Archive for the Television Category

Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999

Posted in Books, Film, Television with tags , , , , , , on November 21, 2017 by roarvis

For the previous entries, go here.


Click to Order

Many folks who grew up in the 70s and 80s were exposed to horror movies first via the television. My family didn’t have cable, and I didn’t have regular access to a VCR until the mid-80s. During this time, my fragile brain was assaulted by theatrical releases that were licensed (and heavily edited) for television, such as Deathdream (1974) and The Blood Spattered Bride (74). I also saw quite a few made-for-TV movies that haunted me for years to come.

Are You in the House Alone? pays tribute to this era. Made-for-television films like Gargoyles (1972), Bad Ronald (1974), and Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark (1973) are placed in their proper historical context, and given a fair critical analysis – many for the first time. The book also looks beyond the horror genre to include true crime, superheroes, and things that don’t fit in an obvious category (I’m looking at you, The Bermuda Depths).

Editor Amanda Reyes deserves substantial credit for raising the profile of the telefilm via her Made for TV Mayhem blog. Here she is joined by several writers, who contribute entries ranging in tone from academic to humorous. The book is broken into two sections: The first features essays on various subjects and themes, including the rape-revenge and exploitation genres. Lance Vaughan, a.k.a. Unkle Lancifer from the indispensable blog Kindertrauma, provides a chapter devoted to small-screen Stephen King adaptations. The second part focuses on reviews of some of the notable telefilms of the era.


The films profiled are stylistically diverse, but from a geographical standpoint, the book is primarily concerned with U.S. network productions. The writers dig into the Nielsen DMA stats to convey just how successful many of these “television events” were in terms of ratings. This information is fascinating for anyone interested in American pop culture, but I’m curious if there were similar trends in Canadian television during the time. Similarly, the book mostly avoids U.K. television productions, which included terrifying films like the original The Woman in Black (1989). The British dystopian nightmare Threads (1974) is mentioned, but the works of horror/sci-fi writer Nigel Kneale are not. I’d love to see a companion piece to this book covering TV movie trends in the U.K. and other regions.

Next: Paperbacks From Hell!

80s Science Fiction Film Child Art Archives: Introduction

Posted in Artwork, Film, Television with tags , , , , , on August 4, 2011 by roarvis

I’m proud to announce a new feature on this blog: 1980s science fiction movie art, as drawn by myself, when I was a child!

Recently I traveled to the remote woodlands of Northeast Ohio, where I found an archive comprised of every drawing I ever did from the time I first picked up a crayon. Most of this art is horrendous even by the standards by which we judge the art of a child. However, I was discovering the magic of motion pictures during a time before the PG-13 rating existed. This meant I was exposed not only to mainstream features like the Star Wars trilogy and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but also to titles that have since taken on cult status. I’m talking about The Black Hole, Flash Gordon, Tron, Clash of the Titans, The Dark Crystal, Blade Runner, and even Krull!

After returning from the theater, I would spend the next few days indoors, drawing what I had seen to the best of my ability. As a result, I have stacks of paper with crude interpretations of these beloved sci-fi classics.

More drawerings

We Took The Wrong Step Years Ago

Posted in Comedy, Film, Rants, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by roarvis

British television has become an obsession of mine lately. This probably dates back to my childhood, when I would spend hours strangling the rabbit ears on my father’s TV set, desperately trying to tune in Doctor Who on PBS. Nowadays almost every obscure overseas program can be either rented, streamed or downloaded. You can say the floodgates have been opened. More Anglophile ranting

Posted in Film, Music, Television with tags , , , , , , , on June 23, 2011 by roarvis

I’ve been enjoying the films of Sergio Corbucci, Enzo Castellari and Jean Rollin that are available on Netflix streaming. Also watching a lot of British TV shows old and new: George Gently, The Omega Factor, Doc Martin, etc.

Sloan and Swervedriver were both great as usual. I think I’ve seen enough of the old favorites lately; time for some new bands to step up to the plate.

Speaking of which, I interviewed my friend Steve’s band The Library is on Fire and my friend Tim’s band The Archive. Friday night I’m going to see Magic Mirror, Exploding Flowers and DJ Tami at Casey’s Irish Pub. It’s gonna be a beer-soaked evening of psychedelic madness, if I have anything to say about it!

Not Now, Silent Singer!

Posted in Comedy, Film, Music, Rants, Religion, Television with tags , , , on May 20, 2011 by roarvis

“Here is a list of incorrect things” – M.E. Smith

I’ve managed to see some really great shows lately. Urge Overkill was last week. Sloan and Swervedriver each play in June, so I couldn’t be happier.

I’m obsessed with Psychoville, the new show from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton of League of Gentlemen. Why isn’t this available legally in the U.S.? Stupid Limeys. Just kidding!

Film-wise, I’ve been enjoying the work of Enzo G. Castellari. His films are laughably bad at times and quite brilliant at others. At his best, he is a master of combining striking visuals with dissonant music. He’s directed films in several classic genres including spaghetti western, giallo, Italian crime or “Poliziotteschi”, post-apocalyptic sci-fi, and even Jaws rip-offs. I love how he uses the same character actors in many of his films. His most famous work is probably Inglorious Bastards, due to the remake. I haven’t watched that one yet, because frankly I’m tired of World War II. I finally watched Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, so I’m done.

A chance trip to the liquor store yielded the latest issue of Horror Hound, which is all about the greatest year in horror films, 1981. Totally worth the newsstand price.

Well, today is The Rapture. I’m off to crack open a beer and watch the ascension! Catch you heathens later.

Farewell Sarah Jane

Posted in Television with tags , , on April 19, 2011 by roarvis

I’ve been watching a lot of mid-70s Doctor Who episodes lately, so was particularly saddened to hear that actress Elisabeth Sladen passed away today. She co-starred with Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker as the Doctor’s sidekick Sarah Jane Smith. The actress returned to the role in the spinoff series The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Just a week ago I finished watching The Hand of Fear, which was Sarah Jane’s final episode on the original series. I felt that it would be an appropriate farewell to re-post this clip.

Posted in Music, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , on April 4, 2011 by roarvis

Things have been busy since SXSW. I’ve been writing for The Neighborhood and working on the next Pirate Planet album. I’ve also been obsessively watching Doctor Who Classic and dealing with endless cat problems at home. I plan to eventually have some actual content for this blog. In the meantime, check out this album from my friend Caleb’s old band 3001, and marvel at this creepy trailer for The Horror of Fang Rock.