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Friday, November 17, 2017

The Norliss Tapes (1973)

An investigative writer (Roy Thinnes) doing a book on the occult goes missing after leaving a cryptic message with his publisher (Don Porter). The publisher finds a series of tapes by the writer describing the events leading up to his disappearance. Directed by Dan Curtis (THE NIGHT STALKER) and based on a story by Fred Mustard Stewart (THE MEPHISTO WALTZ). This minor horror film intended as a pilot for a TV series (it never sold) was released as a stand alone telefilm. It's a decent effort with a cult following and it's fun but in spite of some atmospheric locations like San Francisco, Carmel, Big Sur along with a surfeit of rain, there's no genuine sense of dread. The voice over narration by Thinnes gives the film a sense of film noir which is effective but the cheesy underscore by Robert Cobert (THE WINDS OF WAR) undermines whatever tension the film may have had. With Angie Dickinson as a recent widow who starts the plot in motion. Also with Hurd Hatfield, Claude Akins, Michele Carey, Vonetta McGee and Robert Mandan.

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