The Thursday Horror Picture Show turns its sights on a double bill of horror from television with John Newland’s Pigeons from Hell (1961) and John Llewellyn Moxey’s The Night Stalker (1972)—a couple of films that prove the small screen actually can produce good horror movies. Pigeons from Hell—adapted from the Robert E. Howard short story—was part of the Boris Karloff-hosted series Thriller (“I assure you, my friends, it’s a thriller!”). It’s an extremely creepy, atmospheric little film about what befalls two brothers who explore an old plantation in the Southern swamplands. It also holds the special place of being the show that sent my 6-year-old self scurrying to the safety of my bedroom after no more than a few minutes. The Night Stalker had no such impact on me, but it certainly had an impact on pop-horror culture, spawning a sequel film, a TV series (Kolchak: The Night Stalker), and serving as part of the inspiration for The X Files. Well, this fairly straightforward, but very effective, vampire yarn started it all. The key was partly in the casting of Darren McGavin, but its modern-day reworking of the classic vampire story in a Las Vegas setting was solid enough in itself.
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