Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Horror at 37,000 Feet Day! Here are Ten of my Favorite OMG TV Movie Moments! (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Yes, the day has finally arrived! You can pick up your copy of Horror at 37,000 Feet on DVD here! And, since I dubbed the whole event an official Made for TV Mayhem Holiday, I thought I’d celebrate with some of my favorite OMG TV Movie Moments!

Horror is one of the first scary movies I was able to watch, and through the years, after a lot of these wonderful TV movies stopped re-airing, I never forgot Horror's freaky deaky ending. It wasn’t just jaw dropping in its unexpectedness, it…. Well, I don’t want to ruin the end, but it made me think about the impact, if you will, of that landing!

TV movies are cool that way.

They might not be able to get all gory and sexy, but they often pushed the envelope while playing within the rules. As a kid who didn’t have access to the big screen scares, I found my love of genre films in my very own living room, and Horror was one of the first to indoctrinate me into the wonderful world of the unknown. I salute you, Mr. 37,000 Feet!

Here's  my list (Reader Beware: there are definitely a few spoilers):

 How Awful about Allan (ABC, 9/22/1970) - Blind Guy Drives a Car:

Why is a blind guy driving? I dunno, but he sucks at it.

A Taste of Evil (ABC, 10/12/1971)
Home for the Holidays (ABC, 11/28/1972)
No Place to Hide (CBS, 3/4/1981)
The Ending(s):

Three different films with one director and one distinct ending. If you’ve seen any of these, you know how the others play out. But don’t be fooled, despite the signature #MoxeyTwist, all three films are excellent and stand on their own two creepy feet! Of the three, I have probably watched No Place to Hide the most, but that might come from my girl crush for the adorable Kathleen Beller. Two of the films (Taste and Hide) were written by the great Jimmy Sangster, while Joseph Stefano (yes, the screenwriter of Psycho) lends his impressive skills to Holidays. If you want to see how director John Llewellyn Moxey uses other similar elements in Taste and the ultra-awesome The Strange and Deadly Occurrence, you can read my comparison/contrast review here.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (ABC, 10/10/73) - The Ending: 
There are plenty of hair raising moments in Dark, but it’s the gut-punch of a downbeat ending that made this movie one of the most traumatic of my childhood. Poor Sally. (Check out my week long tribute to Dark here)

Legend of Lizzie Borden - The Murders (ABC, 2/10/1975):

Lizzie Borden took an axe 
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one. 

Need I say more?

Trilogy of Terror (ABC, 3/4/1975) - The Ending:

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I remember one bright and lovely Saturday afternoon when I came in the house for lunch. My parents’ eyes were transfixed on the television screen. From the doorway, I could only see their expressions and had no idea what they were watching. I slowly walked over to our living room table and turned towards the television. What I saw was beyond words. All I knew was that some tiny little creature was chasing a woman around her apartment. Instant fear! I was not prepared for the ending, which featured a very primitive looking Karen Black exposing a grotesque maw full of sharp, rotting teeth. Egads. The stuff of nightmares.

 Night Terror (NBC, 2/7/1977) - Cop Shot By Creepy Man in Front of Helpless Housewife:

Taking a long road trip, Valerie Harper runs into all kinds of freaky trouble when she accidentally witnesses Richard Romanus killing a police officer. This triggers (no pun intended) a taut chase across the desolate desert. A bone chilling start to a great TVM!

A Vacation in Hell (ABC, 5/21/1979) - Love Interest Goes Down The Tubes, err, A Waterfall:  

A Vacation in Hell is one whacky movie. I love it for so many reasons, one being that it throws you for a loop every so often. If it isn’t Maureen McCormick dancing provocatively for a Vaseline smeared camera lens, then it’s a twist or turn you weren’t expecting. Losing hopeless but adorable Michael Brandon part way through the film was a shocker! And I love the film for going there (and there and there too. Seriously, this film is insane).

