Halloween horror on TV

James / October 29th, 2015

When it comes to Halloween, watching horror films is a big tradition. Usually I stick to DVD’s, but there is a more festive appeal to watching them on TV, especially live TV, because you’re watching it at the same exact time as other people. Though you’ll never meet, you feel like you’re part of a larger community.

Each year, with time permitting, I usually scan the TV listings very briefly. Here’s what my quick search has turned up.

1) TCM (Turner Classic Movies) – Always the best. Today they’ve been playing some William Castle films, and Roger Corman, including some films that I’m covering on Monster Madness this year. Tomorrow, There’s a Hammer marathon, including The Mummy (1959) and some of the Hammer Dracula/Frankenstein sequels. Tomorrow night, looks like a Val Lewton marathon. Then on Halloween, it’s a mixed bag of stuff, including Doctor X, White Zombie, House of Wax, Mark of the Vampire and others. Some are great classics, other are minor. What’s great about TCM is that they are COMMERCIAL FREE, and in HD, the classics look better than ever. My only wish is that they would play some of the Universal Monster classics, and that they would have longer marathons. Their marathons sometimes take breaks to play other genre films. If it were up to me, it would be straight up horror all week, or fuck it. All month.

2) AMC – Fear Fest. Originally “American Movie Classics.” Classics no more. The one thing I like about this marathon is that they start it up weeks in advance. It’s the longest running annual Halloween TV marathon that I know of. The problem is that most of the movies are slashers, and are “slashed” by TV censorship, not to mention, tons of commercials. Watching these movies get butchered like this, makes me want to put in the DVD’s instead, as much as I want to get into the Halloween TV watching spirit. The marathon has already been going on. They already played what looks like most the Halloween franchise, and they’re replaying it in loop for the next 3 days. I know it’s Halloween, but that’s a lot of Halloween!

3) METV – Svengoolie! Not a marathon, but every Saturday night, horror host Svengoolie has been showing both classics and stinkers. Last Saturday, he hosted the original Dracula (1931). Wow! First time I’ve EVER seen that played on TV. And this Saturday (Halloween), he’s playing Frankenstein (1931). I’m impressed. It’s rare to see a horror host on TV nowadays, and it’s also rare to see the Universal classics which are so important to what Halloween is.

4) STARZ – Ash Vs. Evil Dead. This one trumps all. On Halloween, Bruce Campbell returns to his iconic role, and with Sam Raimi directing the first episode, count me in.

Anyone know some more good Halloween stuff on TV?


  • October 29, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Great to bad i live on Mexico but here they are going to be showing Halloween part 2 and 3 on a channel called GoldenChannel Texas chainsaw massacre on TCM,

  • October 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Stars is spelled with a Z, like this, “Starz.”

  • October 29, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    FXX is airing every Treehouse of Horror Simpsons episode on Halloween so I’ll probably keep my TV tuned to that leading up to Ash vs. Evil Dead.

  • Allen Lucas

    October 29, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for the TCM reminder!

  • bud

    October 29, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    I guess you could add AMC for The Walking Dead and FX for American Horror Story. But you’re right, STARZ trumps them all. Shame on every other network/studio for passing on Ash vs. Evil Dead, this one was a fucking no-brainer.

  • October 29, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    um let’s see um yea
    True Blood
    Buffy series
    Angel series
    American Horror story
    Walking dead

  • ToadRoad

    October 29, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    It may have already passed, but The Great Pumpkin is another annual. Not so much horror, but a definite entertainment staple of the holiday.

  • E L

    October 29, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    El Rey Network is showing a Puppet Master marathon on Halloween. James, you should check out that network, they showed a Godzilla marathon last Christmas.

    • October 30, 2015 at 12:25 am

      El Rey Network is only available on a select number of networks. Who knows if he has it. I’ve got it on Dish (Yes, That’s the name of the provider.)

      • ToadRoad

        October 30, 2015 at 12:43 am

        El Rey is very select, which is a pity. The director interviews that Robert Rodriguez does are great.

      • Midnite Marauder

        October 31, 2015 at 12:09 am

        El Rey can also be streamed via Sling TV basic cable pkg; it comes out much cheaper than premium cable providers charge but with the downside of only single streaming viewing. It a pretty cool channel overall, they ran a Godzilla marathon, a John Carpenter marathon, and many old Kung Fu flicks over the past 6 months.

        Also another option would be to search YouTube for some obscure horror gems like Cheerleader Camp, Blood Beach, Clownhouse, Ticks (aka C2), etc. on their site. Not to mention all the weird and creepy user videos posted (mostly BS fiction/faux stories or fan videos) on various topics like hauntings, urban legends, alien/monster encounters & Creepypastas. You could even try to check for old Halloween specials or clips….

