Halloween is tomorrow night. Around this time of year, TV networks, particularly those which are movie-centric, air monthlong marathons of scary movies.
It sort of takes you back to the old days of TV, where late night lineups were filled with all-night marathons of old scary movies, like TNT’s old MonsterVision block with character actor John Bloom portraying that lovable Texan trailer dweller Joe Bob Briggs.
Tomorrow night, after the trick-or-treaters leave your neighborhood, arm yourself with whatever Halloween candy you didn’t give away (and if you’re anything like my family, you’ll be arming yourself with the entire bowl of candy), go through your DVR of AMC FearFest recordings or pop in one of those years-old MonsterVision VHS recordings off of TNT and watch some of these movies:
Halloween (film series): The horror movie series to end all horror movie series began with the original Halloween picture in 1978. Michael Myers, now 21 years old at the time of the first flick of the series, escapes from a psychiatric hospital he had been admitted to years earlier following the 1963 stabbing death of his older sister. His psychiatrist then follows him to prevent subsequent killings. This series was arguably the catalyst for the slasher film subgenre, as well as the film series that started the career of Jamie Lee Curtis, who also starred in a movie called…
…The Fog (1980:) Fronted by the Halloween producer/director tandem of John Carpenter and Debra Hill, this Adrienne Barbeau-starred film involves everything a horror movie should have, such as things going bump in the night in the small town of Antonio Bay, causing the payphones to all ring at once, among other spooky happenings. It’s got plenty of corpses from mass murders, and strangely (for a horror flick) a celebration honoring the killers. There’s even a decapitation at the very end. Now, isn’t that just lovely?
It’s Alive! (1974, remade in 2008;) Aww, look! A cute little baby! Everyone knows that babies are adorable, except when the little bundle of joy’s a little mutant bundle of joy. Frank and Lenore Davis, played by John Ryan and Sharon Farrell, are ready to welcome their second child into the world. When the baby comes out, Frank and Lenore notice something has gone horribly wrong. The baby’s hideously disfigured, complete with fangs and claws. As soon as it’s born, it takes out the medical team responsible for bringing it into the world just moments earlier. The baby winds up going on a bloodthirsty rampage, destroying everyone in its path and attempts to kill its mother and father after sparing Lenore earlier in the film.
The baby used in It’s Alive! was a fake baby created by makeup artist Rick Baker, who also was a special effects assistant for 1973’s The Exorcist. This movie spawned a sequel called…
…It Lives Again! (1978;) Four years after the original film, It Lives Again! follows Frank Davis’s (reprised by John Ryan) mission to help would-be parents of mutant infants after experiencing the anguish of being involved with the death of his own in It’s Alive!. Frank attempts to help Eugene and Jody Scott (played by Fredric Forrest and Kathleen Lloyd) by advising them of the plot to kill their mutant infant, while a rash of mutant births spreads throughout the country.
Friday the 13th Series: Finally, we come to the mother of all scary movie series, Friday the 13th. 12 flicks strong, the movie series chronicles the death and times of Jason Voorhies, who met his demise as a boy after drowning at Camp Crystal Lake due to the unwatchful eyes of two camp counselors who had sex when they should have been monitoring Jason’s activities. In the first film, Jason’s mother, not Jason himself, stalks and murders the people who are readying the camp for its reopening. In Friday the 13th, Part II, Jason comes back to life and continues the killings that his mother started.
After Friday the 13th, Part VI, the series gets too ridiculous, even by horror movie standards. Those of you who stuck it out even through Freddie vs. Jason and the 2009 Michael Bay-produced remake of the original, will be happy to know that another F13 movie will be released in 2015, serving as a sequel to the ’09 reboot. Like its predecessor, released on February 13, 2009 (a Friday), this movie is targeted for a November 13 (also a Friday) release next year.
The common thread with these films is, you guessed it, they appeared on Joe Bob’s MonsterVision at one time or another on TNT. Five of the first six F13 movies were featured on an all-night Halloween MonsterVision marathon 16 years ago. Part IV wasn’t shown in the marathon, but was aired at another time on the program.
These movies will give you a perfect Halloween treat. If you have no trick-or-treat candy left over, improvise. Get some popcorn. Order a pizza. Drink a can of Old Milwaukee Beer like Joe Bob used to. Sure, MonsterVision’s been gone 14 years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a MonsterVision-style marathon of your own.
Have a happy and safe Halloween. Remember, if you don’t get scared, you’re not having fun.