The Possessed (NBC, 5/1/1977) - Diana Scarwid is Flammable:

Underneath the ivy and school girl uniforms, The Possessed is really all about sexual repression. So, it doesn’t seem all that strange that a young student finds herself engulfed in the fires of suppressed passion (literally). It’s all the more sexual and telling that only a young Harrison Ford can extinguish her flames!

Amityville: The Evil Escapes (NBC, 5/12/1989) - Garbage-Disposal-Fu:

OK, OK, OK. Amityville: The Evil Escapes isn’t exactly the scariest movie ever made. In fact, most of the time it is pretty darn silly. But if you will allow me to go back to 1989, when I was a teenager and this was a new horror movie. I’m sure you can image that my excitement clouded any and all problems with the film. And if nothing else, Amityville keeps with the theme of 80s excessiveness in its gleeful over the top moments. Case in point, when the high school jock comes to help the family with their garbage disposal problem, he learns the hard way that good guys don't win. I did not see Amityville again until 2013, and was not surprised that I remembered every single moment of this scene. It still makes me shriek! I hope this kid has another career goal, because I think the football team is just about to drop him!

High Desert Kill (USA, 5/1/1989) - This: 

My list went well over ten, and I'm sure I'd be happy to swap some titles with others on any given day. Honorable mentions go to:
The Norliss Tapes (NBC, 2/21/1973): Frankenstein/Hulk creature rips off a car door!
Scream, Pretty Peggy (ABC, 11/24/1973): The killer's reveal!
Satan's Triangle (ABC, 1/14/1975): The ending! 
Dead of Night (NBC, 3/29/1977): Bobby!
This House Possessed (ABC, 2/6/1981): Blood shower, anyone?
Don't Go to Sleep (ABC,12/10/1982): The ending!
Nightmare at Bitter Creek (CBS, 5/24/1988): Joanna Cassidy gets her vengeful groove-on! 
... and so many more!

What are some of your favorite small screen OMG moments?


Wings1295 said...

Wow - Great list! Not good recalling events on the spur of the moment, though. Some I think of right now:

Lesley Webber's death on "General Hospital". The character was fine one episode and then dead the next. Shocked the hell out of me. Of course, 12 years later they found her alive. LOL

Micki being killed mid-way through an episode of "Friday the 13th: The Series". Granted, she was back by the end, but wow that freaked me out.

I think I was shocked by Micki's death because of Tasha Yar's death in the last half of the first season of "Star Trek: The Next Generation". She was a cast member, she couldn't be dead, right? Blew me away!

I know, not horror movies, but like I said, not good on the spot.

Anonymous said...

Great article! Off the top of my head, I'd have to go with the moment in The House on Greenapple Road when Janet Leigh's true fate is revealed. A shocking moment in a shocking movie...I can imagine the impact this scandalous movie had on viewers when it was new!

memoryman said...

Ok, I Remember seeing 37,000 when it first came on. I was 9, so yeah, it freaked me out for years. When someone talks about how goofy it was, I don't think they remember being 9. Since it was before home video, only my memory stored: The freaky chanting and that high-pitched sound as the whatever spread: Turning the Prof. into a Popsicle: The terror on the face of The Rifleman and Kirk when they saw it: The doll and pilot's jacket looking like they were turning into the devil's bile. If I saw it for the first time today, it would be a laugh riot. I love to watch the gory stuff, movies that make this look so tame. But when I watch this, I'm 9 again. And mom always kept the house too damn cold...

Craftypants Carol said...

The part that got me big time in This House Possessed when i was a kid was the old lady being boiled alive in the swimming pool. The shots of her face from under the water scared the crap out of me!

Also - I know it's not a made for TV movie - but it might as well be - the very ending of Burnt Offerings. Holy crap Karen Black's face scared me so freaking bad.

Great post!

Unknown said...

Great, fun list. The Possessed is one of my favorite horror films, made for TV or not!

And yes, the end of Satan's Triangle is great, great, great.

Though it's a miniseries and not a MFTV movie, the original V is about as good as it gets.