The Twilight Zone
History of television sets influenced our perspectives about horror
The small black and white television set established a cozy intimate relationship with home viewers. Actors sparked the imagination of people with their facial reactions and verbal imagery provided by creative writers. TV screens were too small. Background depth perception was limited and complex scenery avoided.
Television programs were colorized from 1966-67. Some of them continued in black and white for a short period. NBC was ready to transmit programs in color in 1953, but most people had black and white receivers. ABC, CBS, and NBC, were the big three television networks that supported color innovation in 1965-66 and color revolutionized television broadcasting.
Dan Curtis Production's Dark Shadows, a Gothic soap opera was one of the first colorized television programs exposing red blood. The weekly half-hour program's visual imagery that showed gory blood was much tamer than splatter flicks of today. Major characters in Dark Shadows journeyed back into the past and viewers were treated to colorful 18th century costumes and other periods of the Collins' ancestry.
Origin of TV horror was inspired by radio dramas
Lights Out was a popular American radio show anthology in 1940 and televised the program in 1946. Audiences enjoyed audio and video mixed together for the first time. Home audiences enjoyed the program for two years; some supernatural stories were written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.
Boris Karloff started a limited suspense and horror series on ABC called Mystery Playhouse in 1949. ABC ran an identical radio version of the same program.
Karloff's Thriller (1960-1962) is more popularly known. Karloff introduced stories about mysterious crimes but NBC threatened to pull the plug after 6 episodes. Later episodes frequently included more Gothic horror and improved ratings. Thriller is appreciated for great quality writing, acting, set designs, make-up, and eerie musical soundtracks.
Karloff was the major actor in five of the episodes.
- The Prediction
- The Premature Burial
- The Last of the Sommervilles
- Dialogues With Death
- The Incredible Doctor Markesan
Numerous stories were taken from Weird Tales Magazine by popular writer, Robert Bloch (author of Psycho). Karloff started Thriller with similar stories that appealed to Hitchcock. Thriller was filmed on the same sound stage as Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Karloff was unfortunate that Hitchcock expanded his 30 minute format to an hour. Hitchcock’s success caused Thriller’s demise. Master horror writer, Stephen King, was impressed with Thriller, considering it the best horror anthology show of its time, an opinion expressed in his 1981 Danse Macabre.
Producers and writers of horror shows were limited visually by small black and white screens, but of course, all other shows worked within those restrictions.Early horror programming was also limited by government censorship. Horror genre introduced more controversial topics than other genres.
Serling discusses writing for TV and censorship
Popular RCA 1960 television consoles
Narrators introduced early successful anthology horror
Both director Alfred Hitchcock and writer-producer Rod Serling appeared on the TV screen and introduced viewers to their characters and predicaments every episode. They also made closing remarks. Serling was humerus when the content required it. Hitchcock loved to joke about commercial sponsors. The narrator device was used in many horror comic book stories through the years, including The Twilight Zone itself.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents "Television has brought murder back into the home--where it belongs" -- Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock Presents appeared on CBS (1955) and was telecast on NBC for one season (1960-1961). The thirty minute mystery of suspense ended its run back with CBS, June 1962. CBS made the show longer and changed its title to The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962-1965).
"Waxworks" is a prime example of the eerie quality attributed to Hitchcock horror. A young magazine writer visits a wax museum in London, 1954, and speaks to a reluctant proprietor about writing a feature article. The writer needs money to pay off a gambling debt. The museum owner grants him permission on the condition he sleep overnight in the museum. The writer is locked up in an area called Murderer's Den and types a story. All wax figures are notorious convicted murderers. The writer sees a guillotine chop off the head of a wax figure. A strap from a medieval rack grips his hand and forces him to lay back in it. He sees slight movements in wax figures; one of them makes a pointing gesture at him. Barber Bourdette is the most frightening wax figure, animated to life, he speaks to the writer. Bourdette killed many men shaving necks of customers with a sharp French blade. The Proprietor and one of his workers discover the writer laying back lifeless in his chair, composed like a customer sitting down for a shave. Bourdette is credited for murdering one more person in the imagination of the writer. But Bourdette was hung the night before and workers brought in his wax figure immediately after the writer's dead body was discovered.
