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How great would it be if all made-for-TV movies were top-notch? Ponder it for a second. To catch an entertaining and invigorating film during its initial run, you have to plunk down upwards of fifteen bucks, and that’s not even including a flat soda ($5), a tub of high-calorie popcorn ($6-$7), and the gas money required to drive to and from the nearest theater. But with TV flicks, the only financial burden is the monthly cable bill, and that fee also includes all of the sitcoms, hour-long dramas, sporting games, and mindless reality shows that you consume on a daily basis.
It’s a damn shame, then, that most boob-tube films are of the lowest-common-denominator variety. Histrionic B-movies starring has-beens like Tori Spelling or box office pariahs such as Jennifer Love Hewitt, lazily directed and written with an emphasis on melodrama.
But like any medium stricken by inefficiencies, there are always the recommendable exceptions. For example, there’s the 1973 horror pic Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, which aired on NBC and still rivals many of the decade’s theatrically released in eeriness. This weekend, genre luminary Guillermo del Toro’s remake opens nationwide, and, sadly, it’s not quite as effective as ABC’s original movie.
Perhaps the best thing about the new Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark is the fact that del Toro’s collaboration with first-time director Troy Nixey has inspired many to seek out its fairly obscure instigator. With that revelatory spirit in mind, we’re here to shed light on other significant works of its type. Flip your middle fingers at buttery popcorn vendors as we count down the 15 Best TV Movies Of All Time.