Welcome to another edition of PSYCHOTRONIC NETFLIX! This week we’re going to look at ten flicks made for the small screen, so keep the expectations for massive sex and violence low, but these traits are more than made up for by great guest stars and high melodrama! For more, go to the great Made for TV Mayhem blog, concentrating on the golden age of the TV movie!

10. Million Dollar Rip Off (1976)

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In his only starring role in a feature film, Freddie Prinze stars as ex-con electronics genius who, assisted by some lady friends, makes plans to rob the Chicago Transit Authority for… er, judging from the title, a million dollars. With Allen Garfield and future “Growing Pains” mom Joanna Kerns.

9. Melvin Purvis, G-Man (1974)

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Character vet Harris Yulin stars as “Machine Gun” Kelly, who’s being hunted by Dale Robertson in the title role in a rare non-horror flick from Dan Curtis. Dick Sargent co-stars in this entertaining mobster pic.

8. Disaster on the Coastliner (1979)

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Richard Sarafian (VANISHING POINT) directed this disaster flick about the impending crash of two passenger trains thanks to a vengeful employee (Paul L. Smith) with an all-star cast: Lloyd Bridges! Raymond Burr! Pat Hingle! E.G. Marshall! Yvette Mimieux! Lane Smith! And Shatner!

7. The Spell (1977)

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CARRIE comes to TV in this fun Lee Philips-directed time-passer about a teenage girl who takes revenge on her bullies with the help of her supernatural powers starring Lee Grant, Helen Hunt, James Olson and Doney Oatman. Written by TV movie specialist Brian Taggert (TRUCKS, OMEN IV, THE COVER GIRL MURDERS).

6. Cry for the Strangers (1982)

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A psychiatrist and his wife move to a small coastal town and encounter strange storms and unfriendly locals — can an Indian curse be involved? Probably! Peter Medak (THE CHANGELING, LET HIM HAVE IT) directed this thriller with Patrick Duffy, Cindy Pickett, Brian Keith, Martin Kove and Jeff Corey.

5. Hustling (1975)

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Sure, it’s got a fine pedigree of being based on Gail Sheehy’s book and direction by Joseph Sargent, but it’s still about a reporter that investigates the world of prostitution, so it’s just dressed-up exploitation. And fine, entertaining exploitation it is! Lee Remick stars, with Monte Markham, Jill Clayburgh, Alex Rocco, Burt Young, Paul Benedict and Howard Hesseman.

4. Crash Course (1988)

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A TV-movie rip-off of MOVING VIOLATIONS with an all-’80s sitcom cast? Sure, why the hell not? Alyssa Milano! Jackée! Dick Butkus! Tina Yothers! Harvey Korman! “Mr. Belvedere”‘s Rob Stone! Olivia d’Abo! Edie McClurg! Ray Walston! “Night Court” and THE BLACK GESTAPO’s Charles Robinson! Contains no educational content whatsoever.


3. Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean (1990)

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If you don’t like Suzanne Pleshette, get out of my face. She’s perfectly cast as insanely wealthy bitch queen Leona Helmsley in this soapy biopic, with Lloyd Bridges as her suffering husband.


2. Someone I Touched (1975)

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Cloris Leachman encounters the horrific world of venereal disease when her cheating husband (James Olson) comes home with syphilis. And WHAT ABOUT THE BABY?!? Glynnis O’Connor, Andrew Robinson and Kenneth Mars co-star.

1. The Children of Times Square (1986)

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Before he became all famous with THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, Curtis Hanson helmed this story of a teenage boy who runs away from home and finds himself in the sleazy world of 42nd Street in New York City back before Disney ruined everything. Howard E. Rollins Jr., Joanna Cassidy, David Ackroyd, Larry B. Scott, Jason Bernard and Danny Nucci co-star in essentially a tv-movie version of a ’80s grindhouse flick.

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