October is the perfect season for horror marathons.
The two are almost synonymous. Not even Christmas, that twinkling 800-pound gorilla, can boast such round-the-clock programming. Of course, wintertime itself is a constant reminder of the year-end holidays, and there is truly no escaping all of the Christmas music, commercials, office parties, decorations, rampaging Krampi, etc.
Horror marathons are important because they set a mood, or what I like to call ‘Halloween Spirit’. Even if you can’t enjoy cascades of brilliant leaves and cozy hayrides, you can always open a portal to the moon-kissed realms on your television.
Here are 13 TV mini-series or single seasons for you to freshen up this year’s marathon.
Ultraviolet – BBC
This stylish techno-thriller is only six episodes long. It stars Idris Elba (!), with an appearance by Stephen Moyer as a vampire (!)
Hemlock Grove – Season 1
The first season of this show has werewolves, vampires, monsters, and mad-science. The cast is great (Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Dougray Scott, Lili Taylor) and so is their chemistry. And it’s DARK.
This sleeper hit from the late 80’s was the most elusive thrill of my childhood. Every rare once in a while I’d manage to catch an episode and watch transfixed as colossal werewolves battled for dominance.
This low-key BBC series is about a werewolf, a ghost and a vampire who share a flat. The show runs for several seasons and was adapted in America, but Season One is a strong mix of character and horror.
This Israeli production is a horror-comedy about a small time criminal who returns from a trip in Romania with new problems, powers and a terrible thirst. It’s suffers from a lower budget but makes up for it with mad-cap performances.
The Frankenstein Chronicles
Also from BBC, this mystery set in the grimdark Victorian era follows Sean Bean(!) as he tracks down the one responsible for a rash of mutilated bodies. Season One is phenomenal – fortunately it is a complete story, so you can avoid Season Two.
This vampire thriller only lasted one season on Fox, but the relationship between leads Mark-Paul Gosselaar and child actress Saniyya Sidney was fantastic. The secret power struggle with the psychic vampire master Jamie McShane is also great – the entire cast kills it in this one. Don’t worry about the show being cancelled – it wraps up at the end.
This NBC adaptation starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers is bonkers in a wonderful way. It functions almost like a prequel to the story we know, re-mixing and re-contextualizing the relationships and motivations between all the classic characters.
The last vampire show on this list is a 90’s gem about a vampire cop. One of the vampires from Forever Knight even made a blink-and-you’ll-miss it cameo on Buffy.
The first season of this show was more brutal, clever and fun than I expected it to be. If you like the ‘Scream’ franchise, you’ll like season one of Slasher.
I’d also recommend MTV’s first season of Scream! A worthy addition to the franchise.
The animated adaptation of Death Note floored me, even though I’d already read the manga. This twisty supernatural saga about dueling geniuses and death gods has a global body count.
MTV made a COPS style mockumentary show about an LAPD task force that handled the werewolves, vampires and zombies in the San Fernando Valley. Bizarre, gory, silly, fun.
A twisted faerie finds a lost child, a teenage werewolf sneaks out during a full moon, and a legion of monsters begins the downfall of man. Explore Halloween from Appalachia to the Arctic Circle and journey from the Old West to Mars.
This spooktacular goody bag harvests all the joys and terrors of the best night of the year. If you love air crisp as cider and scented with burning leaves, if you greet the darkness with a jack o’lantern grin, and if you yearn for the veil between worlds to grow thin, then you bleed orange & black.
My annual Halloween playlists have featured a lot of Hip Hop, so this year I dug six feet deeper to find 13 new tracks. The Horrorcore genre is filled with amazing songs from artists like Insane Poetry and Immortal Technique, but those are too scary to dance to. This mix will set the Halloween mood and keep people moving.
Amityville (The House on the Hill) by Lovebug Starski
This old school Monster Mash is the perfect way to start a party
The Crypt Jam by John Kassir
I’m not sure it gets more Halloween, or 90’s, than this one
Maniac Cop Rap by Barnes and Brian “B.Dub” Woods
Movie credit raps are THE BEST
Addams Groove by MC Hammer
Take foolish pride, put it aside, and groove to MC Hammer
Monster Squad Rap by Michael Sembello
5 minutes of Halloween flavor
Murder Ink by Dr. Dre
If you are going to rap about a murder spree, do it to John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’
Chuckie by Geto Boyz
Don’t like it? Blame it on Chucky
Nine Dead Bodies by Esham
I’m going with a live version because it suits this wild, raucous song
Halloween on Military Street by Insane Clown Posse
This forgotten freshness takes you on a Trick or Treating journey
Alive (Nightmare) by Kid Cudi
I believe there is sufficient evidence to officially declare this a werewolf song
Sasquatch by Ice Cube
Time to get the party ramped back up with some Squatchin’
Bollywood Undead by Kung Fu Vampire
If you love bhangra, kung fu and vampires this is the track for you
1-800-Suicide by Gravediggaz
Any Gravediggaz song would work, but this one ends with Vincent Price’s laughter
It has been a long time since I’ve demanded my MTV, but every now and again I’ll catch a glimpse of a music video with some great Sci-Fi and Horror elements.
Allow me to play VJ for a moment and introduce a few videos.
1. 1983 by Neon Trees
I am always on the lookout for vampires. Something about this video, with its Zoltar machine wish opening and Lost Boys style carousel setting made my Vamp-sense tingle. I did not expect a brief cameo (at 3:18) from a fully grown Edgar Frog!
