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fright nights

I have no idea what I started searching for when I ended up in a roundabout way on this blog, which led me to an mp3 of Barnabas's theme music from Dark Shadows. Download and listen. Spooky! Creepy!

There's so much I miss about the old days of television, Dark Shadows foremost among them. A gothic soap opera about vampires shown in the afternoon on broadcast television? You certainly wouldn't see that today. Sure, today's tv gives us Charmed and Buffy and all kinds of sci-fi and otherwordly action, but it's all suffused with humor or irony or pop culture cliches that it never scares. I want television that scares me or at least makes me shiver.

Back in the day (in the stone age), it wasn't hard to find a good fright on the tube. We (in NY at least had the ABC 4:30 ,movie and very often they showed classic horror movies, most of the Vincent Price variety. Pit and the Pendulum. The Fly. Fall of the House of Usher. Masque of the Red Death. House of Wax.

Sometimes they would Japanese Monster week and I'd get to see my old friend Mothra. And a whole variety of monsters and creeps made their showing on the 4:30 movies: The Blob, Killer Bees, Food of the Gods, Terror of Mechagodzilla, Empire of the Ants, Creeping Flesh, Destroy All Planets and my favorite, Crowhaven Farm. It was a veritable feast of horror and sci fi and things that made your skin crawl.

And then there was Chiller Theater.

Chiller Theater aired from 1973-1982 on WPIX on Saturday nights. It showed mostly campy B movies like I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, The Tingler and Burn, Witch, Burn! as well as the usual plethora of scary/sci fi camp with cheesy names like Panic in Year Zero! or Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, The Brain That Wouldn't Die! and The Navy v. The Night Monsters.

The best part of Chiller Theater was the opening:

Channel 11 on Saturday night: a drawing of a swamp with a dead tree in the background plus eerie moaning sounds. Suddenly, a huge claymation hand with six fingers appears while the words "CHILLER" magically grow in clay out of the animated swamp. The six-fingered creature then swallows the letters and when its appetite is satisfied, it lets out a deep and roaring...."CHILLLLLLLERRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!"

They just don't do tv like that anymore. They don't even make movies like those anymore. What was the last good movie monster or boogyman? Where' s today's scream queens? Everything is overprocessed, slick and too clever for its own good. I need a good B movie marathon.

So let's do that for this year's Hallloween movie suggestion survey. I've just decided that the theme for our 2005 Halloween party is going to be Back in the Day aka B Movies and Campy Horror or whatever clever name you can give it. I'm going to dig up ever scream fest film from my past I can find and make my own Chiller Theater. I hope they are as chilling as I remember them to be. I want to be scared, damn it, and your newfangled horror movies are JUST NOT DOING IT FOR ME!

There's a plethora (sorry, Iove that word) of classic horror movie reviews over at this blog. Let's hear your favorite old school horror titles (and I mean before 1980, preferably much older than that). I want mummies and gothic horror, vampires and sinister villians, the occult and towns where strange things happen behind closed doors, unbelievable monsters and women screaming in peril and insects larger than houses and titles exlamations points!!! Screaming! Terror! Chills and Thrills! You get the picture...

Comments

I grew up in Bayside/Flushing and always remember the afternoon movies being on PIX...Monster Week and Horror Week, etc. The reason I remember this is that I remember watching a Godzilla movie then during the breaks they would call a PIX Kid and you would play an Intellivision Game on the air, either Football of Space Commander. When you wanted to fire at a shit or make a pass you would shout PIX into the phone and some technician would hit the button...

Hey, anybody hear who won the Yankees game?

and then after crying "Chiller!" that strangled howl/moan as the hand descended into the swamp....

Oh, yes, those were the TV days!

(Note to INDCent Bill:It wasn't the O's or the Nats, you Beltway dumbass.)

Hey, don't go dissing "The Tingler"! Once in the early 70's the local TV station showed that movie instead of the Bullets game; the next day, none of the male 6th grade population of Longfield Elem. School had slept because that movie scared the pants offa us!

In Washington, we had channel 20 and Count Gore DeVol's Creature Feature. Fun, fun stuff.

Note to TC: Folks inside the Beltway don't give one of my rat's asses about the O's, you outside the beltway goober. And because everyone hates Peter Angelos, not too many Baltimorons give a sewer rat's ass about the O's, either.

Oh how I loved Dark Shadows. I had to watch it every afternoon after school while the Red-Headed-She-Devil babysat. We also had Sammy Terry on the late night.

Man, I miss those days.

I remember when I was young my mother would have to scare away Barnabas Collins - who for some reason took up residence in my closet every evening - before I could go to sleep.

DARK FUCKING SHADOWS!!!

Remember Night Gallery? Slightly different genre, but loved it during the elementary school daze, too.

Victor? I was all set to back you up vis-a-vis "The Tingler" and you had to go make me get this "screw this living-off-the -guv'mint tit SEC whose Caps will never, ever get the best of Marty Brodeur who BTW I was NOT talking to" vibe about you.

Dolt.

Here in Indy when I was a kid you watched Sammy Terry for your B movie horror flicks. His trademark laugh still gives me chills. http://www.sammyterry.com/

I've been baiting INDC Bill for awhile. I couldn't care one of your rats's asses what you crabcake eating Chesepeake cheesesteaks think about sports.... You got no stored up cred since Unitas got busted for Earl Morral.

Get a room, guys. Take your baseball talk to a baseball post. Yer pissin me off.

Note: Between "Brodeur" and "who" I want you all to believe that the the following appears:
"
(that's a close of the qoute)
and then and who

Got it. Over and out.

Today is a happy day, a joyous day.
Today is the day that Mad Monster Party is finally released on DVD.

  • does happy dance *

Saturday nights were always Elvira nights. God, I miss them -- her.

"The Devil Rides Out" Hammer at it's best.
When the "Horned God" appears it scared the bleedin crap out of me. As did a fair bit of the movie actually.

Wow, great to get attention for a blog I've admired for a long time.

The old Night Stalker was a personal favorite of mine. I've not looked at the new one yet.

In my little corner of southeast Iowa, we had Chuck Acre's Creature Feature on Friday nights. Chuck (an aluminum siding salesman) hosted the show with a talking skull named Bernie. Each week kids would send in drawings of their favorite monsters and the winner would be declared "Creep of the Week." I never won, but I submitted regularly.

I often wonder if there is enough babyboomer nostalgia now to make "creature features" feasible again.

Just me and kev for Movie Macabre, huh? Um... west side? w00t? no?

Pigs was the one that creeped me out, believe it or not.

I miss WPIX 11 every day i turn the TV on. the movie selection was spectacular, i was gurenteed at least one classic movie every other day and they had an obvious soft spot for for mel brooks. TF what

Elvira was the BEST!

Is she still working?

When you mentioned Chiller Theater, being from Pittsburgh, I naturally thought of WIIC channel 11's "Chilly" Billy Cardille who had a cameo in Night of the Living Dead and was the inspiration for Joe Flaherty's "Monster Chiller Horror Theater" on SCTV. Ahhhh the memories...

Wow, thanks for dredging up the memory. That channel 11 show had a small, yet formative, place in my childhood.

I remember...Dracula's Dog. Poor little bitch bites it by jumping off a cliff and landing on a spiky iron fence. Always wondered how the iron fence killed the dog...why not a wooden fence?

The eternal mysteries.

I'll be damned (Cursed! Cuuurrrrrsed!)...No listing for Dracula's Dog. Where the heck did I see that then?

Hi, I would like WPIX channel 11 New York to bring back the Chiller Theater intro and late night Saturday horror movies. Would any of you be interested in a petition so I have some leverage with WPIX?