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Way-Paving Horror Shows
Way-Paving Horror Shows

Kolchak: The Night Stalker

Classic horror shows for cozy fall nights

It’s pull-out-a-blanket-and-watch-so-very-many-scary-things season! With thousands of channels and streaming services offering an endless number of shows and movies, everything is available. Before all the media surfing options, we had network-only television (Four channels? Gasp!). The spunky Fox network joined the bunch and then, baby cable – the itty bitty TV Groot of today’s broad cable universe with new networks pulling content from anywhere they could in order to provide 24 straight hours of entertainment! (Pearl clutch!)

Here is a look at just a handful of horror shows from budding modern television. Five shows proving that there was and always will be a horror audience at home. If one was cancelled, another popped up in its place. The demand for fun, thrilling, gory monsters and growing shadows supported baby cable through its early years and niche networks gave the horror geek somewhere to go to get the creeps.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker,1974-1975

The early days of the Sci Fi Channel brought science fiction and horror into homes for non-stop thrills and chills and just plain weird. In 1998, Kolchak: The Night Stalker was picked up and a new generation was introduced to Carl Kolchak, newspaper reporter and accidental vampire hunter. Kolchak is rumpled, snarky, and ready to let the police know when they’re wrong. Famously influential in the development of The X-Files, Kolchak: The Night Stalker can be credited with perfecting the formula of the supernatural detective. Not quite Kojak, not quite Columbo, all charming sass.

Poltergeist: The Legacy, 1996-1999

There is a lot of wind in this show, and every gust is spectacular. The opening theme music leads you right into a serious, spooky journey ending in a portal of some kind or a psychic child communicating with another world, often on the side of a romantic, dreary cliff. There’s fog. The members of the San Francisco Legacy House are protecting the world from evil.

And there’s wind in your hair. And you’re Dr. Derek Rayne. And your team is amazing.

Kindred: The Embraced, 1996

Two years before Blade, one before BTVS, and many before True Blood, Fox aired the show giving us a peek into the vampire mafia. It was like DallasGoodfellas, and Dracula had a perfectly moody, sexy baby. (That’s probably weird.) Kindred was everything a dangerously romantic vampire story should be – dramatic, and fun, and just ridiculous enough. Not only did they hit all of the marks, they pretty much perfected the sensual blood lick.

Bonus: Kindred: The Embraced came with Jeff Kober and Brian Thompson, two of televisions’ scariest fan favorites.

Friday the 13th: The Series, 1987-1990

This show has nothing to do with Jason Voorhees, and everything to do with Louise Robey’s hair. In the shadows – seriously, this show is DARK- Micki Foster and Ryan Dallion chase down cursed objects they accidentally sold from Micki’s late Uncle’s antique shop. There’s an evil spirit trying to thwart their every move, a wise elder guiding their journey, and more rad skirts and bitchin’ hair than one could ever dream for. Inspiration for Warehouse 13? Maybe. A fun night in this October? You bet your spooky butt.

Tales from the Crypt, 1989-1996

The Cryptkeeper is everyone’s favorite emcee, even if we always flipped the channel just before he popped out of the coffin. Just for a second. Just so we didn’t yelp in the dark. If you’re looking for late at night, deep in the couch classic viewing, the show that turned a generation of kids into true horror fans is always a good bet. Like Star Trek unleashed a wave of scientists, doctors, and astronauts onto the world, Tales from the Crypt gave birth to make up artists and special effects wizards, composers, and writers. Make some s’mores, turn out all the lights, and watch Tim Curry torture Ed Begley, Jr. Times three.

What will you be watching in the dark this month? Leave a comment below or tweet us at @LegionofLeia!

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Candi Bartlett

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