Late-night horror hosts: our guides into the world of supernatural and sci-fi delight! There have been numerous hosts over the years, be it on T.V. or the days of radio programs; but only a handful truly stand out as contenders! These are the top five late-night horror hosts who we remember years and years after their respective runs.
5. Joe Bob Briggs (John Irving Bloom)
Show: MonsterVision (1996-2000; Joe Bob’s run)
Styled as a chauvanistic trailer-park resident redneck, this late-night horror host debuted his run of the show MonsterVision — formerly hosted by comedians Penn and Teller — on June 28th, 1996. What sets Joe Bob Briggs apart from other hosts who’ve come and gone… Much like Elvira, he knew how to make us laugh! Often, always in a thick southern drawl, he gave funny commentaries on both the movies and everyday news.
Also, a cool little feature Briggs included in his broadcasts was a count of how much horror stuff — killings, nasty moments, etc — took place in each flick! He also, perhaps to the chagrin of some, had beautiful women acting as both eye candy and fanmail deliverers on the show… Though these ladies often matched wits with Briggs like champs. But over all, Briggs knew his horror stuff and made late-night scary viewing fun!
4. Peter Vincent – The Great Vampire Killer (Roddy McDowall)
Show: Fright Night (1985)
Peter Vincent didn’t just host the horror films of vampire schlock; he lived it! While we didn’t see much of his hosting in the 1985 flick Fright Night (or its 1988 sequel Fright Night Part II), Peter was indeed a true horror showman. He knew the lore behind vampires; this saved him and his young cohort Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) as they confronted vampires and human familiars alike.
While at first scared for his life, I would never say Peter was a coward. When push came to shove, he mustered his courage and set out to save others from a grisly fate. As a late-night horror host (starring in the movies he broadcasted), the man lived campy vampire melodrama to the max and had a natural charm and charisma.
3. Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson)
Show: Mystery Science Theater: 3000 (1988-1993; Joel’s run)
The original host of Mystery Science Theater: 3000! Much as I love second host Mike Nelson, Joel was indeed the first who introduced audiences to the joys of riffing cheesy horror (but mostly sci-fi) B-grade movies. Well, that is, he took something many people already did at bad movies and made it into an entertainment artform.
Joel often seemed rather in a daze during his broadcasts; very loosened up. This aloofness used to bother me. But thinking about it, living with constant sci-fi weirdness with co-host robots Crow and Tom Servo, he lived the very laid-back message of MST3K… “If you’re wondering how he eats and breathes, and other science facts, then repeat to yourself: ‘It’s just a show! I should really just relax!'”
2. Elvira – Mistress of the Dark (Cassandra Peterson)
Show: Elvira’s Movie Macabre (1981-1986)
Elvira had it all: razor sharp wit that could snap a great line or retort, a gorgeous figure reminiscent of character Vampira, and a great run as a late-night horror hostess! Each movie she broadcasted, Elvira gave funny commentaries between commercial breaks; citing the flaws and cheesiness. Often, she played off of her voluptuous self to amuse her fans; but she was never anyone’s fool.
Over the years, Elvira has become synonymous with horror movie fun, Halloween, and not taking crap from anybody. She also has the honor of being the first horror host to be nationally syndicated. Now in her seventies, her portrayer — Cassandra Peterson — continues to break into this character ever since her 1981 debut and fans still adore her!
1. The Cryptkeeper (John Kassir)
Show: Tales From the Crypt (1989-1996)
The horror master himself! That decomposing host of hosts didn’t host movies; rather original horror-themed stories within episodes of a T.V. series. Nevertheless, what a host! He was unapologetic with his constant horror puns — boils and ghouls, scare-alel parking, Cryptmas, hacks-hilarating, etc. Whatever the tale of the night, The Cryptkeeper knew just what to say to get our blood curdling (and eyes rolling)!
Late-night horror hosts come and go, but what fun they are however long they stay! They help us feel the sublime enchantment of horror and sci-fi. Many people stayed up late or quietly snuck out of bed to watch these shows and be entertained. Many still try to recreate the world of late-night horror hosting; but the hosts of this list are the best there ever was!
Any top favorite late night horror hosts we left out? Comment below! Also, subscribe to Geek News Now and give its Facebook page a like!