For some of us, every day is Halloween, but for many more, the entire month of October is a time to celebrate our favorite holiday. That’s why we’re going to continue to flood iHorror.com with all kinds of Halloween fun throughout the month.
I wanted to use the opportunity to celebrate one of my own favorite Halloween memories, a week-long special from Sci-Fi Channel in 1995 called Zombie-A-Go-Go.
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Yes, once upon a time SyFy was called Sci-Fi Channel (that changed in ’09). Zombie-A-Go-Go (a name which would also become that of Rob Zombie’s record label), came out during the height of White Zombie’s commercial success. The world had been exposed to the great Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head album, and the song More Human Than Human was in steady rotation on alt rock radio stations, MTV (back when MTV music videos were still a thing), and in metal kids’ CD players everywhere. Rob Zombie the filmmaker had yet to unleash his debut film on the world. That would come something like eight years later.
Playing during the week of Halloween, Zombie-A-Go-Go featured Rob Zombie hosting one movie each week night. It holds a special place in my heart because not only was I a huge White Zombie fan at the time, but it also introduced me to what would become a few of my favorite movies.
The line-up included: White Zombie (the movie), Carnival of Souls, Night of the Living Dead, The Evil Dead, and Night of the Creeps. At the time (I was in 7th grade), I had only seen Night of the Living Dead, which was already a favorite. I missed the first night, which was White Zombie, but I watched every other night, and it was the first time I had seen the other three films, all of which I love to this day.
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Stuck throughout the films, wrapped around the commercial breaks, were segments of Rob Zombie talking about the movies as well as behind-the-scenes footage of the shooting of White Zombie’s yet-to-be-released video for Electric Head Pt. 2 (The Ecstasy).
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I’d love to embed more videos from the show, but I really can’t find any other than what’s here, which doesn’t include any of the show itself. In fact, I can’t really find a whole lot on the Internet even referencing its existence beyond this bit from an old White Zombie/Rob Zombie fan site, which says:
Rob zombie did a show on the sci-fi channel but it was kinda lame. they recorded about 10 things that rob muttered, and then just replayed them after each commercial. you could tell he was just doing it for pocket change.
It was pretty cool listening to Rob rip on “Night of the Creeps”. He’s like “Man, this is just the worst piece of garbage you could ever watch. I dunno why ANY of you are still watching this!!” Then later on, he’s like “I’m sorry there’s been a mistake. The management has just informed me this is actually a really GOOD movie, I really love it…” and he’s making these awful faces and stuff. Pretty funny shit.
Though I love Night of the Creeps with every fiber of my being, that part does sound familiar, and I still loved everything about the show. As a matter of fact, a recording of that airing of the movie, with Zombie’s segments, was the only copy of the movie I had for years after that. Luckily that changed as I got older.
I know I had a lot more fun with Zombie-A-Go-Go as a whole than that person appears to have had. There was nothing lame about it to me.
Again, this was the first time I saw The Evil Dead after all. Sit and think about the first time you saw that movie. It probably made an impression on you, no? I was familiar with the movie’s existence (and its sequels) at video stores by that point, but had yet to rent it. Obviously once I saw it it became an instant favorite.
And Carnival of Souls. I had never even heard of that at that point. It was so weird and creepy, and I fell in love with it instantly. Now that I’m in my thirties, and have consumed hundreds if not thousands of horror movies since then, Carnival of Souls is still among the creepiest I have encountered. It’s just a surreal and nightmarish, yet beautiful piece of work. I believe it was the second DVD I bought when I made the jump to that format several years after Zombie-A-Go-Go.
It kind of saddens me to see the show all but forgotten nearly 20 years later. To me, it was a big event. I remember going to school the next day after watching the movies, and discussing them with my friends. I remember waiting all day to watch the next night’s film. I even remember getting excited at the prospect of seeing the Electric Head Pt. 2 video (which didn’t get nearly the MTV play that More Human Than Human did, I might add). A new White Zombie video?!? Fuck yeah!
Zombie-A-Go-Go to me is not only about fond memories of one year’s Halloween or even the introduction to some of these fine movies, though these are big parts of it. It’s about nostalgia for a time gone, when something like this meant something to a fan. I know I sound like an old man, but these days, we have pretty much everything we want at our fingertips whenever we want it. At the click of a mouse or the tap of a touchscreen, I can bring up the White Zombie video on YouTube. Over and over again if I choose. I have easy access to all of the movies whenever I want to watch them. In 1995 that was very different, and though we may live in a more gratifying age in these terms, there is something missing – that anticipation and joy that something you love is finally on TV thanks to that glorious time of year – Halloween.