Thursday, October 7, 2010

Horror Hosts

As Halloween approaches, it makes me somewhat reminiscent of the old Horror Hosts...those folks who were tasked to introduce low grade B horror films usually on the weekends.  I truly miss those hosts, they always had such enthusiasm for the films they aired and could always provide a laugh or a scare.  Sadly, the era of the Horror Host is gone, but certainly not forgotten.  Below are some of my favorites:

In Philadelphia, where I grew up, we had Dr. Shock who hosted Horror Theatre and Mad Theatre.  He aired on Saturday afternoons, and I rarely missed an episode.  Originally, when he first aired in the early 70s, it was on around midnight on Saturdays and when I was around 8 years old, I would often sneak down to watch.  Once I was caught by my father, and instead of being scolded, he allowed me to stay up and watch the movie, and he would watch along with me, because he also loved the old horror films.  He was glad when the show finally moved to Saturday afternoons he and I didn't have to stay up late.

Commander USA on USA Networks in the 80s was perhaps the funniest of all the horror movie hosts.  I would always tune in on Saturday afternoons to catch the double feature.  His catch phrases were "Holy Cow";  "Keep your nose in the wind and your tail to yourself" and "Always a Brideshead, never revisted".  One of the funniest moments I can recall was when he was reading some fan mail and a woman gushed about how much he looked like a portly Clark Gable, he got so flustered and embarrassed it was hilarious to watch.
Another classic Commander USA moment...the zombie song.  This show was the best!
In the 80s Philadelphia had Saturday Night Dead which came on after Saturday Night Live.  The host was Stella, the maneater from Manayunk.  The show was OK, but some of the humor would fall flat.  It was quite madcap and it seemed like they were not using a script, but just turning on the cameras and doing what they wanted and it wasn't always funny, but they used to show a lot of the old Vincent Price films of Edgar Allen Poe stories, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
By the late 80s and early 90s, comedians would take the stage and introduce horror films.  There was Joe Bob Briggs on TNT's Monsterfest...

...and my favorite, Gilbert Gottfried.  He was one of the funniest hosts from the late 80s early 90s.  Always putting himself into wacky situations, such as pretending to do acid and having a wacky trip, or having his head sticking out of a table while people whacked his head and fake blood dripped down (just like the poor monkey in one of the Faces of Death movies, which I found out years later was totally fake!  And to think I cried for that poor monkey!).  
I truly wish the horror movie host would come back, they brought so much fun horror films.  


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I enjoyed the ones who parodied such presenters, like Count Floyd on SCTV! Ooooooo, scary! BTW, there's a Happy 101 Award for you over at my blog post of Tues, Oct. 5th.

SUZY8-TRACK said...

Ah yes Count Floyd was the best...Scaary Stuff!