TRILOGY was the brainchild of TV writer-producer-director Dan Curtis, who saw success right out of the gate when his horror-theme soap opera DARK SHADOWS debuted on ABC in 1966. That show had an amazing five year run (1966-1971) and produced two theatrical films – HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS (1970) and NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS (1971). Knowing horror product was viable on the small screen Curtis started pumping out more horror-themed productions between 1972 and 1974 via his Dan Curtis Productions. This gave us two Kolchak movies (THE NIGHT STALKER  and THE NIGHT STRANGLER ), BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1974), and SCREAM OF THE WOLF (1974). These productions are particularly important as they marked the first collaborations between Curtis and screenwriter-author Richard Matheson.
February 1974 – Dan Curtis Productions announced two new features for TV: the crime-thriller A BREAK IN THE ICE and the horror series THE NIGHT KILLERS; Curtis also files an antitrust lawsuit against ABC and Worldvision regarding DARK SHADOWS.
April 9, 1974 – MELVIN PURVIS G-MAN debuts on ABC.
May 1974 – A BREAK IN THE ICE announces Lee J. Cobb in the lead role; KOLCHAK TV series gets greenlighted but without Curtis’ involvement.
June 1974 – A BREAK IN THE ICE films.
November 6, 1974 – A BREAK IN THE ICE debuts on ABC with the new title THE GREAT ICE RIP-OFF.
November 21, 1974 – Curtis begins prepping a new film from a script by THE NIGHT KILLERS writers, Richard Matheson and William F. Nolan. The title? TRILOGY OF TERROR.
December 3, 1974 – Variety announces that Karen Black has signed on to play several roles in the newly anointed TRILOGY OF TERROR.
December 1974/January 1975 – TRILOGY OF TERROR films at 20th Century Fox studios.
March 4, 1975 – TRILOGY OF TERROR debuts as ABC’s Tuesday Movie of the Week in an 8:30-10 pm timeslot. Curtis has little chance to celebrate as he is already off filming a PURVIS sequel, THE KANAS CITY MASSACRE (1975).
A look at TRILOGY OF TERROR's competition:
To showcase the anthology’s popularity, when ABC decided to try to beef up their poor Wednesday night ratings with “Movie of the Week” showcases, Variety reported that they kicked off the effort on September 10, 1975 with a re-airing of TRILOGY OF TERROR. Spend a few minutes on Google and you’ll find plenty of “I remember when that debuted…” and “the most terrifying thing of my childhood” posts. I was just four months old in March 1975, so I wasn’t around watching to have my synapses singed at that time. I eventually caught TRILOGY on VHS in the early 1980s and I’ll be damned if it didn’t scare the hell out of me. The razor-sharp teeth on that doll (in conjunction with the snapping dolls from BARBARELLA ) definitely had me steering clear of my sister’s collection with great fear.
TV Guide article on TRILOGY OF TERROR
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