THE NORLISS TAPES (1973) Reviews and overview

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The Norliss Tapes is a 1973 American made-for-television horror film produced and directed by Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows; The Night Stalker) based on a screenplay by William F. Nolan (Trilogy of Terror; The Turn of the ScrewBurnt Offerings) and a story by Fred Mustard Stewart.

The strident score was composed by Robert Cobert.


The film stars Roy Thinnes (Black Noon; Satan’s School for GirlsThe Horror at 37,000 Feet), Don Porter (She-Wolf of London), Angie Dickinson (Pretty Maids All in a RowDressed to Kill), Claude Akins (Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo; Monster in the Closet; The Curse), Michele Carey, Vonetta McGee (Blacula), Hurd Hatfield, Bryan O’Byrne, Robert Mandan, Ed Gilbert, Jane Dulo.



A newspaper publisher listens to the audiotapes of investigative reporter David Norliss, who has disappeared during an investigation. The tapes reveal the details of that investigation, involving a recent widow whose late husband, an artist obsessed with the occult, has been seen working in his private studio…

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” … it is a great shame this was never picked up as a series. Whilst its premise was very similar to Kolchak it was darker and the central characters were very different, Kolchak dogged yet mischievous, Norliss dour and, certainly just before he vanished, terrified. I’d recommend fans of horror generally to give this one a watch – Sargoth, might have looked like a Hulk reject at the end but, overall, this was a class piece of TV cinema.” Taliesen Meets the Vampires

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“But the good stuff just isn’t enough to turn The Norliss Tapes into a classic. NBC, apparently realizing the movie didn’t quite add up to the sum of its parts, passed on the opportunity to pick up the pilot for a full series. Even so, there’s a possibility The Norliss Tapes might have enjoyed a better reputation over the years…” Braineater


“It’s laughably quaint like a lot of these 70s TV horrors are. The Norliss Tapes is a fun enough example; propelled by Thinnes’s Dragnet-style voice-over, it stays busy enough but doesn’t leave much of an impression.” Oh, the Horror!


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