Saturday, June 27, 2009
Fright Night - WOR-TV Channel 9
FRIGHT NIGHT is probably one of the most remembered and most loved movie showcase programs from the NY Metro area of all-time. I have yet to come across anyone of viewing age at the time who does not remember it. It holds a special place in many peoples lives and for very good reason. Simply put, it was one of the most unique and versatile movie showcase programs of it's era as well as offering the widest variety of films of any "monster movie" showcase at the time. All you really need to know about this wonderful showcase can be found in Jim Arena's wonderful article on FRIGHT NIGHT over at DVD Drive-In.
About the only thing Mr. Arena fails to mention concerns one of the foremost voices of FRIGHT NIGHT, Ted Maille. Other than that, it's a terrific article. So, there is really not too much I can add to it other than just throwing out some random information and sharing personal memories. So, here goes.
First off, of the "big three" monster movie showcases in the NY area, CREATURE FEATURES, CHILLER and FRIGHT NIGHT, it is by far that FRIGHT NIGHT is my favorite. I adored both CF and CHILLER, but FN was more to my tastes and offered the widest variety of horror films you could ever hope for. As a matter of fact, by the mid to late 70's, FN was really a drive-in theater or midnight horror theater right in your own living room. Briefly, FN ran on WOR-TV Channel 9 from 1973 to 1987. Much of the credit for it's programming goes to Lawrence Casey who was the stations programming manager at the time. As mentioned in Mr. Arena's article, the types of movies appearing on FN ran the gamut from old Universal horrors to Mexican horrors to Euro-Horrors to flicks fresh from the Drive-In circuit. When FN first aired, it concentrated on the old Universal films before gradually shifting to more "notorious" fare. How it was done is anybodies guess but there were times when these more violent films aired with little or no cuts at all. FN's time slot shifted at various times from 12 Midnight to it's most popular 1AM slot right after wrestling to later on 1:30AM but for 15 years, it was a steady, welcome friend and a fixture of WOR's Saturday late night programming. Sure, it was "rested" at various times for other programming but most times, our adventurous friend was there. The list of movies I saw for the first time on FN could fill a book. BLOOD AND LACE, DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT, SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED, CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE, DEATHDREAM and on and on it could go. It was also a place I could re-visit Euro horror films I had previously seen such as DEEP RED or BEYOND THE DOOR. Simply put this was a wonderful, memorable movie showcase from my youth. One that I hold near and dear and one that gave me a good case of the creeps on a weekly basis. It's probably the one showcase I miss the most and it's the one showcase I think of most when I yearn for this type of programming these days.
So, what are your thoughts and memories of FRIGHT NIGHT. I'd love to read them.