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 V.22 No.44 | October 31 - November 6, 2013 

Idiot Box

The Small Scream

Halloween around the dial

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“The Returned” on Sundance

It’s Halloween night and you’ve got to find something to do when you’re not getting up from the couch and dropping fun-sized Butterfingers into the plastic buckets of greedy little kids (many of whom are scary teenagers without costumes). TV offers a simple solution: Watch some Halloween-related reruns and other nominal holiday content.

The broadcast networks have a few treats to offer up viewers. ABC, for example, sticks with the classics, airing 1966’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (KOAT-7 7pm). You can’t go wrong, but pairing it up with 1972’s “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown” seems kind of odd—unless the idea of an obvious religious fundamentalist like Linus getting elected class president scares you. NBC gives us a best-of comedy compilation, “Saturday Night Live: SNL Halloween” (KOB-4 7pm)—which would be just fine if they hadn’t bumped the “Parks and Recreation” Halloween episode to do it. Finally PBS gets in the spirit while still remaining educational by rerunning “A Cemetery Special” (KNME-5 7pm). This docu-travel special from 2005 looks at the history and art of graveyards across the US, from Key West to central Alaska.

Moviewise, there’s something for everyone. As always AMC breaks out the Halloween films: Halloween (AMC 10am), Halloween II (AMC 12pm), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (AMC 2pm), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (AMC 4pm), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (AMC 6pm) and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (AMC 8pm). If you prefer ghosts to slashers, FX has a double feature for you: Paranormal Activity (FX 7pm) and Paranormal Activity 2 (FX 8:30pm). But if you like your scares old-school, TCM has been paying tribute to frightmaster Vincent Price all month. The tribute culminates on Halloween with a marathon featuring The Pit and the Pendulum (TCM 6pm), The Haunted Palace (TCM 7:30pm), The Masque of the Red Death (TCM 9:15pm), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (TCM 11pm), Twice-Told Tales (TCM 12:45am) and The Tomb of Ligeia (TCM 3pm).

Reality TV, not wanting to feel left out, dresses up in a cheap costume and calls it good. The easily spooked “Ghost Adventures” team heads to Eastern Europe looking for “the truth behind the legend of Vlad the Impaler” in “Ghost Adventures: Halloween Special—Transylvania” (Travel 7pm). Meanwhile a new episode of “Pawn Stars” (History 8:30pm) tries to horn in on the holiday action. Don’t you love it when the producers inject some fake storyline into a simple reality show? Tonight’s episode, titled “Chum of all Fears,” finds Corey and Chumlee trying to pull off the perfect Halloween costume. Keep in mind, this was probably filmed six months ago.

Sundance does us all a favor, however, importing the stylishly creepy French TV series “The Returned” (Sundance 10pm). The eight-episode shocker is based on the 2004 film Les Revenants, in which various dead people from a small mountain town suddenly reappeared, seemingly alive and normal. It’s less of a “Walking Dead” scenario and more of a creepy, stylish “what if” drama. Definitely worth watching.

Last but not least, anti-comedy comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim return with a “Twilight Zone”-inspired special in which they must live in a haunted house in order to collect an inheritance. Also Zach Galifianakis is there. “Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories: Haunted House” (Cartoon Network 1am) should close out your Halloween night on a weird note.


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