- Hitchcock's self drawn TV silhouette is internationally famous
- The cinematic director chose television in addition to full-length movies because he loved making personal appearances
- The show lasted 9 critically acclaimed seasons
- Hitchcock mixed dark humor, mystery, crime, chilling murder, and horror
- Characters hid dark secrets
- The show elevated movie star careers. “Robert Redford, Walter Matthau, Katherine Ross, Charles Bronson, Robert Duvall, Joanne Woodward, Gena Rowlands, and the late Steve McQueen”
- Top ranked directors worked on episodes, including Hitchcock his self. “Robert Altman, Sydney Pollack, Arthur Hiller, Stuart Rosenberg, Paul Henreid, Robert Stevens”
- Hitchcock used published stories from major authors: “ Eric Ambler, Robert Bloch, John Cheever, Roald Dahl, Eric Ambler, Evan Hunter (also known as Ed McBain), Garson Kanin, Ellery Queen, Richard Levinson, William Link, and Henry Slesar
- Only I Love Lucy and The Twilight Zone compete with rerun grand totals of Alfred Hitchcock Presents
- President Lou Wasserman of MCA Universal Television developed the concept of the show
- Episode material was researched by Joan Harrison, Gordon Hessler, and Norman Lloyd
- Hitchcock's popular music theme is called “Gounod’s Funeral March of a marionette"
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Twilight Zone videotape experiment
The Twilight Zone used videotape in its second season instead of film. Videotape was an early 1960’s experiment. Film makers couldn't cleanly edit it and visual quality lacked sharp focus. Four cameras taped 6 episodes and adapted to studio live TV technique, camera cutting footage on a sound stage. The complex camera set-up ruled out location shooting and videotape became useless. For broadcasting purposes, producers transferred each of the videotaped episodes to film and saved $30,000.
6 videotaped episodes
- The Lateness of the Hour
- The Whole Truth
- The Night of the Meek
- Twenty Two
- Long Distance Call
Themes explored in Twilight Zone
- Politics in the 50's and 60's
- Red Communism
- Post-war trauma: Korea, World War I, World War II, American Civil War
- historical time travel
- Rip Van Winkle
Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone
Rod Serling’s TheTwilight Zone was the first effective television show that consistently entertained viewers with horror. It included many terrifying science fiction stories classified as Sci-Fi horror and psychological horror.
TheTwilight Zone stunned viewers with plot twist endings. For example, "The Fear" opens with a female fashion designer. She spends solitary vacation time in a wood side cabin. A state trooper knocks on her door and inquires about an unusual bright light. The officer clashes with her; he thinks she is a snobbish New York 5th avenue rich gal. They warm up with one another once they feel threatened by an alien visitor. The officer's automobile is turned over and his radio transmitter is broken. After he moves the vehicle, he later discovers it has giant fingerprints on one side of the car. The man and woman discover a giant footprint. They confront a giant cyclops and are frightened out of their wits. The story ends in a surprising turn of events. They were manipulated into fearing fear itself. The officer shoots at the giant monster and discovers it's a giant balloon. Bullet punctures holes cause strong wind currents that forces them to the ground. Little aliens in a flying saucer masterminded the whole hoax and request permission to leave earth before giant humans squash them. It's a hysterical ending for viewers, but the main characters were terrified for their lives.
- Rod Serling wrote most teleplays and narrated all episodes
- TheTwilight Zone is considered well written, directed, and includes first-rate acting
- Minimal special effects
- Viewers are chilled from terrifying imagery conveyed by actors’ reactions and dialog through imaginative writing
- Episodes used old sets in backstage studios
- Actors starting out in TZ: Robert Redford, Jack Klugman, Russell Johnson, George Takei, James Best, Morgan Brittany, and Earl Holliman
- Actors playing new unique roles in TZ: Ann Blythe, Donald Pleasence, Neville Brand, Robert Cummings, Burgess Meredith, and Lee Marvin
Rod Serling had personal insight about post-war trauma. He was a U.S. Army war hero in World War II. Serling was injured by a Japanese fighter plane and killed a Japanese soldier.
Serling won more awards in writing and producing for television than anyone else in his time. He won 6 Emmy awards and 3 Hugo awards, including numerous other awards.
