This may come as a shock to those who only know me for my retro articles, but I am a huge horror fan. I love everything about the genre and really anything related to it, like Halloween. If you ever get curious and click the logo at the bottom of my articles, it’ll take you to my official website, where you’ll find I’m also a horror writer and sculptor. This is all to say, when the worlds of horror and retro collide, I’m like an ecstatic hell-hound puppy rolling around in a field of human femurs. The past week has supplied me with enough of these metaphorical bones to present you with this article, "Horror on the Small Screen."
First up, we have the full series of Freddy’s Nightmares, which is now available to view for free on Tubi. The show was released in 1988 and lasted only two seasons, ending in 1990 with a total of 44 episodes. Although we get appearances by Robert Englund as Freddy introducing each episode with real Tales from the Crypt pizazz, the main stories rarely featured Freddy Krueger. Reviews for this one aren’t great, but it’s the type of show I like to pop on late at night, often in the background while I’m working on some art or outlining a new book. Freddy’s Nightmares has the same effect on me as Unsolved Mysteries or old VHS recordings of the WPIX Star Movie. I may not always want to watch every moment, but the atmosphere they provide is unequaled.
My next pick comes from the horror streaming service Shudder. They recently added one of my all-time underdog favorites, Popcorn. While this movie does fall outside the ‘80s by two years, I had to include it if only for the pitch-perfect mood associated with a midnight movie at your local theater. Popcorn manages to pay homage to midnight screenings, The Phantom of the Opera, and the outstanding movies of William Castle complete with his infamous gimmicks. The ratings on this one are also mixed, but I highly recommend it.
Finally, wrapping up my triptych of horror for the small screen, an honorable mention to The Last Drive-In on Shudder. I’m not calling out any particular movie for this selection. In truth, the host Joe Bob Briggs will show movies spanning across many decades and not just the ‘80s. Still, I’d argue that the beauty of a contemporary horror host doling out wisdom and wit between segments of a late-night double feature speaks to the black heart of my love for ‘80s horror. The pure joy of the communal experience created by a live-streamed show, accompanied by a thriving community chatting on Twitter, makes for a perfect Friday night. Their weekly picks are always a mystery, but if you want to catch up on previous episodes, there are four seasons plus many specials’ worth of content available.
If I'm going to mention The Last Drive-In, I have to give a nod to Svengoolie as well, who can be watched on MeTV every Saturday at 8 PM EST. Like Joe Bob, Svengoolie shows movies from multiple decades (for instance this week's movie, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, was made in 1971), but does often land in the relevant space of the 1980s.
Admittedly, I wanted to include some Friday the 13th movies, since (you guessed it) this Friday lands on the 13th day of the month. But I chided myself for such an impulsive decision, knowing I’d want to dedicate a full article for such a special occasion.
I’ll see you then.