A Seven-Year Walk Through the Boneyard


Well sir, seven years ago today I wrote my very first post for the Horror Incorporated Project.

“This might take a while,” I warned in my inaugural entry, “and I can’t promise it won’t hurt”.

I was thinking of you, gentle reader, but I would have been better off thinking of myself. At the time, I’d estimated the project to be a 20-year undertaking, but I may have been too optimistic; I started with the show’s first broadcast in November 1969 and am only now finishing December 1972. Instead of chronicling a year of the program every two years in real time, it’s taking me closer to 2-and-a-half years.

Part of it is due to the simple fact that I haven’t been able to post as often as I’d like, but there are other reasons: I didn’t even know there had been a Friday night edition until I starting chronicling the show, and I hadn’t decided to included matinee programs until I was already underway. It kind of slows you down when you need to do three posts to cover a particular weekend, rather than one.

In any case, if I continue at the current pace, I can expect to wrap up in the summer of 2033 — 16 years from now.  I plan to celebrate my last post by popping open a bottle of Centrum Silver and waiting at the mailbox for my Social Security check to arrive.

One question I’ve been asked over the years (and a question I ask myself on occasion): why do this at all? Some people give me quizzical looks when I tell them about the project, others smile blankly, a few make soothing noises while backing slowly out of the room. To them, doing this is a fool’s errand, like writing the definitive history of shoelace aglets or opening a museum devoted to salt and pepper shakers. Many of the questions people ask boil down to, isn’t writing a blog devoted to some ephemeral non-hosted TV show from 40+ years ago kind of a waste of time?

Well, maybe it is. I could have done the whole thing in under a year if I’d simply researched the dates and titles, and dumped what I found on a web site.

But what’s fun about that?

It is kind of a kick to watch these movies more or less in real time, just like the original viewers of the show did. Some aspects of the writing are a grind (trying to think of something new to say after my fifth viewing of some moth-eaten PRC title can be a dismal experience) but it’s okay. Seeing films I’d never have otherwise encountered makes it worthwhile.

Thanks to the project I’ve encountered some real lost gems: Nightmare, The Death Kiss, The Devil Commands, The Phantom of Crestwood, Return of the Vampire, Isle of the Dead, The Door With Seven Locks, House of Horrors and Secret of the Blue Room.

The project has also greatly improved my knowledge of classic horror; I now have a pretty solid grounding in all the classic Universal horror franchises; I can talk at length the differences in style and tone between Son of Frankenstein and Ghost of Frankenstein, or between The Mummy’s Hand and The Mummy’s Curse or between The Invisible Man Returns and The Invisible Man’s Revenge. And I know probably more than I should about the filmographies of Lambert Hillyer, Ford Beebe and Reginald LeBorg.

All in all, the project’s been a hootenanny so far, and I hope you’ll continue with me as they journey into the unknown.


One comment

  1. What you do for Horror Incorporated is a service for fans who wish they had the time for. It also requires dedication, which even fewer would be capable of. If I had my way, I’d be doing this for Pittsburgh’s Chiller Theater!


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