Rod Serling narrated another TV horror anthology on NBC called Night Gallery (1969-1973). He introduced episodes from looking at an assortment of painted canvases while standing in an art museum. The show differed from The Twilight Zone in a few areas. All episodes were presented in color and Serling didn't write the majority of episodes. Literary content was taken from accomplished writers: " H. P. Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber, A.E. Van Vogt, Algernon Blackwood, Conrad Aiken, Richard Matheson, August Derleth, and Christianna Brand." Alfred Hitchcock Presents successfully used that same pattern. Serling didn't have creative control over Night Gallery as he did The Twilight Zone, but the show featured rising actors, a variety of dark themes, and was regarded quite successful.
Jaroslav Gebr painted the pilot episodes for Night Gallery. The regular season used paintings from artist, Tom Wright. Phil Vanderlei and Logan Elston created metal sculptures.
History of The Twilight Zone
Outer Limits included sci-fi horror
Dr. Paul Wayne: "So what difference does it make, whether it's 20 minutes or 20 years, since neither amounts to the faintest echo of the tiniest whisper in the thunder of time."
TheTwilight Zone style type episodes emphasized science fiction stories that chilled viewers’ bones.
The Outer Limits frightened views with their monstrous aliens. Producer Joseph Stefano called them bears. The Zanti Misfits were grotesque monstrous sized bugs with humanoid faces. A Cyclops’ facial features were flat in O.B.I.T. The Invisibles were parasitic slugs that slithered into human hosts’ spinal cords and controlled their actions.
The Man with Power, a college professor (Donald Pleasence), seeks to terminate his contract. He works on a geological magnetic energy matter experiment focused on an asteroid. He had frontal plate surgery and unleashes concentrated mental energy. His wife and college Dean don't cooperate with him. Anytime the professor gets upset, a dark cloud appears and strikes out at people that oppose him. His wife is struck by electrical lightning while standing up on an outside ladder. The Dean is electrocuted in bed and his wife can't find his body. The professor wants to save a young man scheduled to undergo a frontal skull operation. The geological science team drugs the professor to stop him, but the dark cloud and lightning symbol invades the operating room and interrupts the surgical procedure. The professor's positive request destroys him; he didn't want to possess too much dark power from his subconscious.
Corpus Earthling is about a doctor (Robert Culp) studying alien geological research. He hears two voices speaking from unclassified crystal rocks. Aliens plan to invade earth and enter human bodies as parasites. Alien entities don't want him revealing their plans and possess his wife and colleague. They are altered into strange looking alien servants.
- The series was created by Leslie Stevens
- Stefano worked with creative cinematographers critically recognized for impressive visual imagery: "low wide-angled shots, deep shadows and dim lighting to heighten tension to produce a Noir look and feel"
- Vic Perrin narrated The Outer Limits but only performed the audio control voice
Horror story narration
Gothic soap opera vampire
Shooting locations of popular horror shows
|Name of TV Series||Filming location No.||Shooting Locations|
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Colonial Street, Backlot, Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, CA
Republic Studios - 4024 Radford Avenue, N. Hollywood, L.A.
Revue Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios - 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, California
The Outer Limits
Bradbury Building - 304 S. Broadway, Downtown, Los Angeles, California Stefano filmed several scenes and entire episodes at his production company home, Villa Di Stefano
Including various areas USA
Newport, Rhode Island
Seaview Terrace, Newport, Rhode Island
Studio 16, ABC Studios, Manhattan, New York City, New York
Early Admiral color television set
Dark Shadows first Gothic soap opera
Dark Shadows(1966-1971) was a unique daytime Gothic soap opera and focused on governess Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke), hired by Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Joan Bennett) to tutor young David Collins (David Henesy) in a large Maine mansion. It first premiered as a romantic murder mystery but producer Dan Curtis wanted to boost show ratings and introduced a vampire, Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid). Fans were thrilled with a bitter war he had with Angelique (Lara Parker), a witch who cursed him because she was jealous of his fiancé, Josette (Kathryn Leigh Scott). The gamble worked and the show continued to introduce supernatural terror. Dark Shadows borrowed from horror classics: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and several others. Kids got hooked after school and helped Dark Shadows build a huge fan following.
