After watching the documentary ‘American Scary’ I realize I have missed my calling in life. I now feel that I was always destined to be a horror host. Bringing late night thrills and chills to all the little boys and ghouls out in TV land. Slap on some white pancake makeup, stand me in front of some shoddy cardboard sets, and it will be my time to shine. Welcome to Friday Night Fright Flicks with your host Dead Doug!
The doc does a good job of revealing the history of a good number of the most well know hosts, Ghoulardi, Zacherly, Svengoolie, et al. Many of them were news anchors, or regular show hosts moonlighting for kicks. The local affiliates were looking for something to fill the… ahem… deader time slots in their schedules. So, they would throw on some old z grade horror or sci fi movies. Shoe string budgets and lame jokes were standard operating procedure. And even though the shows were not well funded, they were obviously local labors of love. You can just tell how laid back and fun these shows were for everyone involved. It is something you just don’t see in this day and age of highly polished, high priced cable television.
Where the film lost focus for me was when it hits the present day. While it does a good job tracking the latest crop of hosts, it never reveals the nuts and bolts that go together to build the monster. I would have preferred some insight into how they manage to produce the shows in this day and age. What drives them to continue the tradition in this era of Wikipedia and IMDB, where the background of any cult classic is instantly available online?
The film did pigue my interest enough for me to investigate this all further. Who knows, someday you my see me on the small screen, rising from my crypt to bring you some midnight frights. Until then, I leave you with the immortal words of the original cool ghoul, Zacherly: “Goodnight, whatever you are!”
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