Come, boys and girls. Join me on a trip back in time. To a more innocent, happier, purer time for Horror. Back to the days of the late 1980's and early 90's. A time before the genre was drowned in a deluge of remakes. When craftsmen and women created special effects by hand. Before everything was trashed by a deluge of zombies. Back to The Horror Hall of Fame.

The Horror Hall of Fame was a televised award show. There were three of them in all, and the host was none other than Freddy K., Robert Englund.

Held at Universal Studios Florida, The Horror Hall of Fame was a ceremony modeled after the Academy Awards. It was all obviously set up beforehand, but that didn't lessen the fun one bit. In it, worthy movies, actors, effects artists, etc, were honored. Celebrity presenters would joke and announce the inductees, and behind the scenes footage was shown. Clips for upcoming horror movies were also aired on it. Some really forgotten (or forgettable) ones like Highway to Hell, and Guilty as Charged. The awards committee also chose the best horror movie of each particular year.

There were a lot of worthy inductees: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Forrest J Ackerman, Vincent Price, Roger Corman, William F. Gaines, Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alien, and many, many more.

Some of the presenters were obvious choices. Others were a bit odd. Phyllis Diller, for instance, and obnoxious comics Sam Kinison, Joan Rivers, and Gilbert Gottfried. The Cryptkeeper from HBO's Tales from the Crypt made appearances.

How-To special effects demonstrations were done by Steve Johnson and Linnea Quigley. The attempts at humor in these are pretty cringe inducing, but that was part of the charm. They weren't trying to be ultra hip.

In fact, the whole affair was more than a little cheesy, but we loved it. It was a great time for horror and we all knew it. But the landscape was changing rapidly. The corny fun of the 80's was dead by the mid 90's. And it never really came back again.

I taped these shows when they were originally aired. Remember frantically hitting the Pause button when the commercials came on when taping things like this? I watched them over and over again. In those pre You Tube days, it was very difficult to see the kind of footage that was on The Horror Hall of Fame.

My tape collection meant the world to me, but they're all gone now. I gave them up when DVD hit it big. Who had room for everything, anyway?

I recently bought the three years of The Horror Hall of Fame from some guy on ioffers. Watching them again was a warm, but melancholy, experience.

I miss those days. As I said in the beginning of this essay, it was a simpler, more innocent time. We watched our movies on creaky tapes. We obsessively taped movies and shows, marveling over the technology that allowed us to do so. We got our news from Fangoria and other magazines. Though they were rapidly dying, drive-in theaters were more plentiful. We watched movies at independent theaters. Desperate to communicate with others that shared our love of horror, we wrote letters in longhand and sent them to the magazines.

Things are better now. We have the Internet in which to get news, information, and to communicate with others who share our dementia. We stream movies from it. Sound systems that blow away what most theaters had are affordable to almost anyone. Nearly every movie ever made is readily available in one form or another.

Logically, everything is much better. Then why do I feel so sad and nostalgic when I watch The Horror Hall of Fame?

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry