Scare Fare

What are you doing? asked my editor. "Looking for scary movies on TV," I told him. This, after spending a couple of days working on video reviews of horror movies, which should have burned me out on the subject, but really just made me look for more. Yikes! Star 80! There's a really scary film.

I like my horror in black & white. Color equals gore and gore is not necessarily horror, though it certainly contributes to excess. Slasher movies lost their edge for me a long time ago too – even Scream was only good the first time around for me. Since I have been thinking about scary movies a lot this week, I decided The Pit and The Pendulum and King Kong are my favorites, though I can remember seeing Poltergeist with my roommate Alice Berry, who spent most of the film crouched on the floor below her seat quivering. I know, I know – Poltergeist and Pit are in color. So sue me.

I refuse to go out on Halloween anymore. The Hallmark-ization of this holiday celebrating the seasons into kute kreeps and giggly ghosts is most annoying. It lost a lot of its magic for me when I was 16 and sliced the tendon in my little finger while carving a pumpkin. I ended up in the emergency room having surgery. I was on LSD. And gone are the days when I would dress as a nurse or witch or pirate or Tammy Faye Bakker or Dolly Parton (actual costumes from adult days). Okay, so Weezer and I went dressed as Scully and Mulder to a party and then Sixth Street a few years ago. That was the last time I agreed to go out on Halloween. Even though Weezer makes a fine Mulder. So forget It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Garfield's Halloween (CBS, 7 and 7:30pm) – let's watch the good stuff. Or at least the stuff worth making fun of.

House of Wax

Vincent Price and House of Wax. If ever there was a saint for Halloween, it would have to be Price

Without a doubt, it's the night for Sabrina the Teenage Witch (8pm, ABC). No one had to shuffle time or slots, this is when she's slated, and the show is much more charming than it has to be. You'll naturally find tons of Halloween-themed shows tonight; this is the only one that isn't a stretch, since only the most masochistic among us would watch Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (7pm, KNVA). Ancient Prophecies (8pm, TLC) offers up some let's-scare-the-pants-off-you-
with-the-Bible-and-Nostradamus mumbo-jumbo. You could drop your IQ level a little lower with Haunted Hollywood (8pm, E!TV) – in retrospect, Elke Sommer's career hinged on her haunted house since acting was no consideration. What, you don't know who Elke Sommer is? See? Better to tune to the Sci-Fi Channel for Martian Mania: The True Story of the "War Of The Worlds" (8pm, midnight; SF). This is a new take on an old favorite and it's good to have something fresh in the old pile of standbys, since there's more of that Elke Sommer business in Hollywood Ghost Stories (8pm, AMC)

Film fans have a better choice, especially for classics. The Fifties-ness of The Haunting (7pm, TCM) and cold-war-era fear in Them! (9pm, AMC) make a nice contrast to 1998's stylish Bram Stoker's Legend of the Mummy (8:30pm, HBO). An unedited Poltergeist (9pm, TCM) makes for great viewing any time of year and the unintentional hilarity of House on Haunted Hill (11pm, TCM) does not take away from some of its jump-out-of-your-seat scenes. Insomniacs will want to know after Twilight Zone: The Movie (10pm, TNT) comes six hours of old Twilight Zone episodes (midnight-6am).

Saturday begins with the truly horrifying Making of a Supermodel (1pm, ETV). To hell with monsters, slashers, and witches – this is the real thing. The behind-the-scenes look at how women are bulldozed into anorexia and low self-esteem is one of the scariest things around. Here's a bit of trivia on House of Wax(2:30pm, TCM) involving Vincent Price, the Ramones, and Austin. Local artist Guy Juke used a still of Vincent Price's character from House of Wax as the basis for a poster. The poster was seen by the Ramones' management, who suggested something similar for the Ramones album cover. The album artist used Juke for inspiration a little too closely and a big legal flap ensued. Juke readily acknowledged his inspiration; the other artist floundered for explanation. We love the Ramones anyway.

You could watch (or tape) Turner Classic Movies all day and night on Saturday. They have scare fare a-plenty with films like The Ghost Ship (5am), Bela Lugosi in Mark of the Vampire (6:30am), and Vincent Price in Diary of a Madman (8am). Cult horror films like Mystery of the Wax Museum (4:30pm), I Walked With a Zombie (8pm), The Walking Dead (11pm), and King of the Zombies (2am) are also on schedule with the documentary Universal Horror (6pm) offering a look at the studio that specialized in horror classics.

The Sci-Fi Channel brings the Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh and Pumpkinhead for the evening. American Movie Classics continues its not-too-creepy schedule with one to hoot for, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (3:30pm) – any plot involving virgins and dinosaurs is bound to provide laffs – followed by another shocker with style to burn, Tales of Terror (5pm), four stories adapted from Edgar Allan Poe. Unfortunately, Dracula, Prince of Darkness (7pm), X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes (9pm), and Die, Monster, Die! (10:30pm) don't offer much either for the cult fans or viewers desperate like me to avoid Sixth Street.

I did not recommend All-Time Top 10 Scariest Videos (10/30, 8pm; 10/31 4pm; MTV) because, well, frankly most videos today scare me anyway. There are three hours of Beavis and Butt-head (2am, MTV) but I'm sort of surprised The Nashville Network didn't get into it a little more. Country Stars Without Makeup – now there is a scary thought.


Tuned out? Write TVEye@auschron.com

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