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...