The Norliss Tapes (TV-movie)

July 17, 2012

Well, as some horror buffs already figured out, I got the name for my plunderphonics/instrumental project The Norliss Tapes from Dan Curtis‘s failed 1973 tv-pilot. Now Dan is somewhat legendary producer among us nerds as he was the creator of cult classic tv-horror Kolchak The Night Stalker (starring Darren McGavin) that spawned the tv-series Kolchak The Night Strangler. To be honest I actually wanted to use that instead (because between those two it’s my favorite), but it struck me early on that if you’ve got a band with that name people most likely will think it’s a black metal outfit or something.

Anyway, bringing to mind what Chris Carter later created with his X-Files (and he’s admitted in interviews that he got the main concept from Kolchak), the movie stars Roy Thinnes as author David Norliss that mysteriously disappears after working on a new book project where he set out to de-mystify paranormal activities and pretty much prove they’re all fraudulent. His publisher arrives at his house after receiving an odd phonecall from the author and finds a big stack of tapes marked The Norliss Tapes. He pops the first one in his tape recorder (google it kids!) and listens to a story that involves Angie Dickinson‘s deceased husband coming back to life. A brilliant concept I’m still kinda amazed it didn’t take off but I guess time just wasn’t right.

Available on DVD (the Kolchak series are also available in a beautiful box that collects all twenty episodes!) I actually found the complete episode on YouTube, check it out:


One comment

  1. […] Anyway, a predecessor to Chris Carter‘s The X-Files if there ever was one, the debut made-for-tv horror movie Kolchak: The Night Stalker starred Darren McGavin as the tenacious reporter Carl Kolchak who’s convinced that a series of connected murders in Las Vegas are not the work of a serial killer but a modern-day vampire. Originally aired in 1972 the movie was a major hit (it aired in 1 out of 3 American homes) and spawned not only the follow-up movie Kolchak: The Night Strangler but also the ABC tv series that ran one season before folding. Producer Dan Curtis went on to The Norliss Tapes that oddly enough bombed and wasn’t picked up for a series – roughly 20 years later that same concept made Carter a rich man. Read more about that here. […]

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