Victoria Winters narrated many early episodes of Dark Shadows. Later in the series, various cast members provided voice-over narration. The Gothic soap usually avoided narration closings and loved to end each episode with a cliff-hanger ending.
Kolchack: The Nightstalker
Chicago reporter investigates unbelievable murderous crimes
The series influenced the direction of horror television and inspired Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files. Kolchak (Darren McGavin) works for Chicago independent news service (INS). He often tracks down supernatural killers such as vampires, werewolves, and zombies. He experiences uncanny eye-witness testimony considered too incredulous to publish in print.
In episode 1, The Ripper, Kolchak investigates clues similar to the case pertaining to the legendary Jack the Ripper of London. Strippers are murdered. Police arrest a suspect that later breaks out of a security cell. Kolchak angers police and his partners at work; he is determined to investigate unbelievable cases. An old woman uses binoculars and watches her mysterious neighbor leave his house at night. She tells Kolchak. The reporter investigates the dark house with a flashlight and struggles with the stranger. Kolchak sets an electrical trap for him by an outside pond. But police investigate the area and can't find the body. Kolchak discovers empty boots inside the house that were made seventy years ago.
Kolchak: The Nightstalker continued an early tradition of horror story narration in television. Kolchak narrated the story as a police drama. He tantalized viewers with surprising clues about cases under investigation. He narrated information from anytime between the beginning, middle, or end of a 60 minute program.
Universal Studios Tour
Film locations of popular horror shows
|Name of Show||Filming location No.||Shooting locations|
Colonial Street, Backlot, Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California
Kolchack: The Night Stalker
Colonial Street, Backlot, Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California
University of Chicago, Hyde Park, Chicago, Illinois
Tales of the Crypt
1 (also various areas USA)
Big Sky Ranch - 4927 Bennett Road, Simi Valley, California
Wilmington, North Carolina
American Gothic (1995-1996) was created by Shaun Cassidy and televised on CBS. Set in Trinity, a small town in South Carolina, a little boy named Caleb (Lucas Black) has a mother raped by an evil sheriff (Gary Cole). Deputy Healy (Nick Searcy) eye-witnesses the act but sheriff blackmails him by planting his ball point pen in the hands of an imprisoned suicidal prisoner.
Merlyn Temple (Sarah Paulson) is an angelic ghost. She communicates with her brother Caleb and warns him to stay away from the sheriff who wants to adopt him. The town sheriff's evil behavior exceeds the chilling ghost messages. Sheriff Buck's obsession over Caleb arouses Dr. Matt Crower's (Jake Weber) suspicions. Small southern towns became popular locations for horror shows. They are secluded and far away from the big city. Charlene Harris, author of True Blood, invented a small fictional town in Louisiana.
American Gothic episodes are available for viewing on tv.com. and other online websites.
Fox networks "The X-Files"
Chris Carter is the creator of The X-Files
X-Files stands for cases of unexplained causes. FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Skully captivated viewers with their paranormal investigations of alien invasions that involved government conspiracies. Members of national security discouraged them from investigating top secret UFO sightings. The two partners engaged fans with dramatic tension. Mulder believed in paranormal activity while in earlier episodes, Skully was skeptical.
Episodes contain a dark eerie quality: cemetery excavation digging uncovers an alien corpse hid in a coffin and a UFO hovering over a military base at night are examples.
Victims of aliens often suffered mental and physical damage: loss of memory, burnt red colored skin, pimples or marks, and personality change.
Chris Carter only wanted to produce 5 seasons and follow the series by writing full-length movies but Fox Network ratings reached so high that he continued to write more season episodes and wrote The X-Files movie' screenplay on the side.
