Archive for made for TV movies

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.

TVM

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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.

Harvest

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!

Four of the Apocalypse: A Holiday Guide to Horror Non-Fiction Books

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

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Recently I picked up four excellent non-fiction works related to movies and books in the horror genre. I was all set to take a photo and post it to Instagram, complete with relevant and witty hashtags. Then I remembered that once upon a time, I was a writer who wrote about other writers writing about things. This was before I grew disillusioned with the world of pop-culture commentary and gravitated toward projects that enable me to afford groceries (and books). My woefully neglected blog was still floating around on the internet like a discarded Angelfire homepage, generating the occasional insightful comment or spammy back-link. It deserved better.

With renewed resolve, I dusted off the old keyboard and composed a series of posts examining these four publications.

Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990 by Brian Albright

Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999 Edited by Amanda Reyes

Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix (with Will Errickson)

Death Count: All of the Deaths in the Friday the 13th Film Series, Illustrated by Stacie Ponder

I’ll break the reviews into individual bite-sized chunks for easy digestion.

First up: Regional Horror!