Reports | Television

Creating a Haven for Horror Fans

1 Oct , 1999  

Written by Roj Froilan | Posted by:

Roj Froilan gives the inside story on creating a new TV venue for horror films -- Horror Haven.

Remember being scared at the movies when you were a kid? In 1973, at the tender age of three, I saw my first film, a horror anthology called "Asylum." I still have memories of hiding in the back seat of my parents’ car at the Starlight Drive-In during that one. In fact, I attribute my love of horror films directly to "Asylum." Its disturbing imagery, while tame by today’s standards, instilled in me the sense of wonder and terror I carry to this day.

And what about horror hosts on television? Characters such as Elvira, Son of Svengooli, and even Joe Bob Briggs remain firm in my mind, along with shows like "Creature Double Feature" and "Chiller." These hosts and shows revered all kinds of horror films: the classic Universal Monsters; the many British fright flicks made by Hammer Film Productions in the ’60s and ’70s; the numerous B-movies of the ’50s; even foreign horror. I want to give modern audiences the same feeling we all had as kids, whether we were at the movies, the drive-in, or in front of the TV for late-night frights, and I want to help older audiences recreate all those memories they’re nostalgic for.

Until the late 1970s, great actors like Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Barbara Steele, Christopher Lee–actors who took their careers seriously–weren’t afraid to be identified as "horror" stars. But as the budgets of films got bigger and bigger, the special effects replaced them as the movies’ stars. Today there are character actors identified with the genre, but no real stars who have made horror their career.

Likewise with horror hosts. There was a time when you could count on Zacherley or Count Gore De Vol to take you on a frightening journey and return you safely to your living room at the end of the evening each week. By the mid-to late ’80s, though, there were fewer and fewer horror hosts on television. Cable and video provided easier access to a variety of films, and many new networks essentially did away with the local TV channels that once were proponents of Horror Hosts.

Horror stars and hosts need a new home, a place where audiences can relive the fright films of their youth and enjoy the special-effects opuses of today. People love to be scared. They know these films are not real, but the thrill is the same as riding a roller coaster: it’s an exhilarating journey into a dangerous and fantastic world. And now that home has a name: Horror Haven.

Cinemax and Showtime are planning their own genre channels, but these could just be business endeavors with no thought as to what the fans really want. While HH will show various types of horror films–classics, B-movies, independent, foreign, FX-heavy films, slasher movies, campy films, and thrillers–the movies are just a part of what makes Horror Haven special.

Created by Anvil Studios, a video production company in Boston, HH aims to deliver what the fans want: creative original programming as well as horror movies. Anvil will create original biographies about horror stars and filmmakers, as well as behind-the-scenes programs on how films are made. HH will also showcase various Halloween celebrations and haunted houses past and present–footage that no one anywhere else has. Local special-effects masters will share their knowledge on how to create simple FX, Halloween costumes, and even haunted houses.

It is Horror Haven’s dedication to the fans as well as the films that will make it unique. Although Anvil Studios is based in Boston, Horror Haven should soon be available all across the country. Spread the word: Horror Haven is coming! 

As of this writing Horror Haven, now dubbed ‘The Fright Channel’, will be premiering in mid-October in the Framingham area. For more information on ’13 Weeks of Horror Haven’, check out the website. Interested fans can contact Roj Froilan at Anvil Studios, 74 Woburn St., Reading, MA 01867, by telephone (781-942-1397), or via email (anvilfilms@hotmail.com). Also be sure to visit the web site at http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Cinema/6537/horhaven.html and fill out the survey there. The demographics gathered there will help show the cable and satellite providers that there is definitely an interest in this area. Those who do not have a computer or access to one can call or write directly to receive a survey in the mail.


As of this writing Horror Haven, now dubbed 'The Fright Channel', will be premiering in mid-October in the Framingham area. For more information on '13 Weeks of Horror Haven', check out the website. Interested fans can contact Roj Froilan at Anvil Studios, 74 Woburn St., Reading, MA 01867, by telephone (781-942-1397), or via email (anvilfilms@hotmail.com). Also be sure to visit the web site at http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Cinema/6537/horhaven.html and fill out the survey there. The demographics gathered there will help show the cable and satellite providers that there is definitely an interest in this area. Those who do not have a computer or access to one can call or write directly to receive a survey in the mail.