  • FJMcCloud

    October 30, 2015 at 2:24 am

    It took the Svengoolie team years to negotiate a contract with Universal, and they’ve been milking it for all it’s worth. 🙂
    The only down side is Universal’s contract won’t let him spice things up with Svensurround overdubs.

    Svengoolie’s always been masterful about editing. Not just for time and content, but knowing when to liven up a dragging snoozefest. And creative song parodies and more.

    In many, many cases I prefer the Svengoolie broadcasts over the originals. His “Monster from Green Hell” and “Zontar the Thing from Venus”, for example, are works of comedy genius.

    The man’s very quick-witted IRL and a true blessing to broadcast television. Those of us lucky to remember him from the 1980s (or even earlier) fondly recall both Son of Svengoolie and Koz Zone before MeTV ever existed. It was the era of local horror hosts, decades before MST3K was even a twinkle in someone’s eye. Why? Because TV stations were sold bundles — to get a good movie you had to air a bunch of bad ones, so every station had to have a way to make them palettable.

    Last time I met Sven I was impressed he knew my local MeTV network by name even though I now live thousands of miles from him!

  • October 30, 2015 at 7:46 am

    It is a shame! I really wanted to watch Ash Vs. Evil Dead on Halloween night, but I am in UK, so I will have to wait!

  • October 30, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Oh, everybody! Tonight(10/30) on the Colbert Show the band Ghost is performing. If you haven’t heard of these guys and are a fan of horror and rock, you’re in for a treat. Check it out!

  • ptentacle

    October 30, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I work for a local low-power TV station in Portsmouth, OH. WTZP. We’ve started a great tradition because we have “Friday Night Frights” every week where we show 1 to 2 classic horror films (depends on the length) on Friday. We also run a marathon on Halloween that usually goes for 24 hours straight. By next year we hope to have a host for the Friday night frights similar to Elvira. We’re trying to keep the tradition alive!

    • Midnite Marauder

      October 31, 2015 at 12:56 am

      It’d be great if a lot of local TV stations went back to this, if only for the month of October. There always was a back to back creature feature Friday/Saturday nights when I was a kid in Albuquerque NM. Great stuff! In Houston TX around that same time during mid to late 80’s, Channel 20 & 39 would always air a couple weeknights worth of Halloween horror movies and promote their movie marathons, and guess what, yep just like James himself commented once, I’d look in the Sunday newspaper straight for the TV guide and check to see which horror goodies were going to be showing. I swear our TV guide would have so many pen marks and circles, and I even recall once waking up at 1AM just so I could videotape the movie playing.

  • October 30, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I’ve never watched that Svengoolie guy, but i know that the guy who hosts it also used to do this 3 Stooges block every sunday morning that i used to DVR. It was fun, cuz he’d do games, trivia, and even celebraty interviews in between the 3S shorts. Sadly, it seems like he isn’t doing that anymore, since my programming guide doesn’t have it listed anymore.

  • bud

    October 31, 2015 at 12:41 am

    I forgot to mention PBS aired a concert from their “Live from Lincoln Center” series featuring Danny Elfman and his scores to Tim Burton films (including him reprising his role as Jack Skellington!). You can watch that here: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365596258/

  • RMBowie

    October 31, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Mother Duckers

  • The Wicker Man

    October 31, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I watched Ash vs Evil Dead last night and IT IS AWESOME! It’s everything I hoped it would be, highly recommended if you like the Evil Dead movies.

    • bud

      October 31, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      I’m curious what James thinks about all the CGI vs. practical effects…

      • The Wicker Man

        November 3, 2015 at 4:26 am

        The majority are practical effects except for *bleep*, *bleep* and *bleep*. (don’t want to give any spoilers)

  • Jackred89

    November 1, 2015 at 11:04 am

    The Walking Dead om AMC for starters. No longer on TV but an great horror show Tales from the Crypt. The original Twilight Zone could count as one. Syfy usually does horror movies during October.

  • Jackred89

    November 1, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Also more recently FXX plays almost every Treehouse of Horror episode close or on Halloween.

  • Sakura4anime25

    November 1, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Man, I really wanted to watch Ash vs The Evil Dead, but I don’t have a Starz subscription and I don’t really want to buy one just for this one thing… Oh well, if it comes out on Blu Ray I’ll watch it then.

  • chaide

    November 2, 2015 at 4:46 am

    The El Rey Network on Cable has some pretty decent movies. I’ve seen a lot of Italian Horror films on there (Zombie 2, New York Ripper, Black Belly of the Tarantula, City of the Living Dead) as well as more conventional titles (From Dusk Til Dawn, it is Robert Rodriguez’ channel after all).

    It’s a grab bag of campy schlock films, with the occasional cable fare of paid-programming and forgettable shows.. but it’s mostly on the ball. This Halloween, they even did a Puppet Master marathon all day.

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