The Old Man Who Cried Wolf
Originally aired: October 13, 1970 on ABC
Directed by: Walter Grauman
Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Martin Balsam, Ed Asner, Diane Baker
After he and his friend are attacked, Robinson awakens to a conspiracy when he’s told his friend has died from a heart attack. Determined to prove murder, Robinson must also tangle with well-meaning family members who think he’s senile. Although Robinson has seen the killer, unfortunately, the killer has also seen him…
Edward G. Robinson has never looked more distinguished and he gives the performance of a lifetime. More than just a thriller, “Old Man” delicately handles the topic of senility and dignity, but the engrossing murder mystery and disturbing ending keep it firmly in the genre.
The House that Would Not Die
Originally aired: October 27, 1970 on ABC
Directed by: John Llewellyn Moxey
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Kitty Wynn, Richard Egan
The great Stanwyck dipped her feet into the Halloween-time waters in this classically told ghost tale about a duplicitous General during the Revolutionary War who is accused by his daughter, Aimee, of helping the British. She leaves her father to elope and never returns. Two hundred years later, the ghost of the heartbroken general can still be heard calling “Aimee, come home”, through the dark woods at night. Stanwyck inherits the house and begins to hear the General’s impassioned cries for Aimee, but is there something more sinister to his haunted cries for a lost daughter?
Based on the popular Barbara Michaels book, “Aimee Come Home”, “House” is an Aaron Spelling Production. The name Spelling usually conjures up images from the era of ‘Jiggle TV’ but before he turned ABC into the ‘Aaron Broadcasting Channel’, he made several fine genre TVMs, filled with stars and a distinct air of class.
Sweet, Sweet Rachel
Originally aired: October 2, 1971 on ABC
Directed by: Sutton Roley
Starring: Stephanie Powers, Bradford Dillman, Alex Drier
Stephanie arrives home just in time to see hubby taking a spill out the window of their cliffside estate. Shortly after he takes a header into the rocks, loopy Rachel seeks the help of a portly parapsychologist and his blind assistant, who seek answers to crimes perpetrated by the supernatural.
“Rachel” was a pilot for a series that sadly never got picked up. As it stands, it’s a lush and weird horror movie with tons of potential. Although many of the possibilities are realized in some awesome set peices, there is still some great, campy swinging 70s moments guaranteed to make you smile. And Ms. Powers has never been more beautiful.
Taste of Evil
Originally aired: October 12, 1971 on ABC
Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Parkins, Roddy McDowell
Another Stanwyck exclusive, she returns to the small screen again as the mother of the mentally fragile Parkins, whose character suffered a traumatic rape as a child. After spending several years in an institution, Parkins returns home and begins hearing voices and seeing things no one else does. Is she still haunted by her early harrowing experience or is someone determined to force her back into an institution?
Like Moxey’s best movie “Home for the Holidays”, he showcases his superior skills in building a mounting sense of suspense. And the opening is a chiller. Very dark for its time.
In Broad Daylight
Originally aired: October 16, 1971 on ABC
Directed by Robert Day
Starring: Suzanne Pleshette, Stella Stevens, Richard Boone
Boone plays a recently blinded actor who finds out his wife (Pleshette) is having her way with another man. He uses his newfound disability to plot the perfect murder.
Another fun Aaron Spelling potboiler, he uses his top-notch cast to carry the over-the-top premise home. Good suspense and an ultra-hot Stella Stevens, who could ask for anything more?
Death Takes a Holiday
Originally aired: October 23, 1971 on ABC
Directed by: Robert Butler
Starring: Monte Markham, Yvette Mimieux
A remake of the 1930’s classic, “Death” is a lush, romantic film with a dark edge. Markham plays the Grim Reaper who falls in love with the lovely Mimieux. He longs to know what humans feel and decides to spend the weekend with her at a family reunion. This throws the earth’s natural balance completely out of whack, especially Mimieux’s family.
A grim yet beautiful and compelling drama deliberately paced and wonderfully shot, Markham proved that he could have been a great leading man, if only Hollywood had recognized his talents. Modern-gothic romance at its absolute best.
A Little Game
Originally aired: October 30, 1971 on ABC
Directed by: Paul Wendkos
Starring: Diane Baker, Howard Duff, Ed Nelson
The small screen’s contribution to the kids from hell genre, Christopher Shea plays the boy who decides if he can’t keep his mom single, he’ll make her a widow.
This Halloween movie was written by Carol Sobieski who also penned the excellent TV remake of “Diabolique”, “Reflections of Murder”. Sadly, “A Little Game” remains a rarity in the wonderful world of TV Horror.
Originally aired October 10, 1972 on CBS
Directed by: Lee Katzin
Starring: Monte Markham, Telly Savalas, Barbara Anderson
Who loves ya, baby? Monte Markham plays a quiet professor who finds he has the power to see the future when he touches someone. He envisions a terrorist bombing but can’t see the bomber’s face. With the help of Kojak, they set about catching a cunning would-be killer while Markham learns to deal with his new power.
Short Walk to Daylight
Originally aired: October 24, 1972 on ABC
Directed by: Barry Shear
Starring: James Brolin, Don Mitchell, James McEachin
What’s a holiday without a disaster flick? After a devastating earthquake in New York City, Brolin must lead a pack of strangers through the cavernous subway tunnels to higher ground. Of course they run into the usual challenges before they reach the outside world.
This compact movie, running a mere 74 minutes was lengthened for syndication; the longer version explains away the earthquake as a terrorist attack!!! This is a must for anyone who wondered what Tom Willis (Franklin Cover) from “The Jeffersons” actually did before that show.
Isn’t It Shocking?
Originally aired: October 2, 1973 on ABC
Directed by John Badham
Starring: Alan Alda, Louise Lasser, Ruth Gordon
Quirky small town horror with a sense of humor blacker than tar, “Isn’t It Shocking?” is an engaging oddity about the murders of several elderly folks in the town Alan Alda is the sheriff of. The killer’s weapon of choice – a machine that generates heart attacks from its victims. Alda is superb and Louise Lasser is his perfect match. Bonus points for making the adorable Ruth Gordon not only truly loopy but the oldest Final Girl in the history of horror! A must see.
The story continues in part two of JEEPERS CREEPERS! TV FEATURES>>>