If you do not know who Edgar Frog is, please leave.
2. Thought Contagion by Muse
This suite of videos off the band’s album Simulation Theory is a shot gun blast of awesome sauce straight from the 1980s. There are vampires, werewolves, robots, Tron style VR chases, time traveling phone booths, and Terry Crews taking out Critters with a proton pack. It’s madness.
3. Odd Look by Kavinsky
This one is a bit older but I think some people missed it. Kavinsky is the magic, Ferrari driving zombie altar ego of a french electropop musician. The concept album OUTRUN is like the movie The Wraith. Did you see that one? That’s how cool the album is.
4. Bonfire by Childish Gambino
Before Donald Glover made Atlanta or This is America he was making interesting, experimental videos like these next two. Bonfire is a self-contained horror story set at a summer camp with a great twist.
5. Telegraph Ave by Childish Gambino
This one is full of chill vibes and gorgeous visuals leading to a shocking turn (at 3:40).
6. Deep Down Low by Valentino Khan
Want to see something really tentacular? Check out the video for this house music track that looks like something Junji Ito might experience tripping on ketamine in Innsmouth.
It is with a heavy heart, hat in hand and tear stained cheeks that I grovel before you. I have spoken irresponsibly, making wild statements such as “KITT from Knight Rider has no offensive capabilities, Airwolf would destroy it every time.”
I have searched my heart, the television archives and numerous fan made wikis to set the record straight.
Of course KITT has offensive capabilities. Not only does it have a flamethrower and tear gas launcher, it has a frikkin’ laser!
I don’t know why I forgot this, as everything in the 80’s had mandatory lasers. Had G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K. and Rick Springfield’s music video for ‘Bop ‘Til You Drop’ taught me nothing?
To be sure, the laser was rarely used. It struggled with its power supply, calibration and range. While it may have failed to destroy the evil KARR, it did bullseye a weakspot the size of a quarter on Goliath.
How could a horizontal mounted short distance, 3 shot capacity laser possibly take down a super helicopter like Airwolf? Let’s start slicing apples and oranges (not with a laser, though. We only have 3 shots).
Let’s start with Defense:
KITT has the vaunted Tri-Helical 1000 MBS, the ‘Molecular Bonded System’ that makes it indestructible. It has been claimed to be resistant to everything except for heavy artillery and missiles. This is largely true – it has even shrugged off rounds from a gatling gun and high speed head on collisions (RIP KARR).
With its upgraded super pursuit mode, KITT can travel at 420 mph.
In addition to physical defenses like magnesium flares, smoke screens and oil jets, KITT has a dizzying array of electronic warfare capabilities including long distance sensors, and an almost magical electronic jamming systems that could control other machines. In Episode 26, “Merchants of Death” the Microwave Jammer’s power has been increased 3 times than its normal strength, strong enough to bring down a helicopter, but only when KITT managed to jump over it.)
Airwolf is bullet proof and armored, though not to the extent that KITT is. It does have enough of its own electronic counter measures that we may assume that it would not be the deciding factor in a confrontation.
Airwolf has 30mm cannons, .50 cal chain guns, and dozens upon dozens of missiles, all sufficient to exceed KITTS threshold of invulnerability. With a cruising speed of 350 mph and the option to kick it up to Mach 2 (over 1,400 mph) there is no way KITT could outrun it. With a flight ceiling of 89,000 ft and up, KITT’s short range laser won’t be very useful.
If ‘The Firm’ orders Airwolf to destroy KITT from on high with extreme prejudice, it would be over in minutes. Even with KITT’s anti-heat seeking flares, smoke screens and faster than human reflexes, the battle would be determined by overwhelming air superiority.
But let us imagine that the Foundation for Law and Government gets wind of The Firm’s hostile intentions. What advantage could a car possibly have over a supersonic high altitude weapons platform?
KITT possesses advanced, general artificial intelligence. In retrospect, the fact that this was used to drive a Pontiac instead of irrevocably transforming the fate of mankind is insane, but perhaps there is a long game here that has yet to be revealed. I digress.
The important thing is that Airwolf’s crew members are confined to one vehicle, while KITT and Michael can operate independently.
Why would Airwolf ever give up its decisive advantage and get close to the ground? That’s just how its pilot, Stringfellow Hawke, rolls. He’s not the type to use chainguns on a man fleeing on foot. His preference is always low and slow, map of the earth stunt flying.
If KITT were to play dead, perhaps after a spectacle of smoke screens and evasive driving, Michael could get out and run from Airwolf.
If Airwolf took the bait and came down low, KITT could turbo boost upto 40 feet in the air and either use its laser or simply ram its indestructible body into the helicopter.
If you really want to think outside the box, KITT could use his Surveillance Mode to hack into The Firm’s systems and then use his Voice Synthesizer and Voice Stress Analyzer to call Archangel to coerce, threaten and blackmail him into calling off the attack.
So the next time you are at one of your glitzy cocktail parties and a group of people are debating 80’s action properties and dismissing Knight Rider, remember the frickin’ lasers.
Will I ever get back the time I spent researching this? Will you ever get back the time you spent reading it?
And for that, I am sorry.
If you do like to go deep on pop culture action, perhaps you’d like my dark superhero novel CRITERION.
CRITERION is available now in print and digital at