Tube Talk: Scaring up some Halloween fun on TV

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116181156010318.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Bride of Frankenstein is one of many Halloween flicks featured during AMC’s “Monsterfest,” which kicked off Oct. 22.’);

For most of us, the word Halloween conjures images of ghosts, goblins, trick-or-treating and jack-o-lanterns, but in pre-Christian times, costumes and masks were worn to ward off evil spirits, a tradition that eventually grew into Halloween as we know it today. A newer tradition is watching scary movies.

I’m no fan of gory horror films since I scare way too easily, but I love a lot of the cheesy old classics that AMC is showing again this year. AMC’s “Monsterfest” kicked off Oct. 22 and runs through Halloween. It’s a mix of atmospheric, but not-so-scary, flicks like Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, The Mummy (1932) and The Wolf Man, and scarier modern horror films including all three The Exorcist movies and several installments of the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises. You can even catch the original 1958 version of The Fly and the 1986 remake. So if you’ve been dying to see anything from Island of the Burning Doomed to Wolfen, check out show times at

All week, you can find spooky stuff on SCI FI’s “13 Days of Halloween,” from movies like Resident Evil to Ghost Hunter Live Halloween Event, which airs, appropriately enough, on Halloween. For details, go to and click on “schedule.” In a similar vein, ABC Family’s popular “13 Nights of Halloween” is resurrected again this year, but their programming is geared more to families. Highlights are Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Misery, It and The Sixth Sense, plus new episodes of Scariest Places. Their original Halloween movie, The Initiation of Sarah—which debuted Oct. 22—will repeat at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 28. Dig up details at

There’s even Halloween programming lurking on the airwaves for history buffs. History Channel has several specials, including Decoding the Past: In Search of the Real Frankenstein, The Haunted History of Halloween, Vampire Secrets, Bloodlines: The Dracula Family Tree, Modern Marvels: Candy and Exorcism: Driving Out the Devil. Go to for dates and times. And if you love seasonal activities such as visiting haunted houses or spooky mazes, Travel Channel has the show for you: America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions debuts at 8 p.m., Oct. 27.

There’s plenty of creepy fun for kids, too, like The Munsters marathon on TVLand, Saturday, Oct. 28; Disney Channel’s “Hauntober Fest,” which runs through Halloween, is geared toward ‘tweens; and the classic It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is perfect for younger tykes as well as adults. Who doesn’t love watching Linus trying to convince the Peanuts gang that the Great Pumpkin really will show up?

If you were too busy carving pumpkins, making costumes, and passing out candy to catch any Halloween specials, have no fear. In keeping with Fox’s post-World Series tradition, The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror XVII” will air the first Sunday in November, at 7 p.m.

This time of year, there’s nothing like lighting up the old jack-o-lanterns, kicking back with a little Halloween candy and watching the old Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr. and Boris Karloff horror movies. The History Channel specials are pretty cool viewing treats, too.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications.

From the Oct. 25-31, 2006, issue

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