While wandering the crowded halls of YouTube recently, I came across this enjoyable Halloween special that aired sometime in the early 1980s (maybe ‘81 or ‘82). The show in question, People Are Talking, was hosted by Richard Bey, and this particular episode features a genuinely interesting interview with film journalist and historian Steve Vertlieb.
One thing that I enjoy about this special, specifically the interview with Vertlieb, is the fact that horror films aren’t being chastised, something of which was very common for this type of show during the time period. Instead, this interview and the special as a whole is more of a celebration of what makes horror enjoyable for people of all ages. There is some discussion about how horror evolves to reflect modern society as well as how horror films can be a positive escape for some people.
Now, that’s not to say there isn’t an obvious undercurrent of fear and trepidation about the genre in question, which is most obvious when the conversation turns to snuff films, a topic that is delved into when a caller asks if Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse was indeed one of these snuff films. The thought that this caller actually believed that people were being murdered in The Funhouse because the deaths looked so real is absolutely bananas, though it is also very reflective of the times. On a side note, the look on Richard Bey’s face as Vertlieb talks about snuff films is priceless.
The special also features some great moments in which audience members share what scenes from horror films have frightened them the most. It’s hard not to smile as middle-age moms talk about House of Wax and Creepshow. Also strewn throughout the special are clips from films such as Tales of Terror and Carpenter’s Halloween as well as random check-ins on an audience member having some “horror makeup” applied to her face.
While the video runs over 12 min long, unfortunately it is not complete, as the special is cut off at the first commercial break. Regardless, there’s more than enough here to enjoy for horror fans and those of us who love Halloween, so I highly encourage you to give it a watch.