The Moviehunter

Pulp Culture
Cable channels
offer plenty of
Halloween scares


October 19, 2000
By Franklin Harris

It's less than two weeks until my favorite day of the year -- Halloween. That means several cable TV channels are gearing up for their yearly forays into cinematic spookiness.

As usual, the best and most extensive lineup belongs to American Movie Classics, which returns with another installment of Monsterfest.

Monsterfest begins Oct. 27 and runs through Oct. 31.

This year, AMC loads its schedule with the classic monster films of Universal Studios, including the restored versions of "Dracula," starring Bela Lugosi; "Frankenstein," starring Boris Karloff; and "Bride of Frankenstein," also starring Karloff.

Also look for several Hammer Studios favorites: "Dracula: Prince of Darkness," starring Christopher Lee and Barbara Shelley and presented in widescreen; "Brides of Dracula," starring Peter Cushing; and the dinosaur flick "One Million Years B.C.," starring Raquel Welch in a fur bikini, presented in widescreen.

AMC also is repeating its amusing and informative monster-movie documentary, "Attack of the 50 Ft. Monstermania," which is joined this year by a sequel, "Bride of Monstermania."

Horror-film hostess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, will introduce the sequel, which will focus on the feminine side of horror. It premieres Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. (all times Central).

Other AMC highlights include "Godzilla" (the original), "King Kong" (also the original), "Creature from the Black Lagoon," George Pal's "War of the Worlds," and, to lighten things up, Mel Brooks' comedy, "Young Frankenstein," starring Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle.

For AMC's full Monsterfest 2000 schedule, log on to www.amctv.com.

Meanwhile, the other classic-film channel, Turner Classic Movies, has a narrower focus. On the next two Tuesday nights, TCM will feature the films of Lon Chaney, the legendary "Man of 1,000 Faces."

The standouts are "The Phantom of the Opera" (Oct. 31 at 7 p.m.) and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (Oct. 31 at midnight).

Also, set your VCR for TCM's screening of the 1998 documentary "Universal Horror," a history of Universal Studios' horror movies, which airs at 3:15 a.m. on Nov. 1.

Kenneth Branagh narrates the film, which features interviews with Fay Wray ("King Kong"), author Ray Bradbury and sci-fi/horror historian Forrest J. Ackerman.

TCM's complete Halloween schedule is online at tcm.turner.com.

The Sci-Fi Channel counters with its own Oct. 31 marathon, starting with Peter Cushing in "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" at 6 a.m. and George Romero's zombie classic, "Night of the Living Dead," at 8 a.m.

Halloween night at 6, Sci-Fi will have live coverage of the New York Village Halloween Parade. That is followed by a widescreen showing of "Dreamscape," starring Dennis Quaid, at 10, and the laughably bad "Exorcist II: The Heretic," starring Linda Blair and Richard Burton, at midnight.

Jeffrey Donovan and Erica Leerhsen follow a witch's trail in ''Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.'' The Sci-Fi Channel will preview the film on Sunday with the special ''Shadow of the Blair Witch.''
Courtesy Photo Copyright Artisan Entertainment
Jeffrey Donovan and Erica Leerhsen follow a witch's trail in "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2." The Sci-Fi Channel will preview the film on Sunday with the special "Shadow of the Blair Witch."
But Sci-Fi's best bet premieres Sunday at 7 p.m. It's "Shadow of the Blair Witch," a one-hour preview of the upcoming film "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2," which, if you haven't guessed, is the sequel to last year's surprise hit "The Blair Witch Project."

"Book of Shadows" arrives in theaters on Oct. 27, and Sci-Fi will repeat "Shadow of the Blair Witch" on Oct. 24, 27 and 28.

The Sci-Fi Channel "schedulebot" can retrieve all of the channel's Halloween offerings at www.scifi.com.

Lastly, there are a few odds and ends. USA Network will show "Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula" on Halloween at 8 p.m. This 2000 direct-to-cable film is billed as the true story of Vlad the Impaler, one of the models for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Forget that bit of false advertising, and you may find a few minutes of the film worth watching.

Rudolf Martin ("Beggars and Choosers") stars as Prince Vlad.

And for those of you lucky enough to get it, the Independent Film Channel will have its own lineup of horror films. Showing throughout the rest of October are such low-budget, independent films as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Dawn of the Dead" and "Re-Animator."

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