- X-File aliens: extraterrestrials that abduct humans, long-clawed monsters, flat-faced renegades, super-soldiers, and black oil virus
- The X-Files theme song was discovered by accident. Musical composer, Mark Snow, struck a chord on his keyboard with the echo function turned on and liked the sound of it
- The show had a huge fan base
- It endured 10 seasons
- It won 5 Golden Globe Awards
Fox X-Files: 27 Film locations
|Film Locations||Film Locations||Film Locations|
1.20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California, studio - seasons 6 to 9)
10. Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
19. Ruskin Dam, Mission, British Columbia, Canada
2. Ashcroft, British Columbia, Canada
11. Langley, British Columbia, Canada
20. San Diego, California
3. Britannia Beach, British Columbia, Canada
12. Los Angeles Center Studios - 450 S. Bixel Street, Downtown, Los Angeles, California
21. Stafford, New Jersey
4. Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
13. New York Street, Backlot, Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California
22. Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
5. Cache Creek, British Columbia, Canada
14. North Shore Studios, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (studio - seasons 1 to 5)
23. Tustin, California
6. Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
15. North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
24. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
7. Delta, British Columbia, Canada
16. Paramount Ranch - 2813 Cornell Road, Agoura, California
25. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
8. Fresno, California
17. Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
26. Washington, District of Columbia
9. Jackson Street, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
18. Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
27. Woodlands Hospital, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
HBO brings "Tales of the Crypt" to life
12 shooting locations for Buffy the Vampire Slayer
|Shooting locations||Shooting locations||Shooting locations||Shooting Locations|
1. 1313 Cota Drive, Torrance, CA (Buffy's house)
4. California State University Northridge - 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, L.A., CA (shots from the Oviatt Library)
7. El Pueblo Apartments - 4616 Greenwood Place, Los Feliz, L.A., CA (establishing shots of Giles' apartment)
10. Santa Clarita, California
2. 1800 Stewart St., Santa Monica, CA
5. Castle Green Apartments - 99 S. Raymond, Pasadena, CA (Glory's apartment)
8. Ennis-Brown House - 2655 Glendower Avenue, Los Feliz, L.A., CA (Angel's mansion)
11. Torrance High School - 2200 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA (Sunnydale high school)
3. Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery - 1831 W. Washington Boulevard, L.A., CA (cemetery scenes)
6. Colonial Street, Backlot, Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA
9. Royce Hall - 340 Royce Drive, UCLA, Westwood, L.A., CA (UC Sunnydale campus exteriors)
12. Walt Disney's Golden Oak Ranch - 19802 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall, CA
HBO's Tales of the Crypt
Cable television development
- The National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) encouraged investments towards brand new cable television' programming that reached Americans during the 1970s. HBO started in 1972
- 1980- 28 major networks were members of the NCTA
- 1990- 79 major networks were members of the NCTA. "57% household viewers subscribed to cable video service."
- 1996- "cable video broadband was introduced" and viewers became familiar with the cable modem
- 1998- 171 major networks. It took less than 10 years to triple all networks
- 2000- NCTA had 65 million subscribers
- 2006- 800 networks. DVRs and videos on demand offered viewers more options. "115 million American viewers with access to ultra-fast broadband networks
- 2012- "93% of American households accessed cable broadband
Cable TV ideal artistic freedom for horror shows
Cable television popularity was a great avenue for backing produced horror series. It was allowed free artistic expression enjoyed by motion picture companies and introduced more sexual nudity, profanity, and bloody violent gore. Those issues were avoided by non-cable television executives because of government censorship backlash.
Tales from the Darkside was created by George A. Romero (1983-1988), director of the original 1968 Night of the Living Dead. Tales from the Darkside episodes were 30 minutes long and presented complex situations that ended with a twist ending. Rod Serling’s influence is definitely present. Paul Sparer narrated a spooky sounding voice-over. The genre mixes thriller, fantasy, and horror. Tales from the Darkside was syndicated by Tribune entertainment and many TV stations ran the show after midnight, including WGN.
HBO’s The Hitchhiker (Deadly Nightmares) ran mystery crime suspense and supernatural tales (1983-1991). Page Fletcher starred as The Hitchhiker and narrated 30 minute episodes reminiscent of Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone. It was the top ranked cable show of pay TV subscribers and won 8 ACE awards.
HBO’s successful Tales of the Crypt (1989-1996) was based on EC horror comic books that provided a gold mine of entertaining stories and made screenplay adaptions easier. Adapted from founder, Max Gaine's Entertaining Comics (popularly labeled EC Comic books), William Gaines and Al Fieldstein were creative partners that published Tales of the Crypt from 1950-1955. Psychologist Frederick Wertham wrote a book called, Seduction of the Innocent, an anti-violent attack against EC Comics.
