Public Domain Horror

If you enjoy classic horror leavened with contemporary comedy, you might want to check out Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest, streaming every Wednesday at 9 pm ET on Twitch.

Each show consists of a livestreamed public domain horror flick – on July 8, Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls (1962)  — interspersed with jokes and sketches involving tuxedo-wearing host and stand-up comedian Hoff Matthews, co-producer Andrei Alupului, and guests.

Hoff's Public Domain Horrorfest
(Above source: Facebook)

Carnival of Souls, produced for $33,000 (about $285,000 in today’s money), stars Candace Hilligoss as Mary Henry, whose car plunges into a river during a drag race. Her two female passengers die, but she somehow survives. Next, she goes on a solo trip to Utah, where she gets a job as a church organist. After some bizarre incidences, Mary encounters a ghoulish figure (director Herk Harvey), and then, after more strange occurrences, she is finally drawn to an abandoned carnival. What could it all possibly mean?

The cast also includes Frances Feist, Sidney Berge, Art Ellison, Stan Levitt, Tom McGinnis, Forbes Caldwell, Dan Palmquist, Bill De Jarnette, Steve Boozer and Pamela Ballard.

You can find two previous episodes Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest at twitch.tv/hoffmatthews. They feature The Devil Bat (1940), with Bela Lugosi, and The Terror (1963), starring Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson, and co-helmed by Roger Corman and an uncredited Francis Ford Coppola (talk about a directorial tandem!).

For more horror contextualized with schtick, over-the-air channel MeTV broadcasts Svengoolie Saturdays at 8 pm ET. The coffin-residing host Rich Koz, who wears top-hat and creepy make-up, has introduced old horror films on MeTV since 2011, but the show goes back much further than that. Jerry Bishop created and hosted Svengoolie on Chicago’s WFLD in 1970. Koz then revived the format twice – in 1979 as Son of Svengoolie and in 1995 as Svengoolie – on Chicago’s WCIU. Since 1995, Koz has produced almost 400 episodes.

Koz’s comedic bits are more an homage to Soupy Sales than Lon Chaney, including the groan-inducing puns, flying rubber chickens and the host’s doorway conversations with characters who remain out-of-frame.

This Saturday’s show, a repeat from 2015, features the Hammer Studios classic The Brides of Dracula (1960), starring Peter Cushing.

For more, visit svengoolie.com.

You can watch MeTV free over the air via an antenna connected to your TV set. To find your local channel number, visit MeTV’s Where to Watch.

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About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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