but it could have been another kind of vehicle.

    1. I'm sorry but I haven't run across that movie yet. Maybe someone else will recognize it?

  5. Cool list - many things on here that other (repetitive) lists don't have. I hope you keep updating. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for checking out the site, Jozelle!