- The TV show ran for 7 seasons
- Episodes were narrated by a comical animated puppet, the Crypt Keeper (John Kassir provided the voice)
- Producers, directors, and actors worked from adapted stories originally published in early comic books
- The HBO show followed a similar pattern as Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents; the narrated 30 minute program included a variety of high quality stories, actors, and outstanding production values
In 2005, Showtime released two season 60 minute episodes of a horror anthology called Masters of Horror. Episodes were directed by big time directors; John Carpenter, for one, director of Halloween and The Thing. Shows included scary monster make-up, graphic violence, and bizarre turns.
In 2006 Stephen King’s Nightmares & Dreamscapes featured 8 episodes from 3 of his short story anthology’s Nightmares & Dreamscapes ( 5 episodes), Night shift, and Everything’s Eventual (novella). The mini-series was quite successful and won two primetime Emmys.
Showtime’s serial killer drama Dexter ran from 2006-2013. Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) analyzed blood splatter as an employee of the Miami Metro Police Department and led a double life, murdering criminals that alluded the criminal justice system. Dexter often gruesomely cut up his victims; he had a collection of surgical supplies. Fans were shocked that Dexter's sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), a police investigator, discovered his dark side and became involved with his crimes. Dexter's season 4, December 2009 season finale was watched by 2.6 million viewers, an original program watched more than any other Showtime program. The Dexter first run series finale, December 22, 2013, was watched by 2.8 viewers, an all time high for Showtime.
Filming locations of popular TV shows
|Name of Show||Filming location No.||Filming locations|
1. 1331 Carroll Avenue, Central Los Angeles, L.A., CA (Dan Gordon's manor)
2. Paramount Studios - 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA (studios - seasons 7 and 8)
3. Ray-Art Studios - 6625 Variel Avenue, Canoga Park, Los Angeles, CA (studios - seasons 1 to 6)
4. 1329 Carroll Avenue, Central Los Angeles, L.A, CA (Halliwell manor)
5. Los Angeles, California
Masters of Horror
1. Tokyo, Japan
2. University of British Columbia, Robson Square Campus - 800 Robson Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
3. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
1. 1155 103rd St, Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, (Dexter/Debra's apartment)
2. Los Angeles, California
3. Belmont Shore, California (beach scenes)
4. Long Beach, California (background shots)
5. Alamitos Bay, Long Beach, California
6. Columbia/Sunset Gower studios - 1438 N. Gower Street, Hollywood, California
7. Marina del Rey, California
8. Miami, Florida
The Twilight Zone series
3 Charmed Witches
Girls popularize Gothic horror on primetime
Charmed (1998-2006) premiered on the WB Network and ran 8 seasons. Charmed blends Gothic horror romance, drama, fantasy and comedy, and showcased popular actresses: Alyssa Milano, Shannon Doherty, and Rose McGowan.
The show plays with ceremonial candles, dark atmosphere, demon monsters, evil warlocks, athame (ritual knife used by witches) murder weapons, and a unique Quija board made from the husk of a tree. Witchcraft complicates their romantic interests.The show includes quality monster make-up and special effects.
Phoebe, a returning sister discovers The Book of Shadows upstairs in a trunk of the attic. She learns her two sisters are chosen witches with magical powers. The three young girls learn to develop their powers under threat of dark forces and participate in the work world.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was created by Joss Whedon and premiered on regular broadcast TV- WB Network for 7 successful seasons. Sarah Michelle Gellar became a star, and held popular online forums and discussions.
Buffy and her mother move to Sunnydale High.The heroine was expelled from her first school; she devoted too much time slaying vampires. Buffy is a chosen vampire slayer and discovers her new school is built on top of Hellmouth. She fights many vampires hiding in a mausoleum and defends herself with martial art skills. Traditional vampire rules apply in the series: wooden stakes, crucifixes, Holy water, beheadings, vampires living in darkness, and servant vampires feeding off the blood of their master.
Buffy Summers is supported by good helpful friends: Willow, a computer whiz, learns witchcraft, Zander, a classmate, fights vampires as a member of "The Scooby Gang" but has no supernatural powers, Giles, librarian, occult expert, and father figure of Buffy, helps her fight forces of evil. Angel and Spike are vampires surviving throughout ancient history and become Buffy's allies and romantic interests.
