Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Svengoolie & 5 Other Iconic TV Horror Hosts

Svengoolie & 5 Other Iconic TV Horror Hosts

Back in the Golden Age of Television, there was a time when horror movies were shown along with different hosts. This practice continued into the 1960s and 1970s before beginning to fade away a little bit. Still, there are a few who remain to this day.

Svengoolie is still going strong, thanks to a Saturday night show on MeTV. Ah, the days when “Fear Theater” and “Terror Theater” were regular appearances on local television stations. But these different hosts had something very unique about themselves. They usually would appear before the movie starts, welcoming viewers in some scary, eerie way. Maybe they’d introduce their sidekicks, whether it’s a bat or another monster-type of character. Then they’d introduce the movie and away we go.

But the TV host would have moments during the movie when he or she would appear. It might be a fact about the movie or some horror humor to spread around. Anyway, let’s take a look at Svengoolie and five other horror hosts who have been on the TV for some period of time.


This character first hit the TV and radio airwaves thanks to Jerry G. Bishop. But it now rests in the well-meaning hands of Rich Koz ever since 1979. Svengoolie, a great horror host, can be found getting in and out of his coffin. But he’s also busy fighting off a flurry of rubber chickens that seek him out. Svengoolie is good about offering inside details about the movies. And it’s all done with some tongue-in-cheek humor. He’s one cat who dresses up for the part.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Cassandra Peterson has been a part of people’s scary lives since the 1980s. She hosted Elvira’s Movie Macabre between 1981 and 1986. Since then, Elvira has been seen in numerous horror-themed specials over the years. Peterson’s well-noted curves and physical look make Elvira one sexy mistress of the dark. Peterson, another solid horror host, wears a tight black dress, and black hair wig, all in the name of campy humor and wild horror.

Joe Bob Briggs

Wearing a bolo tie, our man Joe Bob Briggs keeps horror movie fans locked into his weekly show. Briggs, who is played by John Bloom, pours on the humor in his own inimitable style. When he first started on the air, it was with MonsterVision on TNT. Now, he’s over on Shudder with The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs. He offers up funny takes on the movie being shown. And, don’t forget to keep track of his own “Drive-In Totals.”

Rod Serling

OK, now you’ve seen Rod Serling when introducing us to episodes of The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. He does not wear gaudy makeup or some funny costume. Yet Serling, a horror host of a different kind, leads us all into a macabre, wild world of suspense and intrigue. The characters in Serling’s stories might look ghastly. There also are times when they look very human. Serling, in his trademark suit and ever-lit cigarette, provides an introduction to the horror world in his own way.

Sammy Terry

While not known nationally, Terry scared the pants off of viewers in the Indianapolis area. He would rule the airwaves with Nightmare Theater. Bob Carter put on the red robe and slapped on the white makeup. It was for a scary ride into the land of the weird. His horror host segments gave viewers delight and also provided them with a welcome break from the scary stuff.

Grandpa Munster

Hold on a minute because this was truly one wild show. In the mid-1980s, Grandpa Munster hosted TBS Super Scary Saturday. In the beginning, we’d find ourselves down in the dungeon while Grandpa mixes up his potions. Movies would run and be interspersed with moments of humor. Not every network could get Grandpa Munster on as a host. But it worked like a charm, thanks to Grandpa, a.k.a. Al Lewis.