American Scary (2006)





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Take a trip back to a time when late night creature features were all the rage, and the personalities that presented them were nearly as popular as the movies, in this documentary about the uniquely American phenomenon of television horror hosting. Beginning in the 1950s, the horror host was a staple of regional television. From ghouls to vampires, to werewolves and crypt keepers, every host had a persona to suit their unique personalities. But their days were numbered, because as the local television business model began to shift thanks to production demands and the availability of cheaper syndicated material, Zacherley, Vampira, Ghoulardi, and the rest of these fiends began steadily disappearing from the small screen. Interviews with the hosts themselves, and the fans that elevated them to superstar status offer a chance to reflect on a bygone era of television that now appears poised for a comeback thanks to the internet and cable access.
Documentary , Television
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Cinema Libre

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Critic Reviews for American Scary

All Critics (3)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A great look back at an American Television staple that went the way of the dodo.

Full Review… | June 20, 2012
Cinema Crazed

... a lot of what is in the film is fascinating and more valuable than mere nostalgia. It tells us another kind of truth - about an America that's no less real or vital for its obscurity.

February 5, 2009
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette an ADD overview of a deliriously trashy TV subgenre, this is a great start.

July 6, 2007

Audience Reviews for American Scary


A compilation of interviews and insight into the nostalgic world of late night horror hosts from small TV stations across America. Vampira, Elvira, Svengoolie but, sadly, no Mazeppa Pompazoidi.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


This documentary about late night movie horror hosts that grew out of the Shock Theater film package sent to local TV stations in the early to mid 60s. Having grown up on Big Chuck and Lil John and the Ghoul it was wonderful to see what so many others across the country grew up on, from Vampira, Zacherly, and Ghoulardi to Svengoolie and Son of Ghoul. I found it informative and entertaining on a subject matter I am really interested in. I really miss the local flavor TV used to have.

Ken Scheck
Ken Scheck

An amusing little nostalgic trip into the history of horror hosting. Entertaining and informative, but ultimately a footnote in horror docs.

Greg S
Greg S

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