We’ve done quite a bit of summaries of the various schedules for cable and streaming providers for Halloween. By far, the most well received one was for AMC’s month-long Fright Fest. Think about that. It wasn’t for a streaming giant like Netflix or Hulu, it was for a cable network. Now I understand that a huge portion of the US and and the World still has cable television. But think about that. People got more excited for a horror schedule released, with commercials and the films edited for content. I have a couple guesses at why people are so excited about this schedule for AMC Network, but it’s still a bit perplexing on a first look.
I mean, as horror fans, we love our movies without interruptions, without edits, and with bonus features. Scream Factory has built an entire business on this principle. So what draws us to the cable networks and their horror marathons more than anything? Let’s dive in.
Nostalgia, Nostalgia, Nostalgia
Horror of today, tomorrow, and yesterday is built upon nostalgia. We naturally are more afraid of the world and what’s in it (and what couldn’t be in it) when we’re younger. As we get older, we learn more, and realize that there aren’t serial killers around every corner or monsters in the dark. The things we worry about become more about money, health, or other normal human problems. Memories fade from recollection about those long nights when you’re younger, scared stiff because of that horror movie you just finished watching.
Remember the first time you saw these horror movies. For a lot of us (including this writer), it was on TV. I saw Friday the 13th Part IV on tv before I saw it uncut on Blu-Ray. It’s the same way for a lot of other movies. I wouldn’t love Death Wish 3 unless I saw it during some Charles Bronson marathon on AMC. Was the violence edited down? Yes. Did it have alternate words instead of the wonderful curses in the film? Of course. Did I love it any less because of it? No, I was enthralled.
It’s a two pronged assault on your nostalgic feelings when you fire up whatever you use to watch TV. Not only are you getting that dose of nostalgia from just watching a horror movie, but you’re getting a double dose by watching it on AMC. For every bleep, alternate “word”, or nude scene cut, it brings you back to those older, more gentle days.
The Schedules For These Movie Marathons Are Actually Pretty Diverse
Normally, you’d think of a cable movie marathon and just think of the classics. Not even the classics, the base-line horror film. That’s not the case anymore. You’re seeing more diverse and varied films being shown on cable networks these days. Just take one look at AMC’s schedule and you can see that. Films like Ghost Ship, Orphan, and Prince of Darkness are all there, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.
So you’re giving early or younger fans the Horror 101 stuff like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and others, but you’re also giving the die-hard horror fans what they want.
It’s So Much Easier To Pop On The TV
I know what you’re thinking. It’s INCREDIBLY lazy to imagine putting a Blu-Ray into whatever player as a difficult act. But in some cases it might be. If I come home (coming home meaning walking to my living room) from a hard day of work, I don’t want to fuss with something. It’s much easier to just hop on the couch, turn on the TV and see that a movie is about to start. Or it’s in the middle of one of my favorites, and you can just get right in on the action.
There’s a very underrated quality to convenience here. This article isn’t designed to shame those, like myself, who buy big dollar special editions. It’s more for people to understand just how great it is that we’re getting tons and tons of horror on national TV each night.
Horror is a big business now, so you can either enjoy it with me, or you can ignore it.
Also in some cases, the new edits and cut scenes add some layer on unintentional comedy to the proceedings of watching a classic film on television. You would miss out on moments like this famous Snakes On A Plane edit, if we didn’t watch on TV.
Shudder And Joe Bob Briggs Add To This Horror Intrigue
Remember Monstervision? If Elvira is the greatest horror host of all-time, Job Bob Briggs of Monstervision and The Last Drive-Thru on Shudder is a close second. Monstervision started off as a way for TNT to show off marathons of B-movies they had in their vault. It evolved into a phenomenon starring horror host, Joe Bob Briggs. His way of reviewing and calling out not only the censors but his bosses on the show, endeared him to a generation of horror fans.
Part of the charm of Joe Bob, was that he’s a fan just like us. So him making fun of the censors, counting all the stuff that we missed from the theatrical version, or just commenting on the movie, was perfect. It’s something that I can say is missing from the current schedule of horror films across TV.
AMC, TNT, or whoever else, if you’re listening, bring back the horror host. This generation of horror can watch Fright Night and not know why Peter Vincent is on TV. That’s a shame, because the classic horror host used to be all the rage. It was the best way to get people into all genres of horror.
Keep Watching Horror On TV, If You Want
I love watching horror on TV and I have a full library of movies at my disposal. For all the reasons I’ve listed above and more, it’s just a purely nostalgic feeling. There aren’t too many things in life that can send you back in that time machine to your youth. To that time where you didn’t have every movie available at your fingertips like we do today. You had what you had on TV and you had the video store. That’s about it. So you had to learn to love the movies that were on.
So take some time to think back to that time before you criticize someone for liking movies on TV. It may make you feel better in the end.
For more on horror, THS Fright-A-Thon, or any other general pop culture, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.