- In addition to sharp fangs, Vampires have high arching eyebrows, monster faces, and look like space aliens
- The first season of the show was filmed before the first episode was viewed by the public and gave Joss Whedon an opportunity to film over certain sequences
- The town of Sunnydale supports 43 churches
- Only 8 episodes were filmed without vampires
- Cast member deaths added true horror to the series
- The character Angel became popular and WB Network spun off his own series. Angel entertained viewers for 6 seasons
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The popularity of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone became a blueprint for the construction of frightening 30 minute variety stories. Episodes varied from science fiction, supernatural, psychological sickness, Gothic horror, and corrupt actions of human beings. The half hour horror shows endured remarkably well during televisions black and white era, color television, and the development of cable television.
The color television age encouraged more 60 minutes primetime shows. Hitchcock and Serling had already attempted them in black and white. Serling preferred 30 minute The Twilight Zone episodes. Kolchak: The Night Stalker only lasted a couple of seasons but inspired The X-Files that ran 9 seasons. Cable television enjoyed great successes with half hour Tales of the Crypt episodes and hour long Dexter episodes. But regular television never died. The Warner Brother's Network developed horror programs for girls such as Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and influenced current contemporary horror programs. Witches and Vampires still live on.
Television horror varies from very dark to medium tones and particular shows project a comedic feel. Karloff, Hitchcock, and Serling, often narrated human fatalities but their comments were often amusing. The Crypt Keeper narrator was a hilarious puppet. Horror needed comic relief sometimes. Buffy and the young charmed witches provide many comical moments but they also cope with loss of loved ones, often friends getting whacked by supernatural evil and that's when story lines follow a serious tone.
Gilbert Arevalo (author) from Hacienda Heights, California on March 01, 2019:
Thanks Bill, the history horror hub is much better than my contemporary article. There are so many new shows I need to review. I've seen some of them and need to edit them in. The television of horror history was much easier to research and get a grip of. I'm glad I triggered your memory bank.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 01, 2019:
I used to race home from classes to see "Dark Shadows." Loved that series....and The Nightstalker was a favorite of mine. This was a great trip through television history. Thanks for the memories.
Gilbert Arevalo (author) from Hacienda Heights, California on June 30, 2014:
I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, Eddie. I am amazed how "Walking Dead" holds my interest episode after episode. Part of the fun is great tension. I'm never sure which character is going to survive or get killed. There's some new interesting shows like "Hemlock Grove" I need to take a look at.
Eddie Ganim from South Charleston, West Virginia on June 30, 2014:
Awesome post! Somebody asked me if I felt horror is going in the right direction as of today? Probably a year or two ago I would have said no BUT with TV Horror with the likes of the "Walking Dead', American Horror Story, Gothic, and although it only had 1 season, "Hemlock Grove" TV Horror has boosted the genre and allowed us to pickup a new circle or group of followers to help maintain the horror genre as one of the most prolific genre's still today.
TV Horror is important to our genre.
Gilbert Arevalo (author) from Hacienda Heights, California on February 19, 2014:
Thanks for enjoying my hub, Jmartin. I think American Horror Story did a fascinating job in its first season of capturing the feel of horror movie making on the big screen. I loved the season they just wrapped up with the witches in New Orleans. I'm going to see season 2 on Netflix. I missed that one. I included a review of American Horror Story in my contemporary article on horror TV. Season 3 ratings did so well, they renewed the show for another season. Let us see how they surprise us with a totally new storyline. We can look forward to seeing Jessica Lange again.
jmartin1344 from Royal Oak, Michigan on February 19, 2014:
This is a wonderful article full of detailed history on one of my favorite topics! - I have always been a huge fan of The Twilight Zone, Z-Files, Dexter etc - shows like you mentioned of all eras and generations. It's great to see the style of the genre develop and become more popular.
Where do you see American Horror Story fitting into this history? Do you think it's another good example or were you not sold on it?
Gilbert Arevalo (author) from Hacienda Heights, California on February 08, 2014:
Thanks for looking at my hub, Colleen. I'm glad you like "The Twilight Zone." The project made me review episodes I haven't seen in ages.
Colleen Swan from County Durham on February 07, 2014:
Hi Gilbert. Another well researched article. Everything and links to more material. For me the twilight zone is best for being in black and white.