Hosted Horror on Television

The Films and Faces of Shock Theater, Creature Features and Chiller Theater


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About the Book

In October 1957, Screen Gems made numerous horror movies available to local television stations around the country as part of a package of films called Shock Theater. These movies became a huge sensation with TV viewers, as did the horror hosts who introduced the films and offered insight—often humorous—into the plots, the actors, and the directors. This history of hosted horror walks readers through the best TV horror films, beginning with the 1930s black-and-white classics from Universal Studios and ending with the grislier color films of the early 1970s. It also covers and explores the horror hosts who presented them, some of whom faded into obscurity while others became iconic within the genre.

About the Author(s)

Bruce Markusen has written eight prior books and oversees the Facebook page The Ghostly Gallery. He lives in Cooperstown, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Bruce Markusen
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 251
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8461-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4328-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
One: What Exactly Is Hosted Horror? 5
Two: The Arrival of “Shock Theater” 8
Three: The Pioneers: Vampira and Zacherley 16
Four: The Movies of “Shock Theater” 21
Five: The Movies of “Son of Shock” 56
Six: Hosts from Coast to Coast 70
Seven: Creature Features, Fright Night and Block of Shock (1931–1969) 88
Eight: Creature Features, Fright Night and Block of Shock (1970–1975) 175
Nine: What Might Happen Next 212
Chapter Notes 215
Bibliography 227
Index 233

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Insightful commentary…there’s no denying Markusen’s acumen or enthusiasm”—Library Journal