Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine. Not only do I cherish the memories of my trips as a kid to fabric shops with my mom to pick out the costumes she would sew for me, but I also enjoyed our times on the couch watching scary movies together. Now, as an adult, I still delight in turning the lights off, grabbing a pillow for safety and putting on the occasional chiller. But in October, it has become a tradition for me to kick that viewing into overdrive and take advantage of the surplus of horror made available in those 31 days.
It’s a ritual carried on by many, and if you’re not already partaking, now is the best time to start your own scary programming tradition. Of course if you don’t have your own collection of favorites, want to hit Redbox, or have a Netflix subscription, I encourage you to take advantage of some of the spooktacular options that cable channels offer up in anticipation of All Hallows Eve.
Although there will no doubt be plenty of choices announced in the coming days, I’ve thrown together a little overview of a few networks that have you covered should you crave a little goosebump-inducing entertainment.
I’m a little partial to this one, as it was in college that I began my tradition of jam-packing as many chilling flicks as I could into the month of October to take a break from my studies. And thanks to the Sci-fi network, as it was entitled at that time, I was able to get my fill. It was during this time that I first encountered the classic Hammer films, re-visited with my “V” lizard alien pals, first encountered the classic “Dark Shadows,” freaked myself out during my overnight house and dogsitting gig, and came to truly appreciate the B movie horror genre. (And side note: Was anyone else a fan of their creepy channel bumpers such as the gargoyles and clock monster of days past?)
This year, the rebranded Syfy is airing its sixth annual 31 Days of Halloween. They’ll be showcasing Halloween-themed episodes of their returning reality series “Ghost Hunters” (October 30), their new body painting docu-series “Naked Vegas” (October 29), and an all-new episode “Scare Tactics” marathon (October 28). There’s even a trio of original horror movies: Scarecrow (October 5) starring Robin Dunne (Sanctuary) and Lacey Chabert (“Family Guy,” “Party of Five”), Grave Halloween (October 19) starring Cassie Thomson (Big Love) and Graham Wardle (Supernatural), and Zombie Night (October 26) starring Darryl Hannah (Kill Bill, Splash), Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club, “The Dead Zone”) and Shirley Jones (“The Partridge Family”). But there’s also plenty of non-original horror movies, and marathons for TV series such as their version of the BBC’s “Being Human,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “Forever Knight,” and a childhood favorite of mine . . . “Friday the 13th: The Series” (for which, as a youth, I may have written a proposed episode storyline entitled “Ice Scream Man” in a spiral notebook of doodles. Anyone in the mood for blood ripple?) But no matter your personal poison, there’s sure to be something that you’ll enjoy in their 600 hours of themed TV watching. Visit Syfy.com for more info.
Although I may be unhappy with ABC Family for delivering a devastating blow to me by canceling the heartwarming series “Bunheads,” and also giving the axe to “Lying Game” before bringing about some closure, they do continue to offer me up one of my guilty pleasures “Pretty Little Liars” which just happens to be a part of their family-friendly spooky-light programming.
Starting Oct. 19th, ABC Family will resurrect their annual 13 Nights of Halloween featuring Pixar’s Toy Story of TERROR!, the “Pretty Little Liars Halloween Special” followed by the world premiere of its spin-off “Ravenswood,” and films like Beetlejuice. The entire line-up listing is available now on their dedicated Facebook page.
Growing up, I was addicted to the American Movie Classics films. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with their black and white gems. And it was this network that introduced me to the likes of Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hephern, and was the catalyst to my teenage obsession with crooner Bing Crosby (mind you I chose to not think about his womanizing reality behind the scenes). I’d stay up late in the evening mesmerized in front of the television enjoying the classic footage.
Flash forward multiple years, and I cringed when I first heard that AMC was offering “Tales from the Crypt” the TV series. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m very fond of the Crypt Keeper and his twisted tales and watched them regularly during the show’s first-run airing on HBO. But given that this was neither a movie, nor anything that I would liken to being in line with what the channel had previously referred to as “classic,” I was disappointed in the shift in programming. (Thanks goodness for TMC keeping the glorious black and white options alive.)
But after having adjusted to the changes and experiencing their original television programming, I’m back on-board with AMC. And they have me salivating for the Oct. 13th return of “The Walking Dead” which is one of my favorite shows on television that’s a certified “can’t miss” in the Geek’s household.
In addition to all their shambling goodness, come Oct. 14th they’re also offering up a bevy of modern classic horror films that will dole out plenty of chills. Spend some time with your old friends Jason, Freddy, and Chucky, mill around spooky haunts like House on Haunted Hill, and feel the earth quake from some not so friendly Tremors. Just keep in mind that not all the marathons start with the first film in a particular series. Be sure to check their schedule so that you can plan your viewing accordingly if that’s a buzzkill for you. But after some time with your AMC fans you’re sure to have a Howling good time.
So that ought to give you a start on your spooky October viewing, but be sure to keep reading all throughout October as I give you 31 nights of Halloween movie suggestions!