At the suggestion of an old co-worker (you know who you are) I watched “The Norliss Tapes” this evening. And having now watched it I can say, without a doubt, that it has one of THE most unfulfilling endings of any film I’ve ever seen! I get that it was produced as a pilot for a series that didn’t get picked up. But come on! Give us some closure, just in case it doesn’t impress the Big Guys in NY. I mean, I thought I’d dozed off and I rewound the stream(?) a bit just to make sure I hadn’t missed something important. Nope, it just sorta tries its best to go to the next episode…that of course never was made. UGH!
Since it was a made-for-TV movie I went in with somewhat lowered expectations, but this was made during the golden age of made-for-tv movies and I have to say it was actually pretty good (until that ending, or lack of ending). And it does have some eerie/freaky elements, and even a few scary bits. And if I’m being honest the ghoul/zombie/vampire/whatever is really, really good (we’re talking “Dawn of the Dead” type good, and I especially liked the creative ways he enters rooms throughout the film). And of course I could watch Ms Angie Dickenson all day long…
And then we have Claude Akins playing, yep, the sheriff. While it may seem to us now that Mr Akins was born to play the sheriff role (this was [just] before his “BJ and the Bear” and “Sheriff Lobo” stints), for my money the best Claude Akins made-for-tv movie role was as the tour guide in the sequel, “If It’s Tuesday It Still Must Be Belgium”.
And with that I counter-challenge the originator of this evenings viewing, said “old co-worker”, to find and watch IITISMBB in return for suggesting I watch “The Norliss Tapes”. But that may be a bit too unfair, because while IITISMBB does have an actual ending, unlike “The Norliss Tapes” as I may have mentioned, the hour plus leading up to its end is anything but good (of course it has been almost 30 years to the day that I saw it [Sept 21, 1987], so maybe its actually better than I remember…).