Do you enjoy comedic horror? Do you enjoy what used to be comedic horror before we’d all collectively seen too much? I’m looking at you Scary Movie 2. Do you get cable in the US? Then you should check out Turner Classic Movies on Friday nights throughout October. Also, stick around for The Innocents on Saturday, and the hammy Hammer Horror of Peter Cushing on Sunday.
8 PM Eastern: The Cat and the Canary (1939). Based on John Willard’s play of the same name, guests (including Paulette Goddard and Bob Hope) are invited to spend the night in a haunted mansion to determine who will inherent a fortune. This film was part of Walt Disney’s inspiration for the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland.
9:30 PM Eastern: The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck (1967). Starring Jack MacGowran as a distinguished professor, Sharon Tate as a damsel in distress, and her husband (who also directed) as a bumbling assistant, fighting against a Jewish vampire and his horde of the undead.
11:30 Eastern: The Little Shop of Horrors (1960). Directed by Roger Corman, this cult classic farce was suggested to have been inspired by either John Collier’s “Green Thoughts” or Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Reluctant Orchid.” Re-using sets from Buckets of Blood, and filmed in the span of two days, it tells the story a flower shop employee who boosts business when he cultivates a man-eating plant. In 1982, it would inspire an Off-Off Broadway musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, which would inspire Frank Oz’s movie-musical in 1986.
1 AM Eastern: Young Frankenstein (1974). Written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, and directed by Brooks, this classic tells the story of respected medical lecturer, and grandson of the infamous Victor Frankenstein, Frederick. He travels to Transylvania after learning of his grandfather’s death, revising his work. Based on 1931's Frankenstein and its sequels Bride of ..., Son of ..., and The Ghost of ..., scenes are stolen by all the actors present, especially Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, and Gene Hackman, who was going to make espresso. This too would inspire a musical in 2007 featuring Sutton Foster, Megan Mullaly, and Andrea Martin.
3 AM Eastern: Hillybillys in a Haunted House (1967). A pair of Country singers (Ferlin Husky and Joi Lansing) on their way to Nashville breakdown and spend the night in a house “haunted” by spies (Lon Chaney, Jr., Basil Rathbone, and John Carradine). Observation Deck’s own Spaced99 wrote about this in January of 2015, dubbing it “a silly as shit horror comedy concoction that I can only believe was conceived and financed by a 1960s real life version of The Rich Texan character from The Simpson’s.”
Saturday night sees a trio of films featuring Deborah Kerr, beginning with an adaptation of Henry James The Turn of the Screw, and William Archibald’s stage adaptation, 1960's The Innocents at 8, culminating in Eye of the Devil at midnight.
Sunday night continues TCM’s spotlight of Frankenstein, featuring Hammer Horror’s favorite Dr. Frankenstein, Peter Cushing.
Midnight turns to Japanese horror with 1926's A Page of Madness and 1968's Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell.