It was a modern means of keeping alive the old tradition of telling scary stories during the Christmas season. Although the series has been revived in recent years, the run spanning 1971- 1978 represents BBC’s original strand of supernatural tales, starring classic actors such as Denholm Elliott and the directing talents of Lawrence Gordon Clark and bringing to life the works (chiefly) of M.R. James and Charles Dickens. It’s BBC’s Ghost Stories for Christmas, just in time for the holidays. On this episode, we explore the 1977 offering, STIGMA, starring Kate Binchy, and we’re joined by special guest contributor, Anthony D.P. Mann of Bleak December.
Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to all. We pick up the theme of pilgrims and witchery with Crowhaven Farm (1970), an Aaron Spelling Production, starring Hope Lange and Paul Burke as a childless couple who look for a fresh start in an ancestral farm house. Look for the venerable Cyril Delevanti (The Twilight Zone, Thriller, Night Gallery) as the elder town historian who tells of Crowhaven Farm’s dark past, a legacy that calls to its new inhabitants.
We take the occasion of Charles Manson’s death to visit the docudrama, Helter Skelter, starring Steve Railsback. The murders that shocked a nation have reverberated for decades and so it is worth noting the death of the man who directed those senseless killings. This excellent telefilm was produced close in time to the actual events and tells the story without any sense of exploitation.
We take a look at the ill-fated Tales of the Unexpected from powerhouse producer, Quinn Martin. The feature-length Force of Evil (1977) stars Lloyd Bridges as a man who must protect his family from the vengeful ex-convict who is stalking them.
When David Banner gets an overdose of gamma radiation, it awakens an inner-monster who is triggered by rage, transforming the doctor into The Incredible Hulk. We take a look a the 1978 pilot telefilm by Kenneth Johnson, starring Bill Bixby and Susan Sullivan.
DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW ranks as a high watermark for the horror genre, not just in television, but in any medium. Directed by Frank DeFelitta (Audrey Rose, The Entity) from the script by J.D. Feigelson and starring Larry Drake and Charles Durning, it’s a terrifying exercise in otherworldly justice.
Squeezing in a bonus show for October: HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL (1957-1963) was grounded in the real world of the Old West, but in the episode, EVERYMAN, Paladin draws the Tarot Death Card and experiences a brush with the supernatural. Richard Boone stars.
They’re the most glamorous amateur sleuths going. We gather with the Harts in an old, dark house in search of hidden treasure….and murder. Hart to Hart was an extremely entertaining murder mystery show that ran for five seasons, beginning in 1979, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers.
Hitch your wagon to episode 34 for a journey back to this nightmare on the prairie. This is one hardcore episode of Little House you won’t want to miss this Halloween.
TV TERROR takes a lighter look at the spy genre with television’s favorite screw-up secret agent. Max and 99 go to London to investigate Jack the Ripper and a fiendish wax museum in this two-part episode, House of Max (1970).