Thursday, November 30, 2006

Made for TV

Coaster Punchman and Dale brought back pleasant memories from my youth--watching made-for-TV movies. I mentioned Trilogy of Terror in the recent round of movie tag, and CP hooted his approval, describing it as an "awesome cheesy made-for-TV movie from the 70's." Dale followed up, calling my Karen Black and raising a Linda Blair, going all-in with Born Innocent.

This set me off on a fit of nostalgia. Looking back, I see now that my love of women in prison movies began with Linda Blair's bravura performance in Born Innocent. I started with Linda Blair, but soon moved on to the more sophisticated and pneumatic charms of Mary Woronov and Sybill Danning.

What other great made-for-TV experiences did I have...let's see:

Killdozer -- A bunch of construction workers try and move a strange meteorite with a bulldozer. A strange blue light possesses the bulldozer, turning it into...KILLDOZER! Later on they defeat the demonic dozer by electrocuting it.

Crowhaven Farm
The Dark Secret of Harvest Home

Hope Lange and Bette Davis, respectively, get freaky in these two movies about the hidden menace of charming New England towns.

The Night Stalker
The Night Strangler

These two movies, starring Darren McGavin, were the pilots for the TV series Kolchak the Night Stalker. The Night Stalker was awesome because it set a vampire story in swanky 70's Las Vegas. The Night Strangler had the better cast--Wally Cox, Al Lewis and John Carradine.


I remember watching this at the home of some of my parent's friends who we were visiting at the time. I thought I got the best deal in the world, being left alone in the den to watch this while the grownups socialized.

Sweet Hostage

Mental patient Martin Sheen "kidnaps" farm girl Linda Blair. He recites poetry to her and she learns valuable life lessons.

Now, really, if there were made-for-TV lifetime achievement awards for actors and actresses, I think Martin Sheen and Linda Blair would have to win something:

Martin Sheen

That Certain Summer: Hal Holbrook's younger lover
Catholics: Father Kinsella
The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd: Title character
The Execution of Private Slovik: Title character

Linda Blair

Born Innocent: need I say more?
Sara T., Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic: Sarah Travis
Sweet Hostage: Dorah Mae Withers

An honorable mention goes to Hope Lange. She cranked out some quality work in the 70's.

If I'm missing anyone, PLEASE let me know! This is just the stuff I could remember. I know there's more.


Coaster Punchman said...

Nice list Bubs, though there is one glaring omission: let us not forget Elizabeth Montgomery's stunning performance in The Legend of Lizzie Borden.

I'm sure many a teenage boy from the era will not soon forget the image of Samantha Stevens, in the nude, hacking away at her parents with an ax. Brilliant work.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the John Travolta's forgettable movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble." That one is available on dvd-- my wife found it for 99 cents.

I own not only the two Nightstalker movies, but the whole series, which came out on dvd earlier this year. And I cannot wait for Killdozer to come out on dvd. Clint Walker was never more stoic.

BTW, the band Killdozer, which took it's name from that movie, is great.

And I own Gargoyles, too. I've got a real soft spot for really bad television.

lulu said...

Killdozer the band does rock, as does my friend's brother-in-law's band who occasionally go by the name Killdozer.

Bubs said...

Oh my God...I've never before in my life been around so many people who seem to like the same stuff I like.

CP, thank you, THANK YOU, for reminding me about the Legend of Lizzie Borden. I can tell you that movie made quite an...impression...on me as a 13 year old. I remember seeing a punk band at Exit, years ago, called Man Sized Action and they did a song titled "I'm in love with Elizabeth Montgomery." I'm glad to see that there's a petition drive to get it on DVD, and I happily throw the full resources of the compound behind this effort.

Johnny, ah yes. BITB. I can't remember, did Travolta get laid in that?

Lulu and Johnny, I have a vague memory of seeing Killdozer with some friends, maybe at the Cubby Bear? They were one of those bands I liked, whose records I never owned.

lulu said...

ok, my comment made no sense, their band doesn't go by the name killdozer, they go by the name dilldozer. Argh, I can't type.

Dale said...

I'm going to have to inspectigate the Crowhaven Farm a little more closely Bubs. I think it may be the film I've been scratching my head over for years trying to remember on a cursory look at the imdb information.

I have the Night Stalker series too although I haven't spent enough time with it yet and CP makes perfect sense bringing up Lizzie Borden. Another fascinating choice.

Anonymous said...

I did manage to see Killdozer live-- a show I mentioned in a blog entry, at the long-gone Crosscurrents, in 1986. The guitarist was wearing a Motorhead t-shirt...for pants. Big Black and Scratch Acid also played. And I do own a Killdozer record, Little Baby Bunting. Their rendition of Neil Diamond's "I am I said" is priceless.

I'll check on the coital status of the Bubble Boy.

Bubs said...

Dale I'm going to have to look for that Night Stalker series on DVD. That's what made Friday night cool when I was a kid--Kolchak, followed by Chiller Theater or Creature Feature.

Johnny, I remember Crosscurrents! I don't remember seeing anyone cool there--just angry leftist folksingers, and some good comedy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it was an odd venue for a bunch of hardcore guys. I'd mentioned before that we were hanging with the guys in Raygun that night. My friend Tim (the same one who I wrote the dead body letter with) came by tonight for a while, and he and I were reminiscing about that night.

Wasn't Creature Features on Saturday? Remember the little intro thing they did-- the rhyming thing? One of the WGN newscasters did that. Marty somthing. My favorite was when they'd play the Wolfman movies.

Bubs said...

My bride has talked about that, but I'm talking about the Creature Feature that aired on one of the NY channels back then (we lived back east at the time)

She still has a newspaper clipping that has that verse on it, she keeps it on her dresser.