Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Channel Flipping

I thought it might be fun to see what's on TV on this All Hallows' Evening.  I am hoping to find something nice and scary.

9:55pm AMC: Halloween (1978) - I thought I would start with AMC's Fear Fest.  While they have seriously altered their idea of what constitutes a classic, at least I know they won't be showing Happy Gilmore.  Ah, well we seem to be at the very end.  Laurie Strode just escaped the closet and sent the kids screaming to the neighbors, Michael Myers wakes up ominously behind her, and Dr. Loomis arrives to save the day.  Or did he?  Perfect ending to a perfect movie.  George Romero is hosting a Halloween movie marathon.  He seems to just be going through the motions, but I do miss TV horror hosts.  I have fond memories of Joe Bob Briggs hosting horror marathons.  Uh oh, Romero just announced that we are skipping directly to Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, in other words "the Halloween movie that has absolutely nothing to do with Michael Myers, but rather an evil mask company."  Time to go!

10:04pm Bravo: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - terrifying, but not Halloween terrifying.

10:05pm Lifetime: Possessing Piper Rose (2011) - Apparently Rebecca Romijn and her husband were just denied an adoption.  It may have something to do with that creepy woman who was on that X-Files episode with the trees that killed people.  Hey, apparently Romijn's elderly mom is also played by one of those X-Files bit players who pop up in different episodes playing different characters!  This must mean that this made-for-TV-movie was filmed in Vancouver.  I will probably see a lot more X-Files people if I stick around.  But this is god-awful and boring.  So, off I go.

10:11pm SyFy (why did they change it from SciFi?): Ghost Hunters Halloween Live - I hate this show and every show like it.  It is just a bunch of idiots standing wandering around some "scary location" such as an abandoned psychiatric hospital shot in night vision.  The ghost hunters will then whisper about moving shadows and strange noises that they may have heard.  "Was that a howling I heard?"  "Yeah, I think so"  "Did you hear a voice?"  "Yeah, I think so"  One of the hunters has left a piece of candy on a desk in an attempt to bribe the ghost from the spirit world.  "Do you like candy?  We left some candy here to show you that we are friendly.  We are not here to hurt you"  No answer.  "We'll be proud of you"  No answer.  "There is no more pain"  No answer.  Hmmm.  Now, a different group of hunters is investigating the children's area of the asylum.  They are trying to get a ghost child to push a doll off of a chair.  The doll remains still.  SyFy has informed me that if I see something from home that our ghost hunters don't see, I can visit the website and hit the "panic button."  I should log on and mention that I see a terrible TV show.  Moving on...

10:31pm ABC Family: Hocus Pocus (1993) -  I have never seen this kid's fright film, but I do like Omri Katz who I see is about to make out with a teenage Vinessa Shaw in a closet.  You may remember Katz from the underrated Joe Dante movie Matinee or the cult TV show Eerie Indiana.  But, I don't think he is enough to offset the triumvirate of awfulness that is Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.  Next.

10:37pm Comedy Central: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - It's the Rashomon-esque episode where Dee gets knocked up at the gang's Halloween party.  Dennis has identified his "prey" for the evening adding to the sense that he is less of a ladies' man and more of a serial rapist.  Hilarious, but I am looking for something scary.

10:41pm TCM: Night of the Living Dead (1968) - That's more like it.  Watching a Romero movie is much better than listening to the man talk.  The group of frightened survivors are making a break from the farmhouse to a truck with the help of a few Molotov cocktails.  Oops, they didn't get very far (truck blew up).  Our hero Ben is now back in the house and seems to be the only sane man left.  The slow zombies really are scarier than the quick ones from the new wave of zombie flicks.  But Romero didn't perfect that awesome zombie makeup until Dawn of the Dead.  And here is the best scene in perhaps all of horror: zombie girl kills both of her parents and eats them.  I wrote about this scene in my college thesis about horror films of this era reflecting anxiety over the decay of the American family unit.  But I digress.  Things don't look too good for Ben.  He's the only one left and he is heading for the basement.  Oh, I guess the zombies weren't smart enough to find him to follow him down there.  The sun is up and all "appears to be under control."  Oh, wait.  I forgot about the timely ending: [spoiler alert] Ben is shot dead when mistaken for a zombie.  Brilliant.

11:08pm IFC: Ginger Snaps (2000) - Here's a pretty entertaining Canadian movie about two goth teen sisters, one of whom is bitten by a werewolf.  A lot of puberty metaphors abound.  Almost more of a comedy than a horror...

11:12pm Fuse: Queen of the Damned (2002) - I think this movie is only known for the fact that it was released after star Aaliyah died in a plane crash.  It doesn't really look any worse than Interview with the Vampire, also based on an Anne Rice book about the vampire Lestat.  But, I hated that movie.  The Gothic romanticism of Rice's vampire mythology is a complete anathema to scariness.

11:24pm Travel: Ghost Adventures - Night vision.  Check.  Scary setting (abandoned mine).  Check.  Morons with flashlights.  Check.

11:26pm NBATV: Teen Wolf (1985) - I guess with the NBA lockout, the NBA channel needs to show something.  Teen Wolf is about a basketball playing teenager (played by a pre-Marty McFly Michael J. Fox) who becomes a werewolf.  Did I mention that he plays basketball?

11:31pm Biography: Paranormal State - more ghost hunting nonsense, but this one is even trashier.  It has some sort of possessed woman screaming and a man looking at the camera saying, "You are going to die!"

Well, it's time to go to bed!  I fear my nightmares will be in night vision.


    "(why did they change it from SciFi?)" "Do you like candy? We left some candy here to show you that we are friendly. We are not here to hurt you" No answer. "We'll be proud of you" No answer. "There is no more pain" No answer. Hmmm.

  2. This was an awesome read, thanks. I'm not sure exactly what it says about you and/or me that I enjoyed reading this more than I enjoy actually watching TV.

  3. Thanks for the comments guys! This was a last-minute idea and was a lot of fun to write so maybe I'll do more in the future!