TV's lost Halloween classics: 6 specials from beyond the grave

TV's lost Halloween classics: 6 specials from beyond the grave

A scene from 1967’s Mad Monster Party? (Credit: Lionsgate)

content=”You’ve checked in with The Simpsons‘ latest “Treehouse of Horror.” You’ve paid your annual respects to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Now what?” data-reactid=”22″>You’ve checked in with The Simpsons‘ latest “Treehouse of Horror.” You’ve paid your annual respects to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Now what?

content=”Here’s your viewing guide to a half-dozen high-quality, off-the-trick-or-treat-path Halloween TV specials of yesteryear. (Please take note of the deliberate use of the phrase “high quality.” The Paul Lynde Halloween Special will not be discussed here except in passing, specifically to note that you can find the whole strange thing on YouTube</a>; look for rock band KISS at about the 26-minute mark. You’re welcome.)” data-reactid=”23″>Here’s your viewing guide to a half-dozen high-quality, off-the-trick-or-treat-path Halloween TV specials of yesteryear. (Please take note of the deliberate use of the phrase “high quality.” The Paul Lynde Halloween Special will not be discussed here except in passing, specifically to note that you can find the whole strange thing on YouTube; look for rock band KISS at about the 26-minute mark. You’re welcome.)

Though cult favorites all, these shows have fallen out of the regular TV rotation — but they deserved to be rediscovered. Settle in.

content=”1. Mad Monster Party?
In another time, this 1967 Rankin-Bass production — available on DVD and for rent on streaming services like Amazon, Vudu, and Google Play — was anything but an obscure-ish gem; it was rerun on TV every October as sure as Rankin-Bass’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was rerun every December. But it didn’t have the rep of Rudolph; it was actually a failed theatrical release that found its way to syndication. But no matter, it’s a stop-motion joy starring the voice of the Boris Karloff and an all-star collection of classic-monster characters, from Dracula to the Werewolf. To be honest, it’s a little slow, but Phyllis Diller’s cackle really never gets old.” data-reactid=”25″>1. Mad Monster Party?
In another time, this 1967 Rankin-Bass production — available on DVD and for rent on streaming services like Amazon, Vudu, and Google Play — was anything but an obscure-ish gem; it was rerun on TV every October as sure as Rankin-Bass’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was rerun every December. But it didn’t have the rep of Rudolph; it was actually a failed theatrical release that found its way to syndication. But no matter, it’s a stop-motion joy starring the voice of the Boris Karloff and an all-star collection of classic-monster characters, from Dracula to the Werewolf. To be honest, it’s a little slow, but Phyllis Diller’s cackle really never gets old.

The New York Times</a> </em>covered the cult of this once-upon-a-time classroom staple from 1969. “The film, now easy to track down on the internet, is being discovered by a generation of adults in their 30s and 40s with a fervor more typically associated with locating a long-lost relative than a kiddie movie,” the newspaper reported in 2011, and accurately so. As its title suggests, Winter of the Witch is technically not a Halloween special, but: one, it’s got a witch, and two, it’s got a blueberry-pancake scene that’s as eerie as it is psychedelic.” data-reactid=”28″>2. Winter of the Witch
No less than the The New York Timescovered the cult of this once-upon-a-time classroom staple from 1969. “The film, now easy to track down on the internet, is being discovered by a generation of adults in their 30s and 40s with a fervor more typically associated with locating a long-lost relative than a kiddie movie,” the newspaper reported in 2011, and accurately so. As its title suggests, Winter of the Witch is technically not a Halloween special, but: one, it’s got a witch, and two, it’s got a blueberry-pancake scene that’s as eerie as it is psychedelic.