Off Topic Messages

R.I.P. Dan Curtis

Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:59 am

This is few weeks old but I thought it should be noted. I read in a recent "Entertainment Weekly" that Dan Curtis passed away at the age of 78 a few weeks ago. Curtis created the "Dark Shadows" soap opera which was the first soap opera to incorporate supernatural themes. Curtis' greatest achievement was in revolutionizing television's approach to horror and the TV movie. His "The Night Stalker" was not a disease of the week TV weep fest, it was a horror movie of almost cinematic sweep with location shooting and violence that tested the limits of censorship. It was also the best horror comedy since "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein". It was the highest rated TV movie ever and it opened television movies up to the horror genre. Even more it upped the stakes for TV movies. That a movie could succeed at this level inspired everyone to up their game. The movie, starring the recently deceased Darrin McGavin, went on to inspire the influential Kolchak series that functioned as an important building block for the "X-Files".

Curtis went on to produce or direct (usually in collaboration with the great writer Richard Matheson) literate updates of Dracula and Frankenstein. His greatest achievement though may have been 1975's "Trilogy of Terror" a horror anthology starring Karen Black. The final third called "Prey" that featured a crazed zuni doll bent on killing Black gave us 20 of the most intense moments in television history.

Goodbye to a pioneer.

Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:17 pm

This is sad news. I didn't know Dan Curtis had passed away. He had a unique flair and style for horror films. I watched yet again my dvd of the original Night Stalker film a few weeks ago and it really holds up quite well. There's also an interesting extra with Dan Curtis talking about making the film, and how you just can't make tv films like that anymore. Curtis said that back in those days he could go in to the head of the network and pitch the idea 1 to 1. Curtis went on to say rather disgustedly that nowadays you have to meet with a group of 9 or so executives, and that they won't like the idea if it isn't an 'event' or about something 'important' or have stars in the cast. I believe he said that he made Night Stalker for $150,000 in 3 weeks!
RIP Dan Curtis.

Re: R.I.P. Dan Curtis

Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:25 am

likethebike wrote:His greatest achievement though may have been 1975's "Trilogy of Terror" a horror anthology starring Karen Black. The final third called "Prey" that featured a crazed zuni doll bent on killing Black gave us 20 of the most intense moments in television history.

Goodbye to a pioneer.

That damn doll scared the HELL out of me when I was a kid!!!

Re: R.I.P. Dan Curtis

Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:38 am

Trevell wrote:That damn doll scared the HELL out of me when I was a kid!!!


Was that the one where the 'spirit' of the doll goes into her at the end ?

Yeah, scary !

Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:32 am

Yep. I'm pretty sure that's what happens at the end. Incidently, I just found out you can get a replica of the doll. Maybe I should buy one as a way to conquer my childhood fears.
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