The 'Made For TV Movie' is largely an anachronism in the modern world of SVOD television. With blockbuster releases now coming to a living room near you soon, the days of daytime Channel 5 melodrama are thankfully behind us, leaving a landfill of terrible movies, mainly from the 1970s.
Finding some genuine scares amongst the cliched, wobbly walled sets and diabolical acting is still a painstaking job, so thankfully WhatCulture is here to sift through the rubbish so you don't have to.
MFTVMs are always dragged down by miserable budgets, so when you come across a true spine-chiller, you know it's down to old fashioned good writing and imagination. The 1970s, 80s and 90s saw a glut of productions, some ranging from the downright weird (Frankenfish) to the sublime (The Woman In Black) and many launched the careers of Hollywood royalty, such as Michael Douglas's aptly named but best forgotten When Michael Calls.
Here it's horror all the way and this list features ten of the scariest, weirdest, shocking and occasionally hilarious movies public service broadcast had to offer: Steven King's vampire classic Salem's Lot, rural witchcraft with horrific consequences, a very angry truck driver and the true first entry to the Conjuring universe...
10. Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973)
Not to be mistaken for the admirable but dull 2010 remake, the 1973 original was put together in under three weeks due to a looming writer's strike.
Does it show? Sure, but don't underestimate the impact of this film on a generation of filmmakers, many of whom, including Guillermo del Toro, have cited this movie as the one that gave them many sleepless nights. Despite the obvious budget constraints and continuity errors, this tale of a married couple who renovate an old family home, attempts some feminist subtext and even some Argento style lighting flourishes.
When bored housewife Sally begins to hear strange noises coming from inside the walls of her new home, she has the difficult job of convincing her douchebag husband to quit brown-nosing his boss and pay attention to the gremlins making her life a misery.
The creatures themselves have not aged well and look like the product of a sexual union between an Ewok and a walnut, but don't let that put your off - the whisperings and murderous intentions of the masticated cone-heads are genuinely creepy, especially when wielding razor blades and dragging a drugged Sally into the basement to become "one of us... "
The remake decided to throw a kid into the mix (because adults can't see anything supernatural?) which immediately dilutes the isolation of the adult Sally in the original. How many more times will beleaguered spouses have to convince their 'better' halves that I'M NOT MAD AND WE ARE GOING TO DIE. Cracking stuff.