I attribute my fondness for the horror genre to the prevalence of it on the tube back in the seventies and early eighties. Some of my fondest memories are sitting in front of the TV at night, fine tuning the UHF knob, grabbing a bowl of Frankenberry and enjoying a back to back horror movie marathon. Before Netflix, before VHS, it was up to the local 3-4 networks to provide your horror fix - and provide they did. I recall watching Blood Beach and Hell Night one night down in Miami, and just experiencing pure bliss.
Your obvious fist choice was the local horror host. Every city of reasonable size had one to call its own. I lived in Ohio for much of my childhood, and it seems like there were several. Later, of course, there was the syndicated horror host, Elvira (schwing!) and then there was the once glorious USA network in the eighties.
I wasn't the right age or geographically fortunate enough to enjoy horror host icons Zacherley or Vampira, but I enjoyed my local guys nonetheless.
Of course, they tended to play the cheapest titles out there. Thus, they often dished up some rather pitiful examples the genre had to offer. But, this was part of the charm and perhaps the origins of our generation's appreciation for cinematic cheese.
This was a time very different than our own - when the Boomers Ruled the Earth. Porn and horror were damn near respectable with the adult population... with the population that had all the disposable cash to lay down on a movie ticket. It was short-lived, but a truly unique moment in the sun for the genre of horror.
The downside was that these films were often censored and edited beyond recognition; but we kids weren't as desensitized back then. The impact wasn't necessarily lessened by the removal of a graphic decapitation.... and the loss of T&A was probably for the best.
I don't know how my eleven year old brain would have computed Brooke Adam's nude scene in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
The plethora of horror around Halloween was an embarrassment of riches. Perhaps this is still true today, so I'm not trying to strike a contrast, just point out that October was a great time for the young lads who enjoyed a good television spookfest..... or even just a Halloween special.
See previous posts on The C.H.i.P.s Halloween special as well as the infamous Paul Lynde special.
And on a final note, I'll mention this just because it was so ubiquitous in my younger years - the soap opera. My mother and grandmother watched them, and I have so many memories of horror themes on these soaps!
It wasn't just Dark Shadows that filled the afternoon airwaves with horror. For instance, I distinctly remember a werewolf plaguing the streets of one soap (I want to say it was either Edge of Night or Guiding Light).
I also remember a daytime soap featuring demonic possession as a story-line; although, I can't remember which soap that was.
And last but not least was Sunday afternoon. If luck would find you indoors due to rain or illness, you were guaranteed a good ol' fashioned Japanese monster movie. Those were the days!