Halloween is, admittedly, my favorite holiday. It’s the only time of the year when celebrating horror and the macabre is encouraged, where folks can let their freak flags fly.
For those of us too old to trick-or-treat, childless or who simply prefer to stay in with a good Halloween marathon, here’s how to make the most of it.
On Thursday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. ABC Family will air The Addams Family starring Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd and a young Christina Ricci. Come for one of Raul Julia’s final roles, stay for MC Hammer’s “Addams Family Groove.”
Following the film, flip the channel to the Animal Planet for the return of the nightmare-inducing Monsters Inside Me (9 p.m.), a foray into all that is unholy. True accounts of parasites, insect and other such infestations will delight morbid minds. Prepare to become a severe hypochondriac.
On Friday, Oct. 30, there’s no need to be anywhere other than in front of a television tuned to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) for a marathon of Russian-American horror director and screenwriter Val Lewton’s classic, unsettling films, beginning with 1942’s Cat People (8 p.m.) followed by Martin Scorsese Presents, Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, a look into Lewton’s career as a filmmaker (11 p.m.)
All of this leads us directly into early Halloween morning as Lewton’s infamously creepy The Seventh Victim (11 p.m.) and The Body Snatcher (2:45 a.m.) starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are aired.
Halloween night is when all manner of creepy kids will be roaming your neighborhood in search of a blood sacrifice (or candy, whatever). Fear not, you’ll be near the safety of your television as you await the premiere of Ash vs. Evil Dead (9 p.m. on Starz).
Cult hero/icon Bruce Campbell returns to his legendary role as Ash Williams, the chainsaw-armed (literally) hero of The Evil Dead franchise. The TV series was co-created by Campbell and Sam Raimi, who later went on to single-handedly invigorate the superhero film craze with 2001’s Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire. Expect lots and lots of campy gore and quirky one-liners, preceded by a 24-hour-marathon of The Evil Dead films (including The Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness)
American Movie Classics’ (AMC) FearFest will air marathons of the genre-defining Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street films beginning on Thursday and ending Saturday night.
Lastly, for the cord-cutters who aren’t confined by the horrors of television scheduling, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime offer up a plethora of Halloween treats.
Netflix has the teen horror series Goosebumps based on R.L. Stine’s young-adult book series of the 1990s (for fans of extremely campy horror á la Re-Animator; the show gets away with some creepy stuff that wouldn’t fly today), as well as the under-the-radar horror/comedy iZombie in its first season about a doctor-turned-detective after gaining memories of the recently deceased by, well, eating brains. The BBC’s Ripper Street follows detectives left to clean up a world post-Jack the Ripper and is gruesome in a way that only the English can portray.
Hulu has the entirety of The X-Files, which is returning in January, so here’s your excuse to get caught up with Mulder and Scully, as well as the 1990s revival of The Outer Limits, which went hardcore into terrifyingly surreal sci-fi.
Over on Amazon, the original series’ pilot for The Man in the High Castle, based on iconic sci-fi writer Phillip K Dick’s novel, is scary enough as it imagines a world wherein the Nazis won.
Many of you will be out and about on Halloween night, but sometimes there are better things than socializing. I say stay in, grab a bowl of popcorn and power through the scariest time of the year with your old friend the television.
Out of the Box is a biweekly column by VCReporter staff and contributors about television and streaming content.