Steven Spielberg's breakthrough was in The Night Gallery TV movie but he went back to another Rod Serling show, The Twilight Zone, to nab one of its writer's material, that of Richard (I Am Legend) Matheson for this blistering thriller. Duel was made for TV but was/is SO good that it was also released theatrically. Dennis Weaver vs. a truck from Hell creeper obviously influenced Stephen King's works too and birthed the subgenre of Highway Horror.
Another film that launched 1000 nightmares for kids in the '70's, Gargoyles' major assets are the horrifying title creatures, the work of a young Stan Winston. Jennifer Salt (Brian de Palma's Sisters) is excellent in the film too.
Dan Curtis produced, Richard Matheson-adapted horror detective thriller/vampire shocker was a critical and ratings hit and gave us Darren McGavin's crabby newspaper man/gumshoe Kolchak who is hot on the trail of a bloodsucker. When Curtis and Matheson (and composer) Bob Cobert worked together in the '70s it was almost always magical. This is one of their best efforts, spawning a sequel (The Night Strangler), a series and scads of comics and other media (including a short lived modern series with Stuart Townsend).
We wrote at length about this Southern Gothic mystery with David (The Fugitive) Janssen, so we'll defer to that article HERE. Not scary per se, but beautifully made and pulpy and entertaining as all get out with a great, grand cast!
Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson smashingly and relatively faithfully adapted Bram Stoker's novel for this, one of the best Dracula films ever made. Bob Cobert's score is lovely and Jack Palance is both tragic and terrifying as the bloodsucking Count.
Guillermo del Toro loved this terrifying movie so much, he remade it in 2011, sadly to diminishing returns. Nothing could ever top this nightmarish gem, widely considered one of the scariest movies of the decade, of the small or big screen. Kim Darby is excellent as a woman under siege by mini-monsters in her creepy house.
William F. Nolan (Logan's Run) teamed up with Dan Curtis for this Kolchak-esque pilot film for a propsed TV series. It was never picked up, sadly, but the film is wonder and is very much in line with the work of writer Fred Mustard Stewart, who wrote both this source book at the book that served as the source for the amazing Satantic thriller The Mephisto Waltz. Roy Thinnes is a paranormal investigator and Angie Dickensen is hotter than Hell and there are tons of shocking moments as well as the scariest non-Romero zombie of the '70s. And once more, that great Cobert score. Wonderful!
A major movie for any kid who lived through the '70s and '80s and saw it re-run dozens of times, Bad Ronald isn't really scary, but it is strange, skeezy and creepy. Scott Jacoby - so good in the Jodie Foster creeper The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane - is great in the role of a kid who secretly lives in the attic of a family's house. Tell me the makers of The Boy weren't influenced by this one...
Matheson, Nolan, Curtis, the warlords of '70s TV horror, returned for this immortal anthology, a showcase for actress Karen Black, who appears in all the tales. The first two stories are serviceable but Trilogy has found its cult due to the final story, based on Matheson's story Prey, about a woman fighting a possessed Zuni Fetish doll. Charles Band owes his empire to this segment!
Another Dan Curtis horror anthology, the first two stories in this trio of tales are middling at best, but the third segment...good Lord. It's terrifying. A precursor to Pet Sematary, Richard Matheson's "Bobby" - about a boy (Montgomery) brought back from the dead by his grieving mom - will ruin you for days. Do NOT watch it alone!
The gold standard of horror television movies as well as one of the most effective and scariest vampire movies ever, this massive 2-part miniseries adapted from the book by Stephen King, has never been bettered and it might be Tobe Hooper's best film. Later cut down to 2 hours for theatrical release overseas, your best bet is to watch the full, sprawling miniseries in all its 3.5 hour glory.
Obscure and underrated small-screen shocker directed by Horror Hotel and The Night Stalker's John Llewlen-Moxey stars a post-American Werewolf David Naughton and a pre-Child's Play Brad Dourif in this tale of a vampire hooker draining the streets of LA. Really dark, entertaining and serious noir with fangs and blood and a great performance by the always